Tag: Historic Homes

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum  4079 Albany Post Road New York, NY 12538

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum 4079 Albany Post Road New York, NY 12538

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

4079 Albany Post Road

New York, NY  12538

(800) FDR-VISIT

Open: Sunday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm/Open to 6:00pm April-October

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day

https://fdrlibrary.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60801-d105844-Reviews-Franklin_D_Roosevelt_Presidential_Library_and_Museum-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

Admission: $20.00 for both the museum and house.

I have visited the FDR Library over the summer  for two separate days along with visiting the Vanderbilt Mansion after the tour. It takes about two days to really look through the museum as there is so much to see and read that it can be over-whelming. If you don’t know much about Franklin Roosevelt you will definitely learn it here.

You will learn more about the family at the house tour but here you will learn of the policies of the Presidency, the acts and laws that he put in place and their effect on the county. It outlines why the policy was put in place and the effects on the American people. It was interesting to see how the policies like Social Secretary, Welfare and the Banking regulations are still in affect today.

Each room is another discussion in policy with things leading to the war and it effects on bring us out of the Great Depression. Also the attributes leading to the treaties after the war was finished.

My recommendation it to take two days and at least an hour and a half each day to visit the museum and break it down into rooms as it can be a lot to take in on one visit. Couple the trip up with a visit to his house, Springwood and learn how the house played a big part in his politics.

About the Museum:

For information about the Museum, Archives, Education and Public Programs and the Henry A. Wallace Center call (800) FDR-VISIT or go to http://www.fdrlibrary.org.

Membership:  Membership forms a vital base of support for many of the Library’s key initiatives. To learn about the benefits of a membership and to become a FDR Presidential Library and Museum member today, please visit http://www.fdrlibrary.org or call (845) 486-1970.

The Roosevelt Institute:

The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute is dedicated to informing new generations of the ideas and achievements of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt through programs, events and publications. With offices in Hyde Park, New York and New York City, the Institute enjoys a special relationship with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. It also works  across the country to nurture leaders in public service inspired by the models of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, through a network of 100 progressive college campus-based think thank organizations that include more than 10,000 student members. In the years ahead, the Institute plans to play an even stronger role in nurturing and advancing progressive people and ideas. It will also continue its unique and important relationship with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

The Museum:

As he planned his presidential library, FDR took care to include space for a museum to display his many personal treasures. An avid collector, the President has spent a lifetime gathering extensive collections ranging from stamps and coins to rare books and ship models.

When the FDR Museum opened June 30, 1941, it featured elaborate displays of these collections and the many gifts the Roosevelt’s had received from governments and individuals.

Today, the Museum continues to display items from the President’s personal collections. But there are also extensive state of the art exhibits where visitors can experience the lives and times of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

After a privileged childhood on the banks of the Hudson River, FDR entered politics only to endure illness and a lifetime of paralysis after a heroic battle with polio. As President, he led America out of the greatest economic depression in its history and guided the Allied Powers to victory in World War II.

Eleanor Roosevelt improved the lives of millions as a reformer, teacher, journalist, political activist, First Lady, advocate for the underprivileged and as delegate to the United Nations, champion for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today the woman known as the “First Lady of the World” continues to inspire new generations.

Experience the powerful story of these two extraordinary individuals in the Museum’s permanent exhibits. Rare documents and fascinating artifacts bring you face to face with history. Immersive audiovisual programs and interactive displays take visitors vividly into the past. A special “Behind the Scenes” area gives a look inside museum and archives storage rooms to see even more of the Library’s collection. And the Museum’s special exhibitions gallery offers changing exhibits on a regular basis. Repeat visitors will always find something new to see.

Archives and Research:

FDR was the first president to give his papers to the American people and they form the core of the Library’s research archives. Since that original gift, the Library has acquired additional important collections related to the Roosevelt era, including the three million page archive of Eleanor Roosevelt. Today the Roosevelt Library houses 17 million pages of manuscript materials in some  400 distinct collections; 51,000 books including FDR’s own personal collection of over 22,000 volumes and 150,000 photographs, negatives and audiovisual items. The Library conducts one of the busiest research operations in the entire Presidential Library system and is used by several thousand on-site and remote researchers each year.

