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 has been a living quarters for wardens of the almshouse, the hospitals, and the penitentiary.
The exterior of the modest colonial home has been refurbished and plans are in the works to renovate the interior. Once complete, Blackwell House will be used as a community center, mainly for local committee meetings and periodic historical tours.