The Van Alen Mansion, one of New York City's architectural treasures, became home of the Kosciuszko Foundation in 1945.
The building, designed by Harry Allan Jacobs was built in 1917 in the most affluent and desirable neighborhood in New York. Its prototype is located in St. James Square in London and was the childhood home of England's late Queen Mother.
In 1920 it had been purchased for $275,000 to Rufus L. Patterson, the owner of American Machine & Foundry. After Patterson died in 1944, his widow, Margaret put the mansion up for sale the following year. The asking price was $250,000. Stephen Mizwa, the founder of the KF, explained that he wanted to buy the mansion for cultural purposes and bargained with Mrs. Patterson for six months. In an incredible act of charity, she lowered the price to $85,000. The foundation made a $10,000 down payment and mortgaged the rest thus becoming the third owner of the Van Alen Mansion. Over the next several years, Mrs. Patterson donated another $16,000 to the Kosciuszko Foundation to help pay off the mortgage.
In 1950, thanks to gift of Stanislaw Petera, a retired worker from General Electric, the Kosciuszko Foundation managed to pay off its mortgage. The same year, at the Foundation's Silver Anniversary Dinner, KF President Dr. Henry Noble MacCracken (on a photo) burned the mortgage to the Kosciuszko Foundation House after it had been paid off.