LANSINGBURGH, TROY

 

  HOME OF HERMAN AND ELIZABETH MELVILLE

Please use our A-Z INDEX to navigate this site

 

 

 

 

For many years this house was lived in by Herman and Elizabeth Melville, now a heritage site of some significance. Herman wrote Typee and Omoo while living here.

 

 

The Herman Melville House located at Lansingburgh in Troy, Rensselaer County, New York is a historic building. It was a home of author Herman Melville between 1838 and 1847.

The home was originally built about 1786 and substantially remodeled in the Late Victorian style about 1872. It is a ​2 1⁄2-story, brick and timber frame dwelling with a gable roof. It has a 2-story rear wing.

Herman Melville and his family moved to Lansingburgh in 1838 after deaths in the family and financial concerns. Five years later, in 1843, Melville's brother Allan reflected on the house as "very pleasantly situated on the bank of the Hudson river (where I am now writing). Economy was the object of this change of location, and the only one which influenced my mother to forsake the 'place of her heart,' her early companions and old friends."

 

During the family's time here, they were nearly impoverished, and Melville's mother Maria Gansevoort Melville relied on financial support from family and frequently wrote letters complaining to her brothers and asking for help. In December 1839, for example, she wrote: "It cannot be possible that I am to be left by my two Brothers to struggle with absolute want... If I have nothing to expect from my brothers but tardy, uncertain remittances, extracted only by painful relations of want the Family must be broken up and its members dispersed."

 

 

528 1st Avenue, 114th Street, Lansingburgh, Troy, Rensselaer County

 

Herman and his family lived at number 528 1st Avenue, 114th Street. The wooden house was Built in 1786 by Stephan Gorham, the first postmaster of Rensselaer County.

 

 

During his time here, Melville joined a local debating society, sent letters to the town newspaper, wrote a few love poems and, in 1839, published a two-part sketch titled "Fragments from a Writing-Desk" in the Democratic Press and Lansingburgh Advertiser. He also took a course in surveying at the Lansingburgh Academy in the unfulfilled hope of pursuing work with the Erie Canal. In the summer of 1839, he also took his first sea voyage: a four-month trip to Liverpool. Upon his return, he taught at schools in Greenbush and Brunswick. The next year, 1840, he and a friend visited family in Galena, Illinois, before returning to New York. It is believed that Melville wrote his first two novels while living in this home.

The Melville family's former home is today preserved and maintained by The Lansingburgh Historical Society.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

 

 

  

Arrowhead old black and white photograph

 

For many years, Arrowhead was lived in by Herman and Elizabeth Melville, now a heritage site of some significance. Arrowhead is open on Saturdays only from October 19 through December 14, 10am - 2pm. Visit the home where Herman Melville and his family lived from 1850-1863. Melville wrote "Moby-Dick" here as well as many other notable novels and short stories. 

 

 

 

  Herrman Melville portrait copyright picture August 2020

 

Herman Melville married Elizabeth Shaw and eventually moved to Arrowhead, where Moby Dick was written. They also lived in Lansingburgh, Troy, New York. 

 

 

 

 

Please use our A-Z INDEX to navigate this site

 

 

This website is Copyright 2020 Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd and Jameson Hunter Ltd