In 1702, a wealthy young Englishman named Caleb Heathcote came to Mamaroneck and built a beautiful mansion on the hill, surrounded by orchards and overlooking the harbor.
But as the Revolution approached, the area seethed with violence between Tories and Patriots. So Caleb's aristocratic descendants abandoned their estate and sailed home.
In 1776, the empty house was the scene of an early morning surprise attack by Washington's troops against a British battalion sleeping in the orchards. (Friend and foe were buried together in a common grave at the top of the hill.) Sometime later during the Revolution, the mansion burned to the ground.
After the war, the family returned and built a new house on the hill. Adding a little early American glamour, Heathcote's great grandaughter Susan lived here with her famous novelist husband, James Fenimore Cooper.
During the Gilded Age, Mamaroneck became home to many great estates of the moneyed elite. But Heathcote's hill, so close to town, was parceled out for scores of modest homes. (Norman Rockwell grew up in one.)
And Mamaroneck's original mansion? In 1902, they sold it for $11 and dragged it down the hill to sit on the noisy Post Road as a hotel, gas station, restaurant supply company, Italian cafe...
Now of course, the busy corner property is for sale and the tired old house might have to go. (As if houses have somewhere else to go.) You can learn more here.
What does any of that have to do with the music?
Someone once said it was hard to argue with someone about where they were from. And this music was made on Heathcote Hill.
These songs were written here, first played for friends here. Then we rehearsed them here. And when we wound up recording this music in a neat little studio that actually happened to sit at the foot of the hill..well.
So this is something else that's happening here on Heathcote Hill.
Maybe the name is too obvious. Don't know.