Jay Heritage Center, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 20 Boston Post Road, Rye, NY 10580 in Westchester County.
"The Jay Estate in Rye is the childhood home of one of our nation’s greatest leaders and Founding Fathers, John Jay (1745-1829). Thanks to the efforts of its subsequent owners who cherished it and community advocates who saved it, this sylvan and historic 23 acre oasis, once part of an expansive 400 acre farm, still boasts a magnificent view to Long Island Sound and is now open to the public. For visitors, it provides a rare and truly breathtaking window into our past and a glimpse of the horizons that Jay and his descendants saw for our new country.
"This landmark on New York State’s Path Through History is the crucible where the character of a patriot was forged. Jay served his country in every branch of government - as a spymaster during the Revolutionary War; as a diplomat and Minister to Spain; as a negotiator of the Treaty of Paris and the Jay Treaty; as an architect of our state’s constitution; as an author of the Federalist Papers; as our first United States Chief Justice; as Governor of New York State; and as an anti-slavery advocate who founded the New York Society for the Manumission of Slaves and signed the Gradual Emancipation Act into law. Jay’s accomplishments are many and his legacy to future generations is immeasurable. But so too are the legacies of all the men and women who lived or worked here and left their imprints on this very same quintessentially American landscape.
"Our role is to trace and examine the paths that led them all to this place so you can follow. From famous figures like American novelist James Fenimore Cooper who depicted the Jay home and household in his first popular tale “The Spy” to Triangle Shirtwaist Factory heroine Daisy Lopez who escaped the city’s oppression and spent summers in Rye in the early 1900s. From the Paleo-Indians who harvested oysters and paddled in Milton Harbor to the slaves who labored here but were also freed and buried here. From the immigrant Irish and Italian servants who stocked the pantries and icehouse, to the gardeners who groomed boxwood parterres, to the cattlehands and coachmen that made this place function - you will discover their stories here too. We welcome you to help us learn more."
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.
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Things to Do at Jay Heritage Center
1907 Van Norden Carriage House
and Visitor Center
The Jay landscape is a gem, especially notable for its 10,000+ year old scenic vista and meadow bordered by sunken stone ha-ha walls.