Education and Public Programs:

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum conducts educational programs designed for K-12, college and university students, teachers and adult learners based on the Library’s documentary, audiovisual and museum collections. Programs include on and off site classroom workshops, museum programs and teacher development seminars.

Public programs include the annual reenactment of a World War II “USO Show and Bivouac” over Memorial Day Weekend, the Roosevelt Reading Festival in June and a Children’s Book Festival in December. The Library’s website http://www.fdrlibrary.org has over one million visitors each year including researchers using the digital archive, teachers and students exploring educational resources and those visiting FDR’s interactive daily calendar through our affiliated Pare Lorentz Center http://www.parelorentzcenter.org.

Diclaimer: This information was taken directly from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum pamphlet and I give their writers full credit on the information. Please check out their website on Admissions as they do change.

 

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

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

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt (Springfield)-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.

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.

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.

springwood estate

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.

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.

The Frick Collection 1 East 70th Street  New York, NY 10021

The Frick Collection 1 East 70th Street New York, NY 10021

The Frick Collection

1 East 70th Street

New York, NY  10021

(212) 288-0700

http://www.frick.org

https://www.frick.org/

Hours:  Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm/Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm/Monday Closed

Closed: January 1st, July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas

Admission: Adults $22.00/Senior Citizen $17.00/Students $12.00. Pay as you wish Wednesday from 2:00pm-6:00pm

Audio Guide: The Acoustiguide Audio Tour is available free of charge in the Entrance Hall.

I visited The Frick Collection for the first time when I was walking the Upper East Side for my project, “MywalkinManhattan” Day One Hundred and Twelve-Walking the Upper East Side”. In all the years I had been coming into Manhattan I had never been inside. So I stopped for the afternoon to see what it was like inside the old Frick Mansion.

When you first walk into the museum, in the inside of the main foyer of the house there is fountain with a large indoor pool with benches, the perfect place to relax after the long walk outside. All around the pool are various doors and windows that lead to the rooms that house the collection.

the frick collection ii

The Fountain area

All around the house you will see famous Old Master’s paintings, statuary and porcelain figurines. While I was visiting there, I stopped in to see the new exhibition “George Washington Statuary Collection”.

The  “George Washington” exhibition showed the creation of the statue for the Virginia State Capital that was destroyed by fire in the last century. All of the models and drawings were accompanying the display to see how the work was created.

After that, I just walked through the galleries to see all the paintings and sit by the fountain in the middle of the old house. Each of the rooms houses each part of the Mr. Frick’s Collection plus new pieces that continue to be added.

the frick collection iii

The inside galleries

Before you leave, remember to check out their gift shop which has interesting items for sale and copies of the art in various forms to take home. Also on a nice day take time to walk around the gardens. For a mansion on Fifth Avenue, it is cared for beautifully and is well cared for just as the Frick’s would have done.

 

History of The Frick Collection:

The Frick Collection is house in the former residence of Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), which was designed by Thomas Hastings and constructed in 1913-14. After Mrs. Frick’s death in 1931, changes and additions to the building were by the architect John Russell Pope and in 1935 the Collection was opened to the public.

The Collection preserves the ambiance of Mr. Frick’s private house and visitors are therefore asked to observe regulations necessary for protecting the works of art and their domestic setting:

*Because few ropes or cases are used to guard fragile objects, children under ten are not admitted to the Collection.

*Group visits are by appointment only and large groups must be divided into parties of no more than ten. Lecturing in the galleries is prohibited.

*Free checking is provided in the coat room. Coats (if not worn), packages, umbrellas and large handbags must be checked.

The Collection includes some of the best known paintings by the greatest European  artists, major works of sculpture (among them one of the finest groups of small bronzes in the world), superb eighteenth-century French furniture and porcelains, Limoges enamels, Oriental rugs and other works of remarkable quality.

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from The Frick Collection Museum pamphlet and I give the museum full credit for this information. Please check out times and dates before you visit.

