Tag: Exploring Beacon NY

Mesier Homestead & Museum-Wappinger’s Falls Historical Society                                                     2 Spring Street                                      Wappinger’s Falls, NY 12590

Mesier Homestead & Museum-Wappinger’s Falls Historical Society 2 Spring Street Wappinger’s Falls, NY 12590

The Mesier Homestead & Museum-Wappinger’s Falls Historical Society

2 Spring Street

Wappinger’s Falls, NY  12590

(845) 632-1281

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Check website for special events

Fee: Adult $10.00/Seniors $7.00/Children 7-18 $5.00/Members Free

https://www.wappingershistoricalsociety.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48799-d16919924-Reviews-Mesier_Homestead_and_Museum-Wappingers_Falls_New_York.html?m=19905

The entrance to Mesier Park where the Homestead is located

The plaque outside the home

I visited the Mesier Homestead recently and toured the home with a local docent. Home to four generations of the Mesier family, the house has been added onto since it was built in the mid-1700’s. The rooms are decorated with furnishings from the Victorian era and shows life as it may have been in the late 1880’s at the height of the Victorian era.

The Mesier Homestead in the summer months

The tour of the rooms shows how the home was added onto to meet the increased demands of a growing family and one of increasing affluence. The original home was added onto from the back to add service areas and work areas for the household.

The entrance to the Mesier Homestead

A portrait of Mrs. Mesier in the hallway

When you enter the foyer from the front door, there are reproductions of family portraits hallway that had served as the parlor of the original house. As the house expanded, this area became the formal entrance to the home. To the right of the foyer, there is the Living Room, where the Historical Society has uncovered one of the two fireplaces from the original home that once heated the rooms.

The reproductions of Mr. and Mrs. Mesier in the Living Room

During the late 1800’s, the son of the owner heightened the ceilings to get rid of the railroad ties that once decorated the ceiling. This gave the room a more modern look and showed the affluence of the family that could heat a home with heigh ceilings.

The Mesier Homestead Living Room

Another view of the Living Room

The room furnishings included family paintings, a then modern Victrola, ornated furniture and diagram of the family tree. The small steps led to a small office off the Living Room that was added onto with more family objects.

The Library and Office off the Living Room at the Mesier Homestead

When you entered the room from the kitchen and the Butler’s Pantry where food was finished and readied to be served, a formally set Dining Room for dinner showed the family’s status in the community.

The Dining Room at the Mesier Homestead

The sideboard and the Dining Room table

An ornate china set from England enhanced the table with fine linens that the family would have owned. A newly opened fireplace that had once heated the dining room was shown by a heating unit that would have been used in the Victorian age. All sorts of fine decorative objects lined the tables and shelves.

The Dining Room table is set for a fine dinner at the Mesier home

By the amount of space available for living and entertaining with the separate rooms for use in the home it showed how times were changing with the affluence of that time. The family would show off their fine things to show their status in the community.

The Fan Collection from Victorian times

The second-floor tour is a view of the slave/then servants’ quarters and the two-family bedrooms. What I thought was interesting on the tour is how the family had to co-mingle in the bedrooms because of the number of children in the family and how mom and dad were not always alone. The rooms had to be expanded so that there was plenty of room for the growing family.

The Children’s bedroom on the second floor

The Adult’s bedroom on the second floor

There were many family items in the house like clothing, children’s toys and playthings and items for recreation like bikes, ice skates and musical instruments of a time before TV, movies and radio. There were also items for spinning and making clothes.

Children’s toys during the Victorian Age reflected imagination and preparation for adulthood with blocks, dolls, kitchen items and other playthings to stimulate the mind.

Bicycles and Native American art on the second floor

During Victorian times, the way people shopped and carried themselves changed after the Civil War with the rise of department stores and the merchant class. Instead of making your clothes, you bought them at the store and there was protocol on how Victorians behaved and handled themselves in society regardless of class.

The care of grooming a Victorian woman had in her bedroom

Clothes in a Victorian bedroom
Clothing and accessories for the Victorian woman for dressing for the day

One of the rooms was also set up like a small school with original children’s desks and blackboards. There is even a Civil War era flag that was found in one of the local homes hanging in the room.

The tour guide also noted the drafts in the house before insulation was put in and the conditions of the time with weather effecting living conditions inside with drafts in the winter and heat in the summer through the roof plyboards. This was modern living at the time. The heat would radiate from the lower level of the house and the Dutch doors would let fresh air in the warmer months. These were modern in comparison to our modern homes. This was the interesting part of the home.

