Visiting Blackwell House on New York’s Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island Historical Societypic
Roosevelt Island Historical Society

A design and engineering graduate of Philadelphia University, Lynne Strong-Shinozaki is a community service volunteer and activist based in New York City. Lynne Strong-Shinozaki engages with a wide range of organizations, such as the Roosevelt Island Historical Society.

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) is tasked with preserving a variety of landmarks and artifacts through the historically and culturally rich island on New York’s East River. The island is home to numerous landmark structures, including the Blackwell House. The home, originally constructed between 1796 and 1804, is the only remaining structure from the island’s time as a privately held property. The Blackwell family inhabited the home until 1828, when the city assumed stewardship of the island.

Over the years, the house assumed a number of roles, such as functioning as residential quarters for institutional administrators of the island’s newly built penitentiary. By the late 1960’s, Blackwell House had fallen into a state of complete disarray. The house was later reopened to the public following a complete restoration in 1973.

Other notable landmarks include the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, Strecker Laboratory, and a hospital that treated patients with smallpox throughout the 1800’s. Individuals interested in visiting the island and its various landmarks can learn more at