Archive for 'Hudson River Valley'

Houses on Union Street, Hudson NY

After visiting Olana and Cedar Grove, I took some pictures in the city of Hudson, NY. Warren Street in Hudson is famous for its Victorian architecture, but Union Street (which is parallel to Warren to the south) has many nineteenth-century houses. The house in the picture above is the c. 1850 Terry-Gillette Mansion at 601 Union Street, designed by Richard Upjohn. Below are some more of the interesting houses with approximate dates of construction. › Continue reading…

Cedar Grove (1815)

After visiting Olana, it was a quick trip across the Hudson River to Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, in Catskill, New York. Built in 1815 by the Thomson family, the house was later the home of painter Thomas Cole, who married a niece of the owner, a local merchant named John A. Thomson, in 1836. Cole is regarded as the founder of the Hudson River School of landscape painting. Frederic Edwin Church, who would later build Olana, was a student of Cole at Cedar Grove. The Greene County Historical Society purchased the property in 1998 and it has been open as a house museum since 2001. › Continue reading…

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Olana (1872)

Last Friday, I visited Olana for the first time. The orientalizing “Persian”-style home of Hudson River School landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church, Olana is located on a hill (surrounded by an extensive property) in Hudson, New York. Church, aided by architect Calvert Vaux, constructed Olana between 1870 and 1872. He added a studio wing to the house over the period 1888–1891. The house has been a New York State Historic Site since 1966. › Continue reading…

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After visiting Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, I went down to see the nearby headquarters, used during the same period by General Henry Knox, Washington’s Chief of Artillery. Like Washington’s HQ, it’s also a state historic site, located in New Windsor/Vails Gate. Due to limited time and an arrival off the regular tour time, I had a quick walkthrough tour of the house, which like Washington’s Headquarters, is arranged as it would have been when the general was there, including quarters where his staff would have stayed. In addition to Knox, the house was also used earlier during the Revolutionary War by Generals Nathanael Greene and Horatio Gates. The house was built in 1754 by John Ellison, who was involved in the milling trade. The Ellison House is interesting for having two facades, one side (above) being English Georgian style, the other (below, after the jump) being Dutch colonial. › Continue reading…

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Hasbrouck House/Washington’s Headquarters (1750)

After the Battle of Yorktown, Washington spent over sixteen months (April 1, 1782 to August 19, 1783) at his headquarters in Newburgh, NY. He was even joined there by his wife Martha. The house he used had been built by Jonathan Hasbrouck in 1750 and had two enlargements before it was completed in 1770. The house was also altered inside in preparation for Washington’s arrival. The property is the earliest publicly operated historic site in the United States, having been acquired by the State of New York in 1850. I went on a tour of this house while on my way to my most recent trip to Pennsylvania. I was interested to see that the home, as a colonial Dutch farmhouse, had three “Dutch Jambless” (sideless) fireplaces. Although the major fighting of the Revolutionary War had ended with the Yorktown victory, many momentous events occurred while Washington was based in Newburgh, until the war officially ended in 1783. The Hasbrouck House has Washington’s original desk, on which he wrote several important letters and addresses. I also learned that the house in New Windsor that Washington used before Yorktown (and from which he left to meet Rochambeau at the Webb House in Wethersfield, CT) no longer exists. Also on the property is a museum (1910) and a monument called the Tower of Victory (1890). The site has great views of the Hudson River. › Continue reading…

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Lyndhurst (1838)

Lyndhurst

Located just next door to Sunnyside, in Terrytown, NY, is Lyndhurst, another very significant nineteenth century mansion. This building‘s place in American architectural history can not be understated, as it is one of the great examples of the Gothic Revival style. Lyndhurst was constructed in two phases, both times to designs by architect Alexander Jackson Davis, who also designed much of the furniture. The first phase (1838-1842) was for William Paulding, Jr. and the second (1864-1865) for George Merritt. Jay Gould owned the house from 1880 to 1892 and his daughter, Anna Gould, Duchess of Talleyrand-Perigord, donated it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1961. Visitors to the house can either tour on their own or take a guided tour (the same choice was offered when I visited Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts). Before touring the house, I wondered where the gift shop was. It was not until the end of the tour that I entered the shop in the basement, which had a good selection of items. Both Sunnyside and Lyndhurst sell guidebooks about their respective houses which are excellent examples of such books, providing detailed historical information in addition to pictures. The angle of the afternoon sun prevented me from taking an adequate picture of the house! › Continue reading…

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Sunnyside (1835)

Sunnyside

This past summer, I made a trip to Philadelphia and stopped at two houses in Terrytown, New York (right near where the Tappan Zee Bridge crosses the Hudson River), on the way. The first was Sunnyside, which was the home of author Washington Irving. Although the earliest history of the building goes back to an old Dutch farmhouse built in 1656, Irving completely transformed it into his own home in the nineteenth century, after purchasing the property in 1835. Irving really did put his mark on the property, which is right along the river, with his own landscaping plans. His house, which has many Gothic and Romantic touches, became a famous American landmark as well. I strongly recommended visiting Sunnyside, as it is a home which, more than most, reflects the full spirit of its owner. The house is owned by Historic Hudson Valley, which has other house museums in the region. The gift shop at Sunnyside was also notable, being larger than average. Irving is most famous for Rip Van Winkle and Sleepy Hollow, but he wrote a large number of works, including biographies of Mohammad and George Washington. Sunnyside is one of the most evocative homes one can visit, for those with an interest in literature as well as those interested in the Romantic movement in America. › Continue reading…

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