When I asked why the back rooms had not been renovated like the front of the house, our tour guide explained that the Meiser’s were a very devout family and even though they were affluent for the times, they were restrained and not showy like you would see in places like the Vanderbilt mansion. They would not have entertained like that on a grand scale. It was an interesting perspective that those things did not mean that much to these older families.

The original section of the homestead from 1742 is currently being renovated. This is the original hearth and oven of the kitchen.

The tour takes about an hour and is a fascinating step back in history of the way these families lived.

Recently the house was decorated for the Christmas holidays with garland, holly and fragrant oranges that once masked the household smells. They also gave the house a festive fragrance. These popular tours last through the holiday season.

Please check their website for a list of their activities.

The History of the Mesier Homestead:

The Mesier Homestead and surrounding property was sold to the Village of Wappinger’s Falls in 1891 with the understanding that it forever be known as Mesier Homestead and Mesier Park. The Wappinger’s Historical Society acquired full custodianship of the Homestead in 2007 and through ongoing fundraising efforts has been able to restore the Homestead to its present appearance.

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The Mesier Homestead at Christmastime

The History of the house:

The house itself is part of the ‘Rombout Patent’ of land that had been bought by the Dutch from the local Indian tribes by three prominent Dutch families. This section of the property was bought by Nicholas and Adolphus Brewer and contained 750 acres of land around the Falls area, and they built the first stone house in the village near present Mill Street. In 1742, the Brewers built a mill on the east side of Wappinger Creek.

Nicholas Brewer built the Mesier Homestead in 1741, which he sold in 1777 to Matthew Van Benschoten who in turn sold it to Peter Mesier, a merchant from New York City. In May 1777, soldiers and local residents attacked Peter Meiser’s house in Wappinger’s Falls, disputing the price of tea for sale in a small store inside the home. Mesier was a merchant from New York City and a Loyalist. The angry mob struck Mesier, beat his slaves and drank wine stored in the cellar. They also took the tea and left a small amount of money behind. The house was in the possession of the family for the next four generations (Wiki).

The organization’s goal for 2020 and beyond is to restore the original 1741 building so it can be a showcase of our Colonial history. Your membership, gifts and in-kind donations will help us maintain and restore this jewel of Wappinger’s Falls.

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The Mesier Homestead at Christmastime

The Wappingers Historical Society Native American Collection:

The Wappingers Historical Society is the curator of an extensive collection of Native American artifacts, many of which stem from the Stoneco/Clinton Point and Bowdoin Park area in the vicinity of the Town of Wappinger. This collection of artifacts was once considered to be the largest private collection in New York State.

Victorian Hair art of the dead

It consists of over 2000 objects, many of which are projectile points (arrowheads and spear points). Some of these have been found to date back 8,500 years. Also included are tools such as scrapers, knives, axes and hatchets. A small portion of approximately 100 pieces of the collection is on display at the Mesier Homestead and can be seen as part of our guided tours.

The Native American collection is extensive at the Meiser House

The Mission of the Wappinger’s Falls Historical Society:

The Wappinger’s Historical is dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of the Town of Wappinger, the Village of Wappinger’s Falls and neighboring communities and to maintain the custodianship of the Mesier Homestead.

The beauty of Downtown Wappinger’s Falls, NY

When you are a member of the Wappinger’s Historical Society, you help:

*Preserve and expand our archives, collections and library to actively chronicle the life of our hamlets, village and town for future generations.

*Develop and implement programs and exhibits so that people of all ages can better understand their connection to history.

*Safeguard our architectural heritage of the 1741 Mesier Homestead.

(This information was taken from the Wappinger’s Falls pamphlet, and I give them full credit for it)

Wappinger's Falls Historical Society

The Mesier Homestead

Mount Gulian Historic Site                                   145 Sterling Street                                         Beacon, NY 12508

Mount Gulian Historic Site 145 Sterling Street Beacon, NY 12508

Mount Gulian Historic Site

145 Sterling Street

Beacon, NY  12508

(845) 831-8172

Home

Open: May 5th-October 27th Tours are every hour 1:00pm-5:00pm on Sundays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Special Wedding tours are by appointment.

