An official Path Through History Site! Built in 1748 to house a prominent New York family, the Van Cortlandt House is New York City`s first historic house museum and the oldest building in the Bronx. During the Revolutionary War, the house`s location gave it a strategic position in the conflict. The house and plantation were occupied by Colonial and British armies in turn. General George Washington is known to have stayed in the house at least twice, as did British General Sir William Howe.