Skylands Manor-New Jersey Botanical Garden  5 Morris Road  Ringwood, NJ 07456

Skylands Manor-New Jersey Botanical Garden 5 Morris Road Ringwood, NJ 07456

Skylands Manor-New Jersey Botanical Garden

5 Morris Road

Ringwood, NJ  07456

(973) 962-9370

http://www.ringwoodmanor.org/Victorian-Christmas.html

The Skylands Manor is decorated for the holidays during the first week of December and only for one weekend as it used for a banquet facility the rest of the time and as a hotel. The first weekend of December is when local Gardening groups are assigned one room to decorate and they have one week to put it together, display their ideas and explain how they did it to the public. The best day to go is the Thursday afternoon opening as it is the quietest day of the four day event with Saturday being the busiest.

skylands manor ii

Each of the eleven rooms that were decorated for the event were amazing each with their own decor, docents and gardeners and theme to the room. The Entrance Hall was elegant with its garland and potted plants, the Octagon Hall used its space wisely with a series of trees and hot house flowers. The women who decorated it had a phenomenal sense of space.

skylands manor iii

The Teaneck Garden Club did a great job decorating the Library with an elegant Christmas Tree and vintage ornaments. Some of the gardeners also came in vintage clothing of the area.

skylands manor iv

Each room had its own personality and was a combination of Christmas decorations and holiday plants.

Watch the calendar for 2019 in early December for the next display.

 

History of the Skylands Manor & People:

Clarence McKenzie Lewis bought Skylands in 1922 from the estate of Francis Lynde Stetson, who founded Skylands in 1891. Mr. Lewis was educated in England and Germany. While he was there, his widowed mother, Helen Forbes Lewis married William Salomon, founder of the New York banking house. Upon his return, Lewis attended Columbia University, where he received a Civil Engineering degree in 1898. In 1908, he married and bought a country place in Mahwah; it was there that Lewis became interested in horticulture.

Helen Lewis Salomon, the mother of Clarence Lewis, was widowed in 1919. Not only thereafter, she and her bereaved son agreed to a joint project; she wanted a Tudor-style showplace; he wanted plants and gardens. Mrs. Salomon worked closely with the architect on Skylands Manor but she died in 1927 before its completion.

John Russell Pope (1874-1937) “an architect born to work, in the grand style” was educated at City College, Columbia University, the American Academy in Rome and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He trained under Bruce Price, the master builder of Tuxedo Park. Pope designed many outstanding public buildings, such as the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art.

Tutor Architecture originated in England in the late Gothic period and continued to be popular into the Renaissance. It features half-timbering on the exterior, crenelated walls, large groups of rectangular windows, oriel or bay windows and intricate chimney complexes The interiors usually had large central halls, wood paneling, molded plaster ceilings and elaborately carved staircases. Tudor Revival became a popular style for the elegant country houses of wealthy Americans.

The builder of Skylands was the Elliot C. Brown Co., of New York City, which also built the country homes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at Hyde Park and E. Roland Harriman (Arden House).

Samuel Yellin (1885-1940) decorative metal designer and craftsman, who performed to call himself “the blacksmith”, fashioned the lanterns. electrical fixtures, lamps, gate, and spiral staircase rail for Skylands Manor.

Native Granite for the exterior walls of Skylands was quarried at Pierson Ridge above Emerald Pond in the eastern part of the property in Bergen County.

Mrs. Salomon purchased a collection of antique Stained Glass Medallions from an English collector. The 16th century German, Bavarian and Swiss panes were set in leaded windows by Heinegke & Smith of New York City.

Disclaimer: This information on the details of the history of Skylands Manor was taken directly from their pamphlet and I give them full credit for it. Please call the manor for times that it is open as it is used a banquet/catering facility and a B & B.

Visiting Stone Street in Lower Manhattan

Visiting Stone Street in Lower Manhattan

Visiting Stone Street in Lower Manhattan:

As part of my tour of Historic Bars and Pubs on Day One Hundred and Thirteen with the Cornell Club on May 9th, 2018, we toured the famous ‘Stone Street’ one of the original paved streets of Manhattan. You will not find architecture or pavings like this left in New York City. Here and there are streets or buildings that represent these times during the early to mid-1800’s but they are few and scattered in remote spots all over the island. Here the street still represents a different era of Manhattan.