Fee: Adults $8.00/Seniors $6.00/Children (6-18) $4.00/Members are free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47291-d10701912-Reviews-Mount_Gulian_Society-Beacon_New_York.html?m=19905

On my last trip to the Hudson River Valley to visit the great houses of the Hudson, I came across Mount Gulian, a Dutch manor that I never heard of in all my visits. This smaller Dutch manor house is actually a reconstruction of an 18th century home that burned to the ground by arson in 1931. The original house had been built between 1730 and 1740 and added onto over the next two centuries.

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Mount Gulian at Christmas in 2021

The house officially had closed for the season at the end of October and was decorated for the holidays for the weekend between December 14-16th to represent the Dutch celebrations. There had been a Children’s tea the Monday before the New Year, so the house was closing down for the season. As the ladies that worked there were taking down the garlands, mistletoe and trees, the curator Amy, let me wonder the rooms as long as I did not get in their way.

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The beautiful garland and lights adorn the house

The house is very unique. You would have never known it was a reconstruction. The house really looked its age. The funny part of the house is that is at the very back of an old estate that had been developed with townhouses from the main road to almost the border of the house’s property, so it was strange to drive through to find the house. Once in the semicircular driveway, you plunge back into time.

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Mount Gulian Homestead in the summer months

The large porch in the front of the house looks over what’s left of the lawn and the housing developments. Once inside you enter the foyer and long hallway with rooms on each side. Each room was or had been decorated for the holidays with garland, mistletoe, fruits and a Christmas tree in one room, a kind of mixture of old Dutch meets Victorian Christmas. Still the effects were nice and it was very festive.

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Mount Gulian’s Dining area decorated for the holidays in 2019

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The Dining Room decorated for Christmas in 2021

What I enjoyed is that in each room, there were stories of the Verplanck family and the role that they played in the formation of the community and in the nation as well.

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The Dining Room set for Christmas dinner in 2021

All of the rooms had artifacts that the family keeps donating the house as most of the original furnishings were destroyed in the 1931 fire. Still the furnishings are vintage to the time period.

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The entrance hall to Mount Gulian at Christmas in 2021

Here and there are stories of the house, the people that lived here and about the family in their daily lives. There were also stories of the Revolutionary War and its headquarters of Major General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. There was also a display on the founding of the Society of the Cincinnati, a Veterans group.

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The Order of Cincinnati at Mount Gulian

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The history of Mount Gulian and the surrounding area

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The history of Mount Gulian and the surrounding area

The downstairs was the kitchen area and was still set up for a Dutch Christmas. There was also an interactive game that the room was set for and the gift shop for the site is there as well.

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The Mount Gulian kitchen in 2019

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The kitchen decorated for Christmas in 2021

When I left the house, I visited the grounds over-looking the Hudson River. On the property behind the house was a ‘A frame’ Dutch barn. The barn was closed for the season but fit very well into the landscape of the estate. The view of the Hudson River was beautiful.

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The Dutch Barn at Mount Gulian

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The view to the Hudson River from the house in the Summer

I will have to visit again in the Spring when it opens in April. Because of COVID, I never returned to the house again until December 2021 where my aunt and I took a tour of the Christmas decorations.

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The grounds of Mount Gulian with a view of the Hudson River at Christmas 2021

What an interesting tour of the house, we started the talk on the porch where you would have received guests for the holidays. The house was so beautifully decorated for Christmas.

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My aunt waiting by the front door to be greeted on our tour

We went into the dining

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The foyer between the rooms and the back door were decorated to the hilt

We toured the Dining Room first and discussed what would have been served on a proper Victorian table for dinner on Christmas. Until the Victorian Age, things had been kept very simple. You would have decorated the house before Christmas Eve and then on Christmas Day, there would have been an afternoon church service and a nice lunch. Gift giving did not come into play until after the Civil War.

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The Victorian Age made things more elaborate

The Sitting Room was off to the side of the Dining Room and that was decorated as well with family heirlooms and a small library. There were also lots of family portraits of relatives.

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The Sitting Room was decorated with all sorts of garlands and wreathes

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The Sitting Room decorated for Christmas in 2021

The main room was decorated with the family’s coat of arms as well as the history of the house. Since this was a recreation of the original house that burned down in 1931, you got to see pictures of the house at all stages.

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The family portraits in the main room

We also toured the kitchen again where all the magic of the holidays was performed. There was an open hearth for cooking and a bake oven. This is where all the family meals would be produced and the weekly baking done for the family.

