Tag: Exploring the Hudson River Valley at Christmas

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.)

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside                              3 West Sunnyside Lane                              Irvington, NY 10533

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside 3 West Sunnyside Lane Irvington, NY 10533

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside

3 West Sunnyside Lane

Irvington, NY  10533

(914) 591-8763

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside

Admission: Please see their website

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48720-d3680157-Reviews-Sunnyside-Tarrytown_New_York.html?m=19905

Washington Irving’s home, Sunnyside is open during the warmer months of the year, closing at the end of October. The house looks like a enchanted cottage with almost a fairy like appearance right on the banks of the Hudson River with the most spectacular views of the river valley and the Tappan Zee Bridge in the distance.

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Sunnyside at the end of the summer

The house was designed by architect George Harvey and reflects the Dutch Colonial Revival, Scottish Gothic and Tudor Revival influences with wisteria growing up and around it and a jagged crow stepped gable.

When walking through the home, you will see the study where Washington Irving conducted the business of the house and did his writing. To the other side of the house, you will see the living room and small dining room where the family used to entertain. The upstairs contains small bedrooms where Washington Irving, his brother, Ebeneezer and his five nieces lived on and off when they were living at the house. Washington’s brother’s business had failed and the family came to live with him. Two of the nieces never married and ran the home for their uncle.

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The bedroom at Sunnyside

The house is nicely furnished in the most modern decor of its time but is not an elaborate house. It is a home and not a weekend mansion and this ten acre estate was a once a  working farm. In the back of the house, there is an ice house and a barn show where the people who worked on the estate kept the house running.

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The study of Washington Irving

The view of the river is one of the most spectacular in the Hudson River Valley as its at the widest part of the Hudson River. You can see the cliffs of New Jersey on the other side with views of Nyack and the Tappan Zee Bridge in the background.

During the Fall season there are all sorts of activities going on at the estate and the tours are a very interesting look at life at that time.

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The Sunnyside Kitchen

The History of Sunnyside:

The estate was once the home of Wolfert Acker called Wolfert’s Roost and was part of the Manor of Philipsburg and this home was once a simple two room stone tenant farmhouse built around 1690.

The property came into the hands of the Van Tassel family, who were married into the Eckert family and owned it until 1802. That year, 150 acres were deeded to the family of Benson Ferris, one time clerk of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, whose wife, Maria Acker, was a descendant of Wolfert Acker’s.

In 1832, Washington Irving visited his nephew, Oscar Irving, who lived near the old stone farmhouse and was looking for a home at the time. He purchased the property on June 7, 1835 and would add to the property.

Irving wrote a story, “Wolfert’s Roost”, about Acker and the site. In a letter to his brother Peter, he described it as “a beautiful spot, capable of being made a little paradise…I have had an architect up there and shall build upon the old mansion this summer. My idea is to make a little nookery somewhat in the Dutch style, quaint but unpretending. It will be of stone.” He asked his neighbor to help him remodel the house and landscape the grounds in Romantic style adding a brook and waterfall.

The house became a major spot of people visiting the area to meet the author. In 1842, he was appointed to be the Ambassador of Spain and left the estate in the care of his brother and four daughters. He returned in 1846 and added to the home the ‘Spanish Tower” in 1847. This added four more bedrooms to the home.

Irving died in the house in 1859 of a heart attack at age 76.

The house was purchased from Lousi Irving by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and was restored for historic preservation. It was opened to the public in 1947.

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt (Springwood)-National Historic Site                                        4097 Albany Post Road                                     Hyde Park, NY 12538

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt (Springwood)-National Historic Site 4097 Albany Post Road Hyde Park, NY 12538

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt (Springwood)-National Historic Site

4097 Albany Post Road

Hyde Park, NY  12538

(845) 229-9115

http://www.nps.gov/hofr

https://www.nps.gov/hofr/index.htm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60801-d106611-Reviews-Franklin_Delano_Roosevelt_Home-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

I have visited the childhood home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt many times over the years. It is an interesting part of not just Hudson River Valley history but of American history.

