MAMARONECK HISTORICAL SOCIETY and
FRIENDS OF THE DELANCEY-COOPER HOUSE
Dear Friends of Mamaroneck’s History and of James Fenimore Cooper,
The Mamaroneck Historical Society in the midst of a fundraising effort to save the 1792 DeLancey-Cooper House, at 408 - 410 W. Boston Post Rd. at Fenimore Rd., one of the oldest buildings in Mamaroneck. The house is not only locally but nationally important: It is where James Fenimore Cooper, the first well-known truly American author,(“Last of the Mohicans” from “The Leatherstocking Tales” and many other novels) married Susan DeLancey in 1811. They lived there during two periods, during which he did some of his writing, including his first novel, “The Spy” which includes references to places in Mamaroneck. The house is now for sale, and if a major offer comes along from a developer, the house would more than likely be demolished.
We’ve held several fundraising events, and plan to hold more:
First -- We had a booth at the League of Women Voters’ Community Tag Sale on Sunday, April 21st in Memorial Park and the station parking lot in Larchmont.
Second – We officially launched our long-term fundraising campaign with a Breakfast and historical presentation at the DeLancey House, (in La Piccolo Casa restaurant), on Saturday, May 18th, at 10 a.m. It was very successful, with a full house including State Sen. George Latimer, Rep. Steve Otis, former Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer, former Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe and several village and town trustees, among others. Village Historian Gloria Pritts spoke on the history of DeLanceys and James Fenimore Cooper. The video is now available on the local LMC-TV – (contact Matt Sullivan at 381-2002 to request a showing, or access it online.)
Third – Another Historical Society Tag Sale for the DeLancey House held on June 15th and 16th was held at 1226 Palmer Avenue, Larchmont.
Fourth - Our major effort was a DeLancey-Cooper Gala held Thursday evening, October 3rd, at the Larchmont Shore Club. It included dinner, a silent auction, entertainment and a presentation on the history of the DeLancey-Cooper house, the DeLancey family and James Fenimore Cooper.
A representative from the State Historic Preservation Office toured the house recently. Since it was moved from above on Heathcote Hill over one hundred years ago, it thus can’t be listed on the National Registry. However, he said the basic original structure is still sound, and the house could be restored as a significant historic home.
We are hoping to purchase the house and land from the owners. This will require major fundraising for this historic Mamaroneck home. We are hoping to raise the well over $2 million which is the asking price. We are looking to major donors who understand the importance of protecting such a historic home for generations to come.
Our ultimate goal, once restored, would be that it become a museum - a learning center of local history for children, visitors, and residents - and the headquarters of our Mamaroneck Historical Society. (Our files, pictures, artifacts, etc. are all currently stored at the Mamaroneck Library, in a funeral home and in two other places.) One of the owners has been very cooperative (unlike the situation with the 1790 Gedney Farm House which was owned by the Rye Neck School District nearby, and in spite of our intense efforts, the school board demolished in 2012).
Gratefully, the owners of the DeLancey-Cooper House would prefer to see it saved, and not destroyed.
If you wish to give to this important effort, there are three ways to contribute: by check, credit card or Paypal.
Checks--may be made payable to the:
Mamaroneck Historical Society - DeLancey Fund
and sent to: Friends of DeLancey-Cooper House
1226 Palmer Avenue
Larchmont, NY 10538
To contribute by credit card or Paypal, please use our website and click on the "Donate" button to the left side of this page.
To be put on our mailing list for updates, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information please call: (914) 834 – 2983
Thanks so much for your interest. Let’s work together to support Mamaroneck’s (and James Fenimore Cooper’s) history!
Mrs. Carol B. Akin
Friends of the DeLancey-Cooper House:
Carol Akin, Chairperson
Gloria Pritts, Mamaroneck Village Historian
Assemblyman Steve Otis
Suzi Oppenheimer, Hon. Chairperson
Senator George Latimer
Mayor Anne McAndrews
Mayor Norman Rosenblum
Supervisor Nancy Seligson
Andres Bermudez-Hallstrom, Mamaroneck Village Trustee
Ilissa Miller, Mamaroneck Village Trustee
Peter Fanelli, Mamaroneck Town Councilman
Mamaroneck Historical Society:
Donald March, President
Gene Warrington, Vice President
Bill Fraser, Vice President
Donald Sutherland, Treasurer
The 1792 DELANCEY HOUSE and JAMES FENIMORE COOPER
The DeLancey House was built by John Peter DeLancey on the top of Heathcote Hill, the site of a Revolutionary War battle only a few years before. DeLancey, a wealthy landowner, raised his family there. He was a slave-holder, as were most of the well-to-do families in Mamaroneck. He had a family of slaves, including a Joseph and his wife, Harris. There were fruit trees on the property, which overlooked Mamaroneck’s lovely harbor. Locally, the house was considered “the DeLancey Mansion”, in the then-largely farming community of Mamaroneck, New York, some twenty-five miles northeast of New York City, along the shores of Long Island Sound.
DeLancey was the father of Susan DeLancey, who in an 1811 ceremony at the home, married famed early American author, James Fenimore Cooper, often considered to be the first truly American author. A large painting of the wedding adorns a wall of the Mamaroneck Free Library, painted in the mid 1800’s. Amongst those depicted are the Coopers, a minister, and two slaves behind them. However, it was noted that DeLancey gave Joseph and Harris a house in Cooperstown…implying he may have freed his slaves – according to Susan Fenimore Cooper’s recounting of her early life, in both Mamaroneck and Cooperstown, as the granddaughter of James Fenimore and Susan DeLancey Cooper. A plaque currently marks the marital event on the front of the DeLancey House.
Cooper and his wife lived in the home off and on with the DeLanceys, as well as in two other sites (in Mamaroneck, in their own home, and in Scarsdale, New York), when not living in Cooperstown. His wife was actually the one who encouraged him to become a writer. Cooper’s first successful novel, The Spy, was largely written there, and has references to local places in Mamaroneck. It was in the DeLancey House where Cooper wrote his famed Last of the Mohicans.
The DeLancey House, a lovely, historic wood-frame homestead, is the last large historic home in Mamaroneck from the Revolutionary era. It was moved down to its current site at the foot of the hill on the Boston Post Road over one hundred years ago, and sits at the corner of the Post Road (U.S. 1) and (appropriately) Fenimore Road, directly across from beautiful Mamaroneck Harbor.
James Fenimore Cooper was posthumously inducted into the New York Writers Hall of Fame at a gala dinner and induction ceremony on June 4, 2013, at the Princeton Club in New York City, -- unbelievable timing and a good omen for the Mamaroneck Historical Society’s fundraising launch to save the DeLancey House. The Fundraising Committee Chairman attended the dinner and induction, and was honored to meet three of Cooper’s descendants, who expressed deep appreciation, interest and support for the Committee’s effort to save their forbears’ home, the DeLancey House.