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The Colonial kitchen decorated for Christmas in 2021

Unlike most of the homes that line the Hudson River Valley, Mount Guilian looks more like a home than a country estate or a seasonal mansion. This was once a working farm with goods that would be sold down in New York City.

What was nice was at the end of the tour the tour guide had refreshments for us with cookies, small cakes and hot cider. It was a nice way to end the tour of the house. The tour guide and the three of us on the tour had visited so many homes in the past we ended up conversing about our experiences at other decorated houses and our time visiting them. It was a great way to start the Christmas holidays.

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We were served refreshments in the foyer after the tour.

Please check the website for times that the home will be open for touring.

Don’t miss visiting the downtowns of Beacon and Wappinger Falls while visiting the area. Taking Route 9D is an interesting and scenic way to tour the area.

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Downtown Beacon, NY at Christmas in 2021

History of Mount Gulian:

The land where the house stands was purchased by two fur traders Francis Rombout and Gulian Verplanck on August 8, 1683. In exchange for 85,000 acres of land, they paid about $1,250 in goods. The Rombout Patent which formally granted the land to Francis Rombout and Gulian Verplanck was issued by King James II of England on October 17, 1685. After Gulian Verplanck’s death, his estate was eventually divided among divided among his heirs. Julian Verplanck II, a merchant from New York City, received 2880 acres, 400 of which were on a slope overlooking the Hudson River.

He named his estate Mount Gulian, in honor of his grandfather and had the first house on the site built between 1730 and 1740. The building was a small structure with an a-roof. Archaeological evidence suggests it was probably enlarged around 1767 and the characteristic gambrel roof as well as two porches were added between this year and the American Revolutionary War.

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Mount Gulian in an early picture

The Revolutionary War years:

During the war, Gulian Verplanck’s son Samuel stayed at the house, while his wife, Judith Commerlin remained at the family mansion at 3 Wall Street in Manhattan. In early 1783, Major General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben made Mount Gulian his headquarters. At the same time, George Washington had his headquarters in Hasbrouck House, Newburgh on the opposite side of the Hudson River.

On the morning of May 13, 1783, a group of officers of the Continental Army met at Mount Gulian to found the Society of the Cincinnati. Mount Gulian is headquarters of the Society’s New York State branch. The building was extended by in 1804 by Daniel Crommelin Verplanck, the grandson of Gulian Verplanck II, who also laid out the garden. When Marquis de Lafayette visited the house on his return to America in 1824, he stayed in the new addition.

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The Gardens of Mount Gulian at Christmas in 2021

In 1803, upon the death of Judith Commerlin Verplanck, the family mansion at 3 Wall Street was closed and much of its furnishings moved to Mount Gulian. In 1849, construction of the Hudson River Railroad cut off access to the Verplanck boat and bathhouse at the end of the property at the shoreline.

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The view to Hudson River from Mount Gulian

The Restoration of the House:

The original mansion was destroyed in a fire laid by an arsonist in 1931. After this, the house laid in ruin and was left unattended until 1966, when Bache Bleecker, a descendant of the Verplanck family and his wife, Connie, founded the Mount Gulian Society, as a nonprofit private organization. The goal reconstructed the house to the state it was when it served as von Steuben’s headquarters. The interior contains artifacts related to the Verplanck family. The 18 century Dutch barn was moved here as well.

(This information came from Wiki and I give them full credit for the information)

History of the Verplanck Family:

Mount Gulian is the Hudson Valley colonial homestead of the Verplanck family. Between 1633 and 1638, a Dutch entrepreneur named Abraham Isaac Verplanck arrived in New Netherlands Colony (now New York and New Jersey) from Holland. He originally came to purchase land for a farming settlement and trading post.

The trading post would enable him to trade Dutch goods with the local Native Americans in exchange for beaver and other furs, Indian tobacco and trade goods that were rare in Europe. New Amsterdam was a thriving port and frontier town, filled with Dutch settlers, Indians and traders from all over Europe, Africans, both freemen and slaves, as well as French Huguenots seeking to escape from religious persecution in Europe and Jews fleeing the Inquisition in South American came to a relatively tolerant and busy New Amsterdam.