The stores in the 90’s had been either boarded up or were used but in horrible shape. During the business hours not too many people inhabited this area of Lower Manhattan and it was ignored. The neighboring South Street Seaport was being transformed in the mid 80’s into a type of historic theme park and entertainment center by the Rouse Corporation. It put these old neighborhoods back into vogue and people started to return again.

Over time, especially after 9/11 and the changes in downtown Manhattan, the street is now home to many trendy bars and restaurants and a hang out for the downtown business crowd. During the recent walking tour, the place was hopping with people spilling out of restaurants, ordering drinks during happy hour and eating pizza at the local pizzeria.

During ‘Happy Hour’ after work, the place is mobbed with people milling around having a good time. The tables toward the end of the street are filled with tourists taking pictures and at one end of the street is the famous “India House” and at the other is the Frances Tavern where George Washington gave his troops his farewell address.

stone street

Stone Street in the warmer months

It is not only a historical neighborhood but loaded with things to see and do. The buildings which were once in horrible shape have been brought back to life and repositioned to use for the meals and entertainment. It is interesting to see how a neighborhood comes back in full circle in a 150 years.

History of the area:

Stone Street is a short street in Manhattan’s Financial District. It originally ran from Broad Street to Hanover Square but was divided into two sections by the construction of the Goldman Sachs building at 85 Broad Street in the 1980’s. Today the cluster of historic buildings along Stone, South William, Pearl Streets and Coenties Alley form the Stone Street Historic District.

Stone Street is one of New York’s oldest streets. It was originally known by its Dutch name, Hoogh Staet (High Street). In 1632, the Dutch West India Company built the first commercial brewery in North America there. Around 1656, Hoogh Straet was shifted about twenty to twenty-five feet to align it with Brouwer Street, the extension of Hoogh Straet west of the Gracht and which in 1658 became the first paved street in Nieuw Amsterdam. Following the British conquest of the colony, the name Hoogh Straet was translated to High Street. It was then called Duke Street for the Duke of York during most of the 18th century. Leveled in 1771 and 1790, it was renamed Stone Street in 1794 because of it’s cobblestone paving as New Yorkers abandoned reminders of British Rule. The street’s stores and loft were built for dry-goods merchants and importers, shortly after the Great Fire of 1825, which destroyed many remnants of New Amsterdam.

Most buildings were used as storage. The building at 57 Stone Street was rebuilt in 1903 by C.P.H, Gilbert in Dutch Colonial Revivial architecture at the behest of the owner, Amos F. Eno as son of Amos R. Eno. The buildings to the back on South William 13-23 also were reconstructed in the Dutch revival style, evoking New Amsterdam.

Following many decades of neglect, a joint partnership between the Landmarks Preservation Commission and other city agencies, the Alliance for Downtown New York and Stone Street owners has transformed Stone Street from a derelict back alley into one of Downtown’s liveliest scenes. Restored buildings, granite paving, bluestone sidewalks and period lights set the stage for the half dozen restaurants and cafes, whose outdoor tables are very popular on warm summer nights.

The eastern portion of the street and the surrounding buildings have been protected since 1996 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as the Stone Street Historic District and is pedestrian only. The historic district is now populated by several restaurants and bars and has a outdoor dining when the weather permits. The India House historic landmark is located at the Hanover Square end of the street.

(This information was taken directly from Wikipedia and I give them full credit)

Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street   Bronx, NY 10471

Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street Bronx, NY 10471

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street

Bronx, NY  10471

(718) 543-3344

infor@vchm.org

Open: Tuesday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm/Saturday & Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm

Admission: $5.00 for Adults/$3.00 for Seniors & Students/Children under 12 are free/General Admission is free on Wednesdays. Guided and group tours are available.

Review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47369-d103501-Reviews-Van_Cortlandt_House-Bronx_New_York.html?m=19905

 

I visited the Van Cortlandt House Museum for the their Annual Christmas Decorated House event. The mansion was decorated for Christmas in the 1700’s so it was not overdone as it would during the Victorian times. The front of the house entrance was done with sprays of holly, mistletoe above the door and garlands of pine around the banister and fireplaces. The windows had candles in them and the dining room was set for Christmas luncheon in post-Revolutionary War era.

