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Jay Heritage Center/Jay House

The Jay Property in Rye is the boyhood home of New York State’s only native Founding Father, John Jay (1745-1829). Located next to a marshlands preserve with public trails, this sylvan and historic 23 acre park is all that remains of the original 400 acre Jay family estate where America’s first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and author of The Jay Treaty grew up, and where he chose a final resting place for himself and all his descendants. Located just 35 minutes from Manhattan, the Property has an 10,000 year old scenic vista of Long Island Sound over a meadow bordered by sunken stone ha-ha walls, a European garden design feature added by Jay’s eldest son circa 1822. It is also located on the historic Boston Post Road where mile marker “24” out of 230, designated in 1763 by Jay’s colleague, Benjamin Franklin, is set into the perimeter wall. The centerpiece of this National Historic Landmark (NHL)is an 1838 Greek Revival mansion with soaring Corinthian columns built by Peter Augustus Jay atop the footprint of his father and grandfather’s original home “The Locusts” reusing original timbers and nails from the same house. Out of more than 80,000 places on the National Register, only about 2,430 are NHLs. Visitors can literally see the layers of history being uncovered here. The PA Jay House has been called an "architectural masterpiece" and is being carefully restored and managed by the not-for-profit organization, the Jay Heritage Center (JHC) for use as an educational facility hosting Programs in American History, Social Justice, Landscape Conservation and Environmental Stewardship. The house is an official project of the Save America’s Treasures Program and at 171 years old, it is the oldest National Historic Landmark structure in New York State to be using an energy efficient geothermal heating and cooling system. The Jay site is also listed on Westchester County’s African American Heritage Trail. John Jay is well known for advocating emancipation, serving as President of the Manumission Society and establishing the first African Free School. A second building being restored by the JHC, is the 1907 Van Norden Carriage House, a Classical Revival masterpiece in its own right; it serves as the JHC Visitor Center and houses the permanent exhibit “The Design of Providence” that explores the cultural imprints that mankind leaves on the landscape and how that very same landscape shapes human character and behavior.