Abraham Issac Verplanck settled in the growing city and became a prosperous businessman. he married Maria Vigne Roos by 1635, they had Abigail and Gulian (Gulyn is Old Dutch for William), Catalyna, Isaak, Sussanna, Jacomyntje, Ariaentje, Hillegond and Isaak II Issak II moved to Albany and established the Verplanck line in that city, which exists today.

In 1664, an English nave appeared off the coast of New Amsterdam and demanded the city’s surrender. The Dutch surrendered their colony, swore loyalty to the British Crown and saw the city renamed New York. The Verplanck’s spoke Dutch but were now English citizens. By the 1680’s, Gulian Verplanck was sailing up the Hudson River looking for land to increase his wealth.

In 1683, with partners Francis Rombout and Stephanus Van Cortlandt, Gulian Verplanck bought 85,000 acres of land from the local Wappinger Indians for approximately $1200 worth of goods. About 75 miles north of Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River for miles and going inland into rich meadows and forests, encompassing nearly one-seventh of modern Dutchess County, NY in today’s Fishkill-Beacon area, the purchase was quite a bargain. In 1685, the Deed of Sale was approved by King James II of England and is known as the Rombout Patent.

For the next forty-five years, Verplanck, Rombout and various partners and heirs sub-divided, sold off and rented portions of this huge tract of land, while logging, hunting and planting crops on the land.

During the English colonial period, the Verplanck’s became quite prosperous and built a fine home on Wall Street in Manhattan. The Verplanck’s were civic minded and participated in the development of the business and banking industry in New York City and were among the Trustees of Kings College, now known as Columbia University. Around 1730, a colonial-style fieldstone house was built in Fishkill Landing on the Rombout Patent land.

This rough frontier home was gradually surrounded by a working plantation, a dock on the Hudson that facilitated the New York-Kingston-Albany trade and many service buildings for servants and crop production. This homestead was called “Mount Gulian”, and it was used as a summer retreat for the family and a working plantation but it is not believed that any family member lived at the site year-round until the early 1800’s. Other Verplancks at this time lived in Albany and Verplanck Point in Westchester County, NY.

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The hallway and Dining Room decorating for Christmas 2021

The Verplancks were prominent citizens in colonial New York while maintaining correspondence with their Dutch relatives in Holland. Young Samuel Verplanck was fortunate enough to take “the grande tour” of Europe in 1761. As businessmen of that era, it must be noted that the Verplancks of Manhattan and Mount Gulian owned slaves during the mid-1700’s and into the early 1800’s, most likely house servants and skilled laborers.

Before the Revolutionary War, Samuel Verplanck became involved with anti-British groups and joined “the Committee of Safety of One -Hundred” in Manhattan. This patriot group was poised to take over the city in the event of rebellion, which occurred on April 19, 1775 at Lexington & Concord.

Later during the War for Independence, Verplanck turned over Mount Gulian to the Continental Army because of its strategic location on the Hudson near the Fishkill Barracks and across from Washington’s Headquarters at Newburgh. In late 1782, through the summer of 1783, Mount Gulian was the Continental Army headquarters of patriot General Fredrich Von Steuben. After the American victory at Yorktown, upon learning of the Treaty of Paris, General Von Steuben and other Chief American officers created at Mount Gulian on May 13, 1783, the Society of the Cincinnati, America’s first veterans’ fraternal organization.

In 1804, Daniel Crommelin Verplanck, a member of Congress moved from Manhattan to permanently occupy the home at Mount Gulian, which underwent extensive expansion with the addition of a large frame house attached to the original homestead. An ornamental “English Garden”, all the rage in Europe at the time, was laid out by him and his daughter, Mary Anna to supplement the 6 acres “kitchen garden” and the fields filled with salable crops. More permanent structures were built on the property, still thousands of acres, including barns, smokehouses, storage buildings and structures to facilitate brick making from clay taken from the Hudson.

The Verplanck family grew and eventually married into many prominent families in New York such as the Schuyler’s, the Johnsons, the Delancey’s and the Bleecker’s. Daniel’s son, Gulian C. Verplanck, also a member of Congress, ran for Mayor of New York in 1834, losing what many believe was a fixed election. Other Verplancks were judges, businessmen and wealthy farmers.

With slavery abolished in New York in 1827, the conservative Verplancks, along with many upper-class Northerners, gradually sided with the abolitionists, even hiring and assisting James Brown, an escaped slave who worked for the family for forty years. Brown’s diaries, written at Mount Gulian, provide a detailed record of daily life there.

