Built 226 years ago, a piece of Warwick history for sale

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:01

Warwick — Many houses have something unique about them, be it a different floor plan, some unusual attributes or a special view. Few houses are truly unique, one-of-a-kind homes. Joan and Tom Frangos have one of those unique homes here in Warwick. Built in 1779, the stone house at 88 Kings Highway is being sold for the first time ever. It has been in the family of its builder, Captain James Benedict, for 226 years, lovingly handed down from one generation to the next. For the first time, the house will leave the family. “It is very bittersweet for us,” said Joan Frangos, whose grandmother was a Benedict. Joan lived in the house through her teenage years and as an adult. She and her husband embrace the history of the house but realize it is time to move on. What they are leaving is a piece of Warwick history. “The Captain Benedict Homestead,” as it is called, was built with fieldstone taken from the original 150-acre property. It is charming to look at, but the stone was used not for the charm but for its functionality and endurance. Inside the house there is no audible street noise, thanks to the insulation of the stone. It has stood up to 226 years of weather. And when you tour the house, one of the most striking aspects is how wide the windowsills are. They had no choice when building the house — the stone is that wide. The house stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter, too. “There is nothing sturdier than the stone houses built by the men who cleared and tamed the eastern part of New York State, and the house of Captain Benedict is one of the finest survivals of their work,” according to a page in the Old Orange Houses magazine. The article also noted that the Benedicts hailed General George Washington from their piazza as he traversed the only safe route between the New Windsor camp and the hall of Congress in Philadelphia. The mortar between the stones is white — brought to Warwick from Cornwall since that was the only place around with white sand. Many of the windows on the south side of the house are the original glass. In the dining room, you can see the letter “B” etched on one of the window panes. This was the room where the soldiers of Sullivan’s army slept during the Revolution. Several of the original locks are still in place. In this room, the lock was brought from the French Bastille. As far as the family knows, it is the only one this side of Canada. There are three fireplaces downstairs. The fireplace in the dining room is where the family cooked. It still has the original iron arm and pot hooks used during the Revolutionary War. The original wide plank flooring runs through the center hallway downstairs. The stairs are original as well. The upstairs of the house was used as a granary, storing buckwheat, wheat, barley, and oats, before the four bedrooms and bathroom were built. The only major change to the downstairs is the updated kitchen. However, even that was done in keeping with the period of the house. “Some of the first people of the country lived here,” said Joan Frangos. “People were born there, lived their lives there, and died there. This is a unique opportunity to own a piece of history.” This house is being offered through Century 21 Peck Realty, Sanford Glazman agent.