I have visited the Philipsburg Manor House and Estate many times over the years. During the “Headless Horseman” Halloween activities, the house is open for tours. You are able to tour the rooms and see the home in a spooky environment. The house was lit by candles and the tour guides lead you through the house.
During a special event at the holidays, the house had seasonal decorations, lit by a combination candles and open hearth fires in the fireplace and tour guides explained a Colonial holiday season.
The Manor House as it was explained to me was a place where the Philipse family stayed when they were away from the main family mansion and was doing business on the estate. So the home was comfortable and workable and functional but not luxurious as the main manor house where the family lived. The kitchen, common room and bedrooms were nicely furnished at the time for the owners visits but was not elegant in the form of the main manor house. This was full working estate at all times. The Mill is located near the manor house and their are walking paths around the house.
During the Halloween season, both Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow are busy with activities with readings, cemetery tours, ‘haunted events’ and other activities. Please check out the Historic Hudson Valley website for the roster of events. Things have changed since the era of COVID.
The History of the Philipsburg Manor House:
(WIKI/Historic Hudson River Valley Society)
The Philipsburg Manor House is an historic house in the Upper Mills Section of the former sprawling Colonial-era estate known as Philipsburg Manor. Together with the water mill and the trading site the house is operated bas a non-profit museum by the Historical Hudson River Valley. It is located on US 9 in the Village of Sleepy Hollow, NY. (Wiki)
The Philipsburg Manor House and Mill area of the estate
The Manor House dates from 1693 when wealthy Province of New York merchant Frederick Philipse was granted a charter for 52,00 acres along the Hudson River by the British Crown. He built this facility at the meeting of the Pocantico and Hudson Rivers as a provisioning depot for the family Atlantic sea trade and as headquarters for a worldwide shipping operation. For more than thirty years, Frederick and his wife, Margaret and later his son Adolph shipped hundreds of African men, women and children as slaves across the Atlantic. The manor was tenanted by farmers of various European backgrounds and operated by enslaved Africans (Wiki).
The working kitchen at the Philipsburg Manor house
At the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, the Philipses supported the British Crown and their landholdings were seized and auctioned off. The manor house was used during the war, most notably by British General Sir Henry Clinton during the militaries in 1779. It was there that he wrote what is know as the Philipsburg Proclamation, which declared all Patriot-owned slaves to be freed and that blacks taken prisoner while serving in Patriot forces would be sold in slavery (Wiki/Hudson River Valley History).
The reproduction of the bedroom in Philipsburg Manor when the family stayed in house
A National Historic Landmark in 1961, the farm features a stone manor house filled with a collection of 17th and 18th Century period furnishings, a working water-powered grist mill and millpond, an 18 century barn, a slave garden and reconstructed tenant farm house (Wiki/Hudson River Valley History).
During the season when the estate is open for visitors, there are costumed interpreters who reenact life in pre-Revolutionary War times doing various chores around the estate. During the Halloween season, the home is open for haunted tours of the manor during the “Headless Horseman” event. During the Christmas holiday season, the home is open for seasonal activities. Please check the website during COVID for activities (Historic Hudson River Valley).
I was recently travelling through Saugerties, New York recently and saw the small sign for the historical Saugerties Lighthouse and decided to take the road path down to the river. This interesting little site is hidden behind a wetlands area and neighborhood of homes and a Coast Guard station.
The Historical Saugerties Lighthouse in Saugerties, NY
I walked through the wetlands park through a pathway of bridges and paths and suggest by the walk do not go after it has just rained. Also do not go after dark as the path is not lite. Still it is fascinating walk through the wetlands passing streams and patches of beautiful flowers and trees. Take your time to admire the flowers and plants along the paths and look at the views of the river as you exit the paths.
The lighthouse itself needs some work but it is elegant old building that sits stately against the mountain views. In the middle of the summer, all the colors are bright and vibrant. You can walk around most of the building but the walkway in the front offers a nice view of the whole structure.
The only way to go inside is to book a room at the B & B so check the website out.
The History of the Saugerties Lighthouse:
(From the Friends of the Saugerties Lighthouse)
The lighthouse was practically a pile of crumbling bricks poised to tumble into the Hudson River, the Saugerties Lighthouse barely escaped the demolition ball in the 1960’s. Today, completely renovated and delighting B & B guests, it stands as a testament to the perseverance and hard work of many dedicated individuals.
