Building of the Week: Thomas Paine Cottage

03 Nov, 2011

By Wesley Moroz

photo by Author


 


One of our favorite local revolutionaries, Thomas Paine lived in this New Rochelle cottage from 1802-06. Born in England in 1737, Paine immigrated to America in 1774 after meeting a guy named Benjamin Franklin who suggested the move.In England, Paine had worked (but not successfully) as a corset maker, privateer (legalized pirate, essentially), excise officer (collector of customs and taxes), school teacher and personal servant.  He is best known for writing Common Sense, the pamphlet that argued for freedom from British rule.


For his service in the Revolutionary War, the New York State Legislature awarded him 320 acres in New Rochelle in 1784. The bulk of the property (277 acres) was a farm that had been confiscated.


The two-story, saltbox style Thomas Paine Cottage, located at 20 Sicard Ave., was built in 1804. The Greek-rival style addition was built 26 years later.


The house is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Historic American Building Survey photo courtesy of Library of Congress


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