Parts of the house were built in the late 1700’s and added on later by the families who lived in the house. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s father bought the house and continued to add on to it. Most of the estate is still intact as well as the homes that the President built separate from the main house to give he and his wife some privacy from his mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, who owned the home until her death.

Visiting Springwood is like a step back in time. Unlike the grand mansions of the Mill’s and Vanderbilt’s up and down Route 9, Springwood looks more like a home just on a larger scale. The self-guided tour takes you through the first story of the house which includes the dining room, living room, sitting rooms and offices of the President and of his mother, who ran the staff and the household.

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The inside of Springwood

The house is done in dark woods, representing a time before the Victorian age when the Federalist look was in and the later additions represent the trends in Victorian style. The furnishings were functional and very homey not like the elaborate ‘over the top’ furnishes in some of the other mansions. The Roosevelt’s were old money Hudson River Valley compared to the Vanderbilt’s who money was earned after the Civil War and did not have to prove themselves to Upper Crust Society.

I was impressed with the amount of sporting goods, stuffed animal species and just the general hominess of the house. It looked like someone still lived there. The downstairs area for the servants and the kitchen are functional and not huge. This is a house that was built for a family and for entertainment but not on the scale of the Astor’s or Vanderbilt’s. It ran for a growing family that lived in the house.

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The inside of Springwood

Even the upstairs bedrooms looked like any other American home at the time but a touch bigger. I could see by Eleanor’s room that she did not spend much time there. You can see where the adjustments were made when the President developed polio. I am glad that the man showed determination and did not let that stop him in his life. It proved to me that a disability limits you only if you let it.

The grounds were interesting. The formal rose gardens are beautiful when in season and the estate does have views of the river. On the grounds of the estate as well is the Presidential Library, Museum and the grave sites of the President and his wife, Eleanor.

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The Springwood Estate

The only problem we faced on our recent visit to the house was that a sweltering heat wave hit the Valley and the humidity hit 98 degrees. The house was boiling hot because they could not open the windows for fresh air and the whole house smelled musty and old. That is the bad part of all that wood trimming and paneling, it does smell when it is hot.

At the holidays when I visited in 2019, the house was going to be closed in April of 2020 for a full restoration and renovation of the lights, interior alarms and plumbing for about a year so the only Christmas decorations in the house was a tree in the library (the books had started to be removed from the shelves) and the formal dining room had been set for dinner. The rest of the mansion was in the process of being packed up.

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Springwood at Christmastime

Still the ranger talked about the history of the house and the role it played not just with the government influence during WWII but at the holidays and how Sara Delano Roosevelt had influence on her family.

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The Dining Room set for dinner

Still it was an interesting tour that takes about 45 minutes and is an important part of the foundation of a very important family.

History of FDR at Springwood:

Franklin’s father, James Roosevelt purchased the 110 acre estate in 1867 for $40,000. The property included a house overlooking the Hudson River and a working farm. FDR was born in the house on January 30, 1882, the only child of Sara and James Roosevelt. Growing up with a view of the majestic Hudson River, he developed a love of the river and the valley through which it flowed. By age eight, he was sailing the Hudson. As a young adult, racing his ice yacht “Hawk” was a favorite winter pastime.

Franklin accompanied his father on daily horseback rides. During these times, he became immersed in the land, its history and particularly the trees. In later years, he expanded his parents’ land holding to nearly 1,500 acres and planted over half a million trees. His interest in tree farming translated into a New Deal program, the Civilian Conservative Corps (CCC). The CCC provided jobs to unemployed men age 17-28. Over 10 years, enrollees planted over three billion trees and built over 800 parks nationwide.

Surrounded by the rich agricultural heritage of the Hudson Valley all his life, FDR felt a strong affinity with farmers. One of the first New Deal programs instituted during the Great Depression, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, was designed to help farmers retain their land. His subsistence homestead projects relocated poverty-stricken families into government subsidized rural communities that provided decent housing, cooperative work and farming and schools.

When Franklin Roosevelt married Eleanor Roosevelt in 1905, they resided in both at Hyde Park and their New York townhouse. Franklin and Eleanor had six children, one who died in infancy. FDR supervised the expansion and redesign of the house to accommodate his growing family and his political ambitions, ensuring it reflected the Dutch Colonial architecture of the Hudson Valley.