The name Saugerties is derived from the Dutch “Zager’s Killetje”, meaning a sawmill on a creek and in fact, there was a mill built on Esopus Creek to harness the creek’s waterpower. The mill formed the cornerstone of a thriving paper industry, which produced as much as eight tons of paper daily, making it one of the leading producers of paper in the 1800’s.
On June 30, 1834, Congress appropriated $5000 for the construction of a lighthouse at the mouth of the creek to guide mariners past the nearby shallows and into Esopus Creek and the busy port of Saugerties. Charles Hooster built the lighthouse on a forty by fifty foot timber-framed pier and its light, produced by five whale oil lamps set in parabolic reflectors, commenced operation in 1835 with Abraham Persons as its first keeper.
A fire in 1848 destroyed the original lighthouse but it was rebuilt on the old site by 1850 at which time four lamps were being displayed from atop the two-story structure. Light lists described the second lighthouse as a “light on keeper’s house.” A sixth-order Fresnel lens replaced the array of lamps and reflectors in the lantern room in 1854.
Ice floes and tidal currents took their toll on the foundation pier and on March 2, 1867, Congress appropriated $25,000 to build a replacement lighthouse just a few yards closer to the shore. This structure, still standing today, was built on a circular granite crib, with a depth of twelve foot and a diameter of sixty feet that rests on fifty-six pilings sunk into the riverbed and topped with three layers of six-inch timbers. The two story lighthouse has twenty-inch thick natural colored brick cavity walls and a sixth-order Fresnel lens cast its beacon from the lantern room. No longer needed, the old wooden lighthouse was sold.
Saugerties Lighthouse was considered a plum assignment due to its proximity to town. In 1888, Saugtegies Harbor was enlarged through the construction of jetties and the keeper’s jaunt to town was made easier when a small road was built along the north jetty to the lighthouse.
The lightkeepers were friendly with their neighbors and even enlisted their help. A neighbor downriver would hand a bed sheet out their window whenever they saw the lighthouse tender coming upriver, giving the lightkeeper about a half-hour notice before the inspector arrived.
Daniel Crowley was serving as keeper of the light when the current brick lighthouse was built. He had been placed in charge of the light in 1865, replacing his father Dennis, who was removed from service after just three months. Daniel’s sister, Katie, grew up at the lighthouse and seemed to be amphibious. She would often venture out into the river along in a skiff and when her little craft was upset, there were no worries as she could swim like a duck. Katie was made the official keeper of the light in 1873 and her lack of fear of the water lead to some remarkable rescues.
Around the turn of the century, the boathouse, located atop the foundation of the first lighthouse, a small island east of the current lighthouse was moved to the circular lighthouse pier. In 1910, a wooden platform was extended from the top of the tower to support a fog bell and an enclosed shaft was mounted below the platform to protect the suspended weights that powered the bell striking mechanism.
Conrad Hawk’s twenty-six year stint as keeper, lasting from 1914 to 1940 was far longer than that of any other keeper of Saugerties Lighthouse. In 1916, his son Earl and daughter Ilal were playing with a small battery and brought it into contact with the large battery used for the station’s fog bell. The resulting short-circuit caused an explosion that blew the battery to pieces, cutting Ilal’s face and produced a current that burned Earl’s arms. Earl nearly lost a big toe in 1922 when his foot came into contact with a boat’s propeller as he tried to climb aboard while swimming near the lighthouse.
Through they both had a few scars, Earl and Ilah survived at Saugerties Lighthouse. Earl Hawk graduated from the Navy’s school at Annapolis and entered the submarine service, while Ilal attended Cortland State teacher’s College and became a physical education instructor. Just before Christmas in 1939, Keeper Hawk’s went to the hospital to receive treatment for stomach ulcers but the treatments failed and he passed away on January 8th, 1940.
When electricity was extended to the lighthouse in the 1940’s, the dwelling was “modernized” with steam heat, plumbing and a telephone. In February 1954, Keeper Ed Pastorini was informed his light would be automated come spring. Wanting to leave the station in tip-top shape, he lovingly painted the three large upstairs bedrooms. Tears flooded his eyes when he closed the door and left the lighthouse for the last time.