During the Civil War, Robert Newlin Verplanck volunteered in the Union Army’s United States Colored Troops, training and fighting alongside black troops until the victory at Appomattox. His battlefield letters to his mother and sister have been preserved by Mount Gulian.

The Victorian era at Mount Gulian was a grand time, as the family associated with the local Livingstons, Roosevelts and Vanderbilts. Many Verplancks achieved fame in the professions, in arts and letters and as sportsmen. Verplanck Colvin was a topographical engineer who extensively surveyed the Adirondacks. Virginia E. Verplanck was a celebrated gardener and hostess. John Bayard Verplanck was an early seaplane flyer, racing World War I era veteran and banker.

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The history of the area around Mount Gulian

Mount Gulian was occupied by the Verplancks until 1931, when the house was destroyed by fire. Many of the furnishings and valuable were saved by family members, neighbors and firemen who cleared the house before it was fully engulfed. Prior to the American Bicentennial of 1976, Mount Gulian was beautifully restored with the assistance of Verplanck descendants, local history lovers and members of the Society of the Cincinnati. In 1998, Mount Gulian sponsored a well-attended family reunion, which included an updated version of the family genealogy book originally from 1892. Today Ms. Charlotte Verplanck Willman is one of the Mount Gulian Historic Site’s Board of Trustees.

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The Order of Cincinnati

(This information was taken from the Mount Gulian Society website and I give them full credit for the information.)

Bannerman Island Castle                                     POB 843                                                       Glenham, NY 12527

Bannerman Island Castle POB 843 Glenham, NY 12527

I recently visited Bannerman Island (Pollepel Island) just outside of Beacon, New York on a cool cloudy day and I highly recommend the twenty minute boat trip to this mysterious and scenic island. The only way to visit the island is by boat or kayak and the ride is very quick depending on the weather and the waves on the Hudson River.

Once you get to the island, you are greeted by the tour guide and then have to walk up 74 steps from the harbor to the ridge of the island so this is NOT ADA compliant.  At the top of the stairs starts the path around the island. Our tour guide that lead the tour had been there since the tours started in 2004 and gave us many insights on the history of the island and its purpose to the Bannerman family.

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Bannerman Island

Our first stop was the Bannerman Munitions Storage facilities that were in the form of a castle that can be seen from the rail system up to Poughkeepsie, NY. For years I thought (as most people do) that this was a home but it was the Bannerman Munitions Warehouse for all the Army surplus items that Mr. Bannerman had brought up here from New York City. All the Military items were stored up here and the orders were fulfilled from this island.

The company has not been in business since the early 60’s and when the children of the founder closed the company after the laws in the Federal Government changed to where private citizens could not sell explosive, it put a damper into operations. In 1967, the storage buildings were destroyed by fire and the compound was a shell of the former factory. The home was also abandoned at the top of the ridge when the family sold the island.

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The Bannerman Island Munitions Storage Facility

Once you leave the former storage facility which is now being held up by stilts because the structure is so weak, you will proceed up the path past the formal gardens that are planted along the trail. The local garden clubs now come to the island to replant Mrs. Bannerman’s formal gardens and beautify the island.

At the top of the point, there is the former home of the Bannerman family that is currently under renovation. It houses a quick tour of the family and there is a small gift shop inside. The porch area has the most amazing views of the Hudson River and the surrounding mountains. Here the Friends of Bannerman Island show movies in the warmer months and hold plays just outside the home. The last movie had been “Abbott and Costello Meet the Frankenstein”, which had been sold out according to the tour guide.

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The Bannerman House and Gardens

As you exit the tour, you will be heading down another flight of stairs to go back to the harbor. Please watch out for poison ivy! It is all over the place. Then it is back on the boat to the Beacon harbor. The tour guide gives you plenty of time to take pictures.

The tours are finished at the end of October and will reopen again in the Spring. You must book on line for the tours through the State website and the boats only hold 44 people so be sure to book in advance of when you want to go.

I had lucked out in that three people did not show up for the 2:00pm tour and I was able to pay cash for the trip.

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For the views alone it is well worth the trip.

 

History of Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island:

Bannerman Castle was built from 1901-1918 by Frank Bannerman IV as a warehouse to store his collection of antique military equipment from the Spanish American and Civil Wars. Bannerman was the father of the Army Navy Store. His  world famous catalogue of military equipment became the “go to” source for collectors.

