WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES DECEMBER 16, 2021 43
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD: THE WAY IT WAS
HISTORY OF THE FARM
As best we can determine, the land
that eventually became the Onderdonk
farm was originally granted
to Hendrick Barentz Smidt in 1662.
In 1709, Paulus Vander Ende bought
the farm and built the house. He was
one of the original settlers in Kings
County and receved a land grant on
Aug. 7, 1686.
His son, Frederick, eventually
inherited the Ridgewood farm. He
simplifeied the spelling of his last
name to Van Nanda. He had a daughter,
Jane, who in the early 1750s married
Moses Beadel, who was born in
Hempstead in 1725.
When Frederick Van Nanda died
in 1769, Moses Beadel and his wife
inherited the farm.
Like the early Onderdonks, Moses
Beadel was a patriot in the Revolutionary
War, enlisting in the First
Battalion of the New York Provincial
Regiment at the ripe age of 51. His
son, also named Moses, enlisted in
the Third New York Regiment.
The senior Moses Beadel was
captured by the British on Nov. 21,
1776 and was kept imprisoned on
a ship off the New Jersey coast. He
remained a prisoner until July 1779,
when he died of sickness.
Moses Jr. returned home from the
war and inherited the farm. He later
married Jane Remsen, daughter of
Christopher and Maria Remsen, who
owned a 64-acre farm in what later
Moses Beadel then sold the Ridgewood
farm to the Van Nuys family. In
about 1810, they sold the farm to John
Cozine, who bought it as an investment.
He resold it on Nov. 7, 1812, to
Three pieces of land in the vicinity
of Maspeth Creek, which totaled
eight acres, were also included in
the deal between Ryerson and Ridgewood’s
Adrian Onderdonk. The deed
covered all the houses, outhouses,
barns, orchards, gardens, meadows,
pastures, commons, fences, feedings,
timbers, trees, woods, underwoods,
ways, paths, waters, watercourses,
easements and commodities.
Adrian Onderdonk and his wife,
also named Ann, had two children:
Dorothy Ann, born in 1820; and
Gertrude, born in 1825. Adrian fell
ill in 1831, when he realized that Jane
Ryerson, George Ryerson’s widow,
had not signed away her dower
rights when he bought the farm. On
May 3 of that year, she agreed to do
so for the nominal sum of $1.
Adrian Onderdonk died on July 2,
1831 at the age of 36. His widow, Ann,
was 38 years old at the time.
On Nov. 15, 1831, the Chancery
Court in New York City appointed
Lambert Wyckoff, a New York
The brightly decorated interior of the Onderdonk House during the holiday season.
merchant, as the guardian for the
children to represent their interest
in the sale of a small piece of land
located on the north side of the
(now Metropolitan Avenue).
On Dec. 4, 1831, this land was sold
fo $175 to Stephen Master, who with
his brother Samuel, operated the
Adrian’s widow and children continued
to live on the farm after his
death. In 1838, Dorothy Ann left and
got married, and Gertrude followed
suit seven years later. Ann Onderdonk
continued to live on the farm
until at least 1849. She died on Nov.
16, 1863 at the age of 70.
THE REST OF THE STORY
Before long, the Onderdonk farm
and surrounding rural areas transformed.
Homes and streets were
built on the southern side of the
farm, while industry developed on
the north, largely due to its proximity
to roads and the Newtown/
In the mid 1800s, the Gemelin
family bought the Onderdonk House
and the last remains of the nearby
farm for its livery and scrap glass
works. Thereafter, the Jacobs Brothers,
which owned the American
Moninger Greenhouse Company,
bought the family out.
After entrepreneur Daniel Ehrlich
purchased the company, the
Onderdonk House became an office
and a one-story brick extension was
constructed in the front. The house
continued to be used by industry
well into the 20th century and even
had an impact on American space
history, as precision parts and
components for the Apollo Space
Program were manufactured there.
But by the winter of 1974, industry
at the Onderdonk House was gone,
and the centuries-old structure was
abandoned. Vandals and derelicts
began picking apart at the structure,
and the city moved to demolish what
was left .
Local historians, however, came
to the house’s rescue. Chemical
Bank provided a mortgage on the
property, halting its destruction.
But the Onderdonk House was dealt
another blow in February 1975, when
a fire caused significant damage to
the historic structure.
Following the fire, the Greater
Ridgewood Historical Society, an
association of local civic leaders and
historians, was formed to renovate
and preserve the Onderdonk House
for future generations. Various
fundraising efforts, including an
annual Oktoberfest at Forest Park,
generated thousands of dollars repairing
the damage and reclaiming
The society also helped convince
the state and federal governments
to add the Onderdonk House to
the State and National Registers of
Historic Places. The city Landmarks
Preservation Commission eventually
declared the Onderdonk House
as a landmark.
Today, the society continues to
operate at the Onderdonk House,
holding various historical exhibits
and making it available for students
and history-lovers to enjoy. The
house also holds a variety of events
year-round, including a Harvest
Festival in October and St. Nicholas
Day in December.
Reprinted from the Nov. 13, 2014
If you have any memories and
photos that you’d like to share about
“Our Neighborhood:The Way it Was,”
write to The Old Timer, c/o Ridgewood
Times, 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY
11361, or send an email to editorial@
ridgewoodtimes.com. All mailed pictures
will be carefully returned upon