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Headless Horseman's Creator, Washington Irvington, 'Lives' At Sunnyside

Headless Horseman creator Washington Irving built his Sunnyside home in Irvington in 1841 and died there in 1859.
Headless Horseman creator Washington Irving built his Sunnyside home in Irvington in 1841 and died there in 1859. Photo Credit: Sunnyside Museum
Washington Irving (1783-1859)
Washington Irving (1783-1859) Photo Credit: Library of Congress

IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- The author responsible for the great American legend of Ichobod Crane, the Headless Horseman and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" lived at Sunnyside, his home on the banks of the Hudson River on the Irvington/Tarrytown border.

For those who have become aware of Irving and his career as a great American novelist through the popular Fox Television series "Sleepy Hollow," a visit to Sunnyside is a must and you have until Monday, Nov. 11 to make the trip before the museum closes for the season.

The author, who lived from 1783-1859 and is also known for his Rip Van Winkle character and as an essayist, historian and biographer, built his Hudson River home in 1841 lived there full time at Sunnyside beginning in 1846. He died on November 28, 1859 of a heart attack in his bedroom at Sunnyside at the age of 76 and is buried under a simple headstone at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Irving himself described Sunnyside in his work "Wolfert's Roost and Miscellanies":

"About 520 miles from the ancient and renowned city of Manhattan, formerly called New Amsterdam, and vulgarly called New York, on the eastern bank of that expansion of the Hudson, known among Dutch mariners of yore, as the Tappan Zee, being in fact the great Mediterranean Sea of the New-Netherlands, stands a little old-fashioned stone mansion, all made up of gable-ends, and as full of angles and corners as an old cocked hat.

"Though but of small dimensions, yet, like many small people, it is of mighty spirit, and values itself greatly on its antiquity, being one of the oldest edifices, for its size, in the whole country. It claims to be an ancient seat of empire, I may rather say an empire in itself, and like all empires, great and small, has had its grand historical epochs. In speaking of this doughty and valorous little pile, I shall call it by its usual appellation of 'The Roost.' "

Sunnyside is open to visitors May 4 to Nov. 11, Wednesday through Sunday. It's also open holiday Mondays: Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day. Admission by timed tours only: 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m and 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

For more on Sunnyside, visit the Irving Historical Society website.

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