FDR contracted polio in 1921 and was paralyzed from the waist down. He held out hope for a cure but was never able to walk again unaided. The multi-level home was adapted to his needs with ramps along the short steps. The trunk lift, installed years before the onset of FDR’s polio became his transportation to the second floor.

In 1932, FDR was elected to the first of an unprecedented four terms as President of the United States. His presidency redefined the role of government in America, establishing programs designed to improve the lives of all Americans. These programs included Social Security, the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation, the Securities & Exchange Commission, the establishment of minimum wage and unemployment insurance.

During his 12 years as President, FDR led the nation through an economic crisis of enormous proportions and the Second World War. He continually returned to this home  he loved, seeking strength and relaxation. He entertained foreign dignitaries here including British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. In the small study, FDR and Churchill initiated a document known as the “Hyde Park Aide Memoire”, that outlined possible future uses of the atomic bomb.

On the afternoon of April 12, 1945, FDR died from a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, GA. He was laid to rest on April 15th in the rose garden here. One year after his death on April 12, 1946, the home was opened to the public. At the dedication, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “I think Franklin realized that people would understand the rest and peace and strength which he gained here and perhaps go away with some sense of healing and courage themselves.”

(Home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Historic Site pamphlet)

History of the Springwood:

The estate was part of the 1697 agreement of the English Crown that gave 220 square miles to a group of nine businessmen from New York City. To ensure that everyone had access to the river, the land was divided into “Water Lots”, one of which was deeded to William  Creed, one of the nine partners.

The central part of Springwood is believed to have been formed from a large farmhouse which was constructed around the year 1800 in the Federal style. In 1845, the estate was purchased by Josiah Wheeler, a merchant from New York City. Wheeler undertook a remodeling of the house, giving it a then fashionable Italianate style with a three story town at the south end as well as front and rear piazzas spanning the entire length of the house.

In 1866, the estate which has been reduced to one square mile, James Roosevelt bought the house and expanded the main house adding the servants wing, two more rooms and the carriage house. James Roosevelt passed away in 1900.

In 1915, FDR and his mother, Sara made the final additions and renovations to the house for the growing family and for entertaining political and family friends. Sara Roosevelt used the New York firm of Hoppin & Koen and doubled the size of the house by adding two large fieldstone wings (designed by FDR), a tower and a third story with a flat roof. The clapboard exterior of the house was replaced by stucco and most of the porch was replaced with a fieldstone terrace  with a balustrade and a small columned portico around the entrance. The inside layout of the house was redesigned also to accommodate FDR’s growing collections of books, paintings, stamps and coins.

The grounds were also changed with the planting of almost 400,000 trees all over the estate in a thirty year period. Today large portions  of the estate have been turned over to the Forestry Department of Syracuse University.

(Wiki)

Disclaimer: The history of the Springwood and of FDR are living there was taken from Wiki writings and the pamphlet of The Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Site and I give their writers full credit for the information. Please see the attachments from the National Park site for more information.

Martin Van Buren National Historic Site-Lindenwald-Martin Van Buren Home               1013 Old Post Road                                 Kinderhook, NY 12106

Martin Van Buren National Historic Site-Lindenwald-Martin Van Buren Home 1013 Old Post Road Kinderhook, NY 12106

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

https://www.nps.gov/mava/index.htm

https://www.nps.gov/mava/planyourvisit/index.htm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60899-d105846-Reviews-Martin_Van_Buren_National_Historic_Site-Kinderhook_New_York.html?m=19905

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.

Martin Van Buren

President Martin Van Buren

https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/martin-van-buren/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Van_Buren

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 barkeeper’s 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.

Lindenwald Estate

Lindenwald’s Dining Room

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)

Lindenwald House:

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.

Kinderhook

Lindenwald Estate

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 donjon 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.

Lindenwald Estate III

The pallor at Lindenwald

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.

Lindenwald Estate II

The Living Room at Lindenwald

After the death of President Van Buren the house was sold several times.

(Lindenwald-Wiki)