The island housed seven structures that formed the Scottish baronial castle, including workers apartments, a summer residence and beautiful trails and gardens.

A great fire in 1969 destroyed the interiors and left the shells you see today. Bannerman island opened for tours in 2004.

 

History of Francis Bannerman VI:

Francis Bannerman VI was born on March 24th, 1851 in Northern Ireland and emigrated to the United States in 1854. The family moved to Brooklyn, NY and began a military surplus business by the Brooklyn Navy Yard purchasing army surplus after the Civil War. The family continued to grow the business by buying weapons directly from the Spanish Government before it evacuated Cuba and then purchased 90% of the munitions auctioned off by the Federal Government that had been capture by American forces at the close of the Spanish-American War.

The family bought the island in 1900 to store the surplus items to their growing business. The warehouse in New York was too small and too dangerous to keep in the City anymore and they could keep their inventory isolated on the island.

The castle was visible from the water and had a giant advertisement sign right on the arsenal “Bannerman’s Island Arsenal” created into the wall of the building. With the change in federal and state laws on selling military weapons and the sinking of the ferryboat that served the island by 1950, the island was abandoned. The island and its buildings were bought by New York State in 1967 and is now run by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

(This information is a combination from Wiki and the island pamphlet)

 

Dia: Beacon                                                               3 Beekman Street                                           Beacon, NY 12508

Dia: Beacon 3 Beekman Street Beacon, NY 12508

Dia: Beacon

3 Beekman Street

Beacon, NY  12508

(845) 440-0100

https://www.diaart.org/visit/visit/diabeacon-beacon-united-states

https://www.diaart.org/visit/visit

Open: Sunday & Monday 11:00am-6:00pm/ Closed Tuesday & Wednesday/Thursday-Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm

Fee: General Admission $15.00/Seniors & Students $12.00/Children Free under 12

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47291-d273538-Reviews-Dia_Beacon-Beacon_New_York.html?m=19905

 

I visited the Dia: Beacon in Beacon, NY today and I have to say that is an interesting space.  The museum is sited on thirty-one acres on the banks of the Hudson River and is adjacent to ninety acres of riverfront parkland. The museum is located in a former printing plant built in 1929 by Nabisco (National Biscuit Company) (Wiki).

The Dia: Beacon presents Dia Art Foundation’s collection of art from the 1960’s to the present as well as special exhibitions, performances and public programs. The Dia invited artist Robert Irwin to conceive the master plan for a twenty-century museum that retained the original character of the factory’s interior spaces, Irwin also designed seasonally changing garden throughout the surrounding landscape. Following the renovation, the Dia: Beacon was added to the National Register of Historic Places (Dia: Beacon Museum).

Dia Art Foundation:

Founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is committed to advancing, realizing and preserving the vision of artists. In addition to Dia: Beacon, Dia maintains a constellation of iconic, permanent artworks and installations in New York City, the American West and Germany (Dia Museum).

Some of the Art work in the Museum:

The one thing about the Dia is that the works are quite large and pack a bold statement.  John Chamberlain created interesting works with the bodies of mangled cars and each one on the first floor galleries. The whole gallery looks one giant automobile accident.

Dia Beacon I

The Chamberlain Gallery

Louise Bourgeois has displayed some interesting sculptures that dominate the upper floors. One of the most fascinating pieces was that of a large spider that dominates the corner of the floor.

Dia Beacon II

This is a rather creepy piece of art like something out of the movie “It”.

Artist Dan Flavin has some interesting light sculptures on display along the walls and floors of the gallery. Things are made of long fluorescent lights of various colors.

Dia IV

Artist Dan Flavin’s light sculptures

In the main gallery as you walk in are the large geometric shapes of artist Charlotte Posenenske who created these pieces in various colors and shapes. These pieces line the floors and walls.

Dia III

The geometric shapes of artist Charlotte Posenenske

 

Each of the galleries are devoted one artist’s work and these galleries make their own statements. There is also a really nice bookstore and gift shop on the extension of the museum and small restaurant.

It is nice to just walk around in your own time and visit each of the galleries. Plan about two hours to see the whole museum. It is an interesting place to see contemporary art in a gallery that is devoted to one artist at a time.

Dia

The outside grounds of the museum and the parking lot makes it own statement. There is not much parking so plan on getting there early or later in the afternoon.