Blackwell House

At the corner of East Road and Main Street is a charming wooden home called Blackwell House. Built in 1796 for the Blackwell family, who owned the island for many generations, this cottage is the sixth oldest farmhouse in New York City.


The original resident of the home was James Blackwell, whose father had inherited the island from his wife's stepfather, Captain John Manning, the Sheriff of New York. Since New York City purchased the island from the Blackwell family in 1823 to build institutions for the most populous city in the country, Blackwell House became a living quarters for wardens of the almshouse, the hospitals, and the penitentiary.


The exterior of the modest colonial home has been refurbished and the interior renovation was completed in October of 2020. Blackwell House has become home to some of the island’s historical treasures, records, and archives. It will be used to tell the history of Roosevelt Island through exhibit elements, including images of the island’s landmarked structures and buildings, no longer standing, as well as community stories and experiences. 

Viewing Hours

Blackwell House is now open!

Visitor Info

Wednesday - Sunday: 11 AM - 5 PM

Blackwell House will be closed on all major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.).

General Visitor Guidance

  • There is no fee for entry. 
  • There will be a 30 minute limit for all visitors.
  • Visitors are only permitted on the first floor of Blackwell House and encouraged not to linger.
  • No food or drinks (no open containers) are permitted in Blackwell House. 
  • Bags may be checked upon entry. 

Safety Guidance

  • The maximum capacity for Blackwell House is 25% occupancy, or not more than seven (7) people.
  • All visitors over two (2) years of age must wear a mask. 
  • All visitors must stay socially distant (a minimum of six feet apart).
  • All visitors must use hand sanitizer upon arrival.