Martin Van Buren National Historic Site-Lindernwald-Martin Van Buren Home
1013 Old Post Road
Kinderhook, NY 12106
(518) 758-9689 x2040
Open: Sunday-Saturday 9:00am-4:30pm
Admission: See website
My review on TripAdvisor:
During the beginning of the Halloween season, I decided to explore the Hudson River Valley mansions while the foliage was out. I had never been as high up as Kinderhook, NY before and I wanted to visit the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site. This was the estate Lindenwald-Martin Van Buren home.
The tour is really informative and discusses our eighth President’s life in Upstate New York. I had not released that he was not born a wealthy man. He was a barkeepers son to Abraham Van Buren and his wife, Maria Hoes. His mother had been married before so he had three half siblings and four other siblings growing up.
He had worked his way through Law School and joined the local political scene of Upstate New York. From the what the tour guide told us, he was a self-made man. He had won the first election but not reelection. His further attempts at Presidency were not successful so after his time in Washington DC, he retired to his home in Kinderhook, NY and remained here until he died in 1862.
When we took the tour, the tour guide said that the house had many other owners after the President’s death and that was the reason why there was not much left in the house. There is period furniture from the time he lived here but not from the President himself. There are a few pieces from the family that were donated later. They even replaced the wallpaper in the dining room that was from the original French company that manufactured it (it seems that they have records going back almost 400 years). The grounds are beautiful with the golden and orange leaves on the trees and what is left of the crops in the back fields. There is also the graves of Peter Van Ness and his wife, the original owners of the house.
The house is not far from downtown Kinderhook so take time to visit the town and the historic sites of the President. There is a lot to see.
History of the Martin Van Buren Home & of President Van Buren:
Kinderhook is most noteworthy for its native son. Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United States. Van Buren was born here in 1782 and began his road to the White House as a teenager campaigning for Thomas Jefferson in 1800. Van Buren held many positions in New York State government before becoming a United States senator. in 1821. He was elected President of the United States in 1837 after serving as Secretary of State (1829) and vice-president (1833-1837) in Andrew Jackson’s administration. Van Buren was one of only two men to serve as Vice-President, Secretary of State and President. The other was Thomas Jefferson. Van Buren was the first President to be born as an American citizen. Previous Presidents were born prior to the American Revolution. President Van Buren was an accomplished politician but his Presidency was characterized by the economic hardship of the time-the Panic of 1837.
This banking crisis occurred only five weeks into Van Buren’s Presidency and tarnished his administration. Van Buren ran for reelection in 1844 and seemed to have a advantage for the nomination. However, his opposition to the annexation of Texas contributed to his defeat at the Democratic convention. The nomination eventually went to James Polk. As the question of extending slavery into the territory captured in the Mexican War became heightened, Van Buren broke with his party and ran for the Presidency as a candidate of the Free Soil Party in 1848. Following the campaign of 1848, Van Buren returned to his farm, Lindenwald, where he remained until his death in 1862 from bronchial asthma and heart failure at age seventy-nine.
(Lindenwald-Van Buren Home pamphlet)
The house was built in 1797. The knocker on the old front door of this famous mansion bears the date 1797. This however refers to the building of the small and much less imposing building, which was the beginning of this Mansion and was erected by Peter Van Ness. There was still an earlier house on the place when Peter Van Ness bought it about 1780. The house of 1797 was greatly improved by Judge Van Ness, a son and still more improved and enlarged by Mr. Van Buren on his return from Washington when he named it ‘Lindenwald’.
Many of the most distinguished men of the period of the Van Ness and Van Buren families entertained here, among whom were Henry Clay, Washington Irving and Samuel Tilden.
Lindenwald is situated about two miles south of Kinderhook on the Old Post Road from New York City to Albany and sits about 400 to 500 feet back from the road, surrounded by old fir and pine trees. Two separate drive ways lead up to the house.
The house is brick, painted yellow and seven windows wide. The main building had two stories and a large garret. Three chimneys rise above this main or front part of the house, two to the north and a wide one to the south. The middle of the front is pedimented and there is a dormer on each side of the gable, which in the bedroom story below has a large triple central window with a curved pedimental top and two windows on each side. The two windows on the south side are in the room where Van Buren died.
Before the center of the main story is a small covered portico with an easy flight of steps and balusters. To the left is the living room or double parlor to the right the sitting room and dining room.
The oblong house is four windows deep on the north side. A colonnade or arched porch separates it from a domestic building, mainly kitchen and laundry. This undoubtedly was the Peter Van Ness original home. The library was added in the rear of the south side by Mr. Van Buren and next to this he built a tower, like a donjan keep with an Italian summit, the openings few and slitted; the object, stateliness and the view.
Beyond the front door is a fine straight hall. The four doors opening off of it are of early carpentry. At the rear, nearly concealed in the side of the hall under sort of an alcove is the stairway, wide and low and long stepped. The main feature of the hall, is the foreign wallpaper in large landscapes, representing hunters on horseback and with guns and dogs breaking into Rhenish vales, where milkmaids are surprised and invite flirtation, the human figures are nearly a foot high, the mountains and woods, rocks and streams, panoramic the colors dark and loud.
After the death of President Van Buren the house was sold several times.