The Historic Saugerties Lighthouse in all its beauty
The lighthouse tender soon arrived and its crew tore out the plumbing, furnace and fixtures. In stark contrast to Keeper Pastorini’s care, gallons of water were drained out on the floors and left to soak through the floorboards. The building was sealed up and left to deteriorate which it did quickly.
A decade later, the Coast Guard planned to demolish the vandalized and dilapidated lighthouse, when it stepped Ruth Reynolds Glunt, wife of Chester B. Glunt, a former Coast Guard light attendant stationed at Turkey Point near Saugerties. Mrs. Glunt a longtime friend of many lighthouse keepers along the Hudson River, carried a passion for saving lighthouse and mounted a campaign to halt the demolition. Through her efforts and those of architect Elise Barry, the structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
The Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy was established in 1985 with the mission to restore and maintain the lighthouse and the following year the conservancy was able to purchase the lighthouse and surrounding wetlands for $1.00. The conservancy received a building on the verge of tumbling down but managed in just a few years to turn it into a beautifully restored lighthouse.
Roughly 10,000 old bricks, which had crumbling after being penetrated by moisture, were replaced. The lantern room was removed and refurbished. Stairs, handrails, floors and walls were completely reconstructed. To top of the transformation, a solar powered light installed in the lantern room by the Coast Guard was activated on August 4th, 1990.
Saugerties Lighthouse furnished in 1920’s decor is now open to the public and welcomes overnight guests as a bed and breakfast. Visitors can walk to the lighthouse along a one half mile long through the Ruth Reynolds Glunt Nature Preserve, where they will be greeted by a modern day resident keeper who runs the bed and breakfast and maintains the lighthouse.
A big thank you to the Friends of the Saugerties Lighthouse for their dedication in this important site
*This is just a portion of the blog from the Friends of Saugerties Lighthouse. Please see the attached website for more information.
I was in Upstate New York visiting Cooperstown to see the Baseball Hall of Fame and when I finished, I travelled up the road to see the Fenimore Art Museum. What an unique museum packed with interesting art from all aspects of the medium.
The middle level of the museum specialized in early American works and paintings from the Hudson River School. Across the hall was the history of the Cooper family who once owned all the land in the area, developed it to the town known as Cooperstown as a planned community.
The collection dedicated to the Cooper family
The lower level was dedicated to the Thaw Collection of American Indian Art which was pretty extensive. I liked the collection of spiritual masks that could scare away any evil spirit. The collection of small dolls and icons makes you wonder how they if ever captured any spirits. Their collection of clothing was interesting too.
The Thaw Collection
The upper floor was dedicated to a visiting exhibition of block printing by artist ‘Albrecht Durer’ and the lower level featured the photos of the ‘Blue Garden’ by photographers Gross and Daley. ‘Peter Souza’, the photographer of President Obama and President Reagan, showed the contrasts and comparisons of the two presidents. There was a lot to see in one day.
One of the photo’s from the “Blue Gardens” exhibition
The History of the Fenimore Art Museum:
The Fenimore Art Museum originated as the New York State Historical Association, founded in 1899 by New Yorkers who were interested in promoting greater knowledge of the early of the state. They hoped to encourage original research, to educate general audiences by means of lectures and publications to mark places of historic interest with tablets or signs and to start a library and museum to hold manuscripts, paintings and objects associated with the history of the state.
The Fenimore Art Museum
In 1939, Stephen Carlton Clark, offered the organization a new home in the village of Cooperstown, NY. Clark, an avid collector, took an active interest in expanding the holdings of the Association and in 1944 donated Fenimore House, one of his family’s properties, to be used as a new headquarters and museum. The impressive neo-Georgian structure was built in the 1930’s on the site of James Fenimore Cooper’s early 19th century farmhouse on the shore of Otsego Lake, Coopers Glimmerglass.
Fenimore House was large enough to have both extensive galleries as well as an office and library space. The collections and programs continued to expand and a separate library building was constructed in 1968. In 1995, a new 18,000 square foot wing was added to the Fenimore House to accommodate the Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection, which is one of the nation’s premier collections of American Indian Art. In 1999 in recognition of our world class collections, we renamed the Fenimore House to the Fenimore Art Museum.
