On June 19, 1989, Mayor Edward I. Koch and NYC Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern gathered at Gracie Mansion with preservationists, historians, architects, and other committed citizens to announce the creation of the Historic House Trust of New York City.
At that time, the 15 historic houses in the City’s collection suffered from decay, improper maintenance, and inappropriate restoration treatments. One by one, HHT worked with the individual not-for-profit organizations that operate the properties to address these structural needs. Over time HHT has expanded the services it provides to the houses, offering guidance on projects that range from collections management and educational programming to reinterpretation and improved accessibility.
Today, HHT’s collection has grown to 23 historic sites across the five boroughs, ranging from modest cottages to grand manor houses. The sites now thrive as cultural institutions that represent New York City’s colorful history and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, many of whom are local schoolchildren.
Located on city parkland, these sites are publicly owned and open to all, and are instrumental in creating a distinct sense of place for their surrounding neighborhoods. As functioning museums with an array of engaging cultural programs, HHT’s historic houses and their park sites serve both their surrounding communities and visitors from across the world.
Over 30 years after its founding, HHT continues to ensure that these living institutions will enrich the city’s cultural life and engage diverse audiences well into the future.