The Collection includes The Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, Fine Art & Folk Art, Photography and the Research Library.
Fenimore Art Museum is dedicated to welcoming and connecting people to our shared cultural heritage through exhibitions and programs that engage that engage, delight and inspire.
(This information comes from the Fenimore Art Museum’s website and I give them full credit for it)
This is the best way to experience seeing the Hudson River by walking on top of it. It is especially nice on a beautiful day.
The day I walked over the “Walkway over the Hudson” it was a rather cool September day in the last days of the summer but still it was a spectacular day to see the river with blue skies and sunshine.
The views are just amazing
On both sides of the bridge, there are small parks to sit and relax. There are signs all over the bridge to tell the story of the bridge and the people who helped save it. The best part is to just sit around the rails and see the views of the Hudson River.
What is nice too is when you are leaving the Walkway is that you can tour Little Italy and Downtown Poughkeepsie. The Riverfront area of the City is changing quickly and new bars and restaurants are opening.
The towns and neighborhoods to visit after leaving the Walkway
The history of the ‘Walkway Across the Hudson’:
The bridge now known as the Walkway Over the Hudson opened in 1889 as the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge to transport western raw materials to eastern industrial centers. Rosendale cement was used in the original construction of the piers. At the same time of its opening, it was the longest bridge in the world.
In addition to freight trains, the bridge hosted passenger trains connecting Boston, New York, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington as early as 1890. Trolley cars termed “rapid transit” were modified to run on both trolley and railroad tracks and served tourists, students and shoppers (from New Paltz to Lucky Platt’s). Special West Point Football trains ran from 1921-1930. Circus trains, milk trains, trains for hogs and cattle-the uses were varied and the impact was huge. At its peak as many as 3,500 rail cars crossed the bridge each day.
There were two sets of tracks until 1918 when gauntlet track, also called interleaved track, was installed to handle the weight of diesel locomotives. It was removed in 1958.
During World War II the bridge was painted black to make it less visible in the event of an attack. Painting continued until the 1960’s. The high quality of the steel used in the original construction does not need to be painted. Metal experts during reconstruction stated that the absence of paint in fact helped keep the steel in the good condition it is in today.
The fire that destroyed the tracks in 1974 was probably started by a spark from a train’s brakes. From Carleton Mabee’s ‘Bridging the Hudson’, page 247: “An hour after a Penn Central train with 100 cars crossed the bridge on May 8, 1974, a thick cloud of black smoke hung over the bridge. Wooden ties were smoldering and wooden walkways were burning, fanned by a moderate breeze. Because Penn Central had no guards or maintenance men on the bridge at the time, the fire was not quickly reported. When firemen arrived at the site, they found they could not easily pump water up to the top of such a high bridge.
When firemen arrived arrived at the site, they found they could not easily pump water up to the top of such a high bridge. When they tried turning on the water to flow into the bridge. When they tried turning on the water to flow into the steel pipe which ran the length of the bridge, a line meant to help fight fires, they found that because it had not been drained the previous winter, it had burst at several points-Penn Central had known it but had not repaired it.”
It was rebuilt and re-opened in October 2009 as the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park thanks to the efforts of a dedicated friends group, the Dyson Foundation, many donors and New York State.
At 212 feet above the Hudson River, this 1.28 mile linear park boasts scenic views north to the Catskills and south to the Hudson Highlands.
The Walkway is amazing on a sunny day
The Walkway is part of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Network and was inducted into the Rail-Train of Fame in 2016, it connects Ulster County’s Hudson Valley Rail Train to the William R. Steinhaus Dutchess Rail Trail.
The ADA compliant 21 story glass elevator provides seasonal access from Poughkeepsie waterfront at Upper Landing Park a short walk from the Metro North train station.
The Walkway welcomes more than 500,000 visitors annually from all over the world who enjoy walking, cycling and running amidst its scenic beauty.
Today, the Walkway is operated and owned by NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the NYS Bridge Authority it is open year round, offering programs, events and tours made possible through membership and donations to the Walkway organization.
(This information was taken from the Walkway over the Hudson website and pamphlet and I give them full credit for all of this information).