While most of the house is represented during the Dutch era with floors with no rugs, vintage furniture and decorations and the second and third floors are set for family entertainment. The first floor is set for entertaining for the holidays with the formal dining room, family palour and the formal living room for games and dancing. The formal dining room was the only room decorated post-Revolutionary War era.

van cortlandt mansion xmas ii

Van Cortlandt Mansion at Christmas 1800’s

Until the Victorian era, Christmas was a more religious affair with church service in the morning and luncheon in the afternoon. Things were formal and less elaborate. The acts of gift giving, sleigh rides, tree decorating and card giving came during the affluence of Queen Victoria’s reign in the post Civil-War era. This is the reason why the house is decorated so simply and elegantly.

History of the Van Cortlandts:

The Van Cortlandt House Museum, also known as Fredrick Van Cortlandt House or Van Cortlandt House, is the oldest surviving building in New York City’s borough of The Bronx. The Georgian style house, begun in 1748, was build of fieldstone by Fredrick Van Cortlandt (1699-1749) on the plantation that had been owned and farmed by his family since 1691. Fredrick intended the house to be a home for him and his wife, Francis Jay and daughters, Anna Maria, 14 and Eve, 13. His sons, Augustus, 21 and Fredrick, 19, were not intended to be permanent residents of the house. Sadly, Fredrick died before the new house was completed. In his will written in 1759, Fredrick left the house to his son, James Van Cortlandt (1726-1781) and a life time tenancy to his widow, Francis Jay Van Cortlandt (1701-1780).

The Van Cortlandt’s were a mercantile family prominent in New York affairs. Fredrick’s father, Jacobus, established a thriving wheat growing and processing business on the plantation including a grist mill for processing the wheat into flour and a fleet of shallow draft boats to carry the flour from the south end his lake down Tibbet’s Brook and out to the Harlem and Hudson Rivers to market. During the Revolutionary War, the house was used by Rochambeau, Lafayette and Washington.

(From History of Van Cortlandt House and Museum)

In 1887, after 140 years of occupancy by the Van Cortlandt family and the community of plantation workers, the property was sold to the City of New York and made a public parkland. Before the house became a museum, it saw a variety of uses including as a temporary police precinct house and as a dormitory for ranch hands responsible for taking care of a herd of buffalo.

By 1895, The National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York expressed their interest in restoring the house as a museum open to the public. There was only one obstacle keeping the Colonial Dames from this important project, there was no provision in the New York State Law allowing the stewardship of a publicly owned building by a private organization. Undaunted, the first Society President, Mrs. Townsend, took the Society’s cause to Albany where on May 22, 1896 in the 199th session of the New York Legislature, Chapter 837 was approved by the governor and passed by a 3/5 majority to become law.

After nearly a year if repairs and restoration, Van Cortlandt House Museum was opened to great fanfare on May 25th of 1897. The original license agreement grained custody of the house to the National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York for a period of 25 years at a ‘peppercorn’ rent of $1.00 per year. Although the Society no longer pays the city rent, they remain, to this day as dedicated to Van Cortlandt House as they were in 1896.

In 1967, Van Cortlandt House was added to the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1967. The house was declared a New York City Landmark on March 15, 1966, recognizing the historic and architectural importance of both the exterior and interior.

(From the Van Cortlandt House Museum NSCDNY)

van cortland mansion xmas

Van Cortlandt House Museum at Christmas

Lambert Castle/Passaic County Historical Society  3 Valley Road  Paterson, NJ 07503

Lambert Castle/Passaic County Historical Society 3 Valley Road Paterson, NJ 07503

Lambert Castle/Passaic County Historical Society

3 Valley Road

Patterson, NJ  07503

Phone: (973) 247-0085

Fax: (973) 881-9434

info@lambertcastle.org

http://www.lambertcastle.org

Hours:

Museum Wednesday-Sunday-1:00pm-4:00pm

Library & Archives Wednesday-Friday-1:00pm-4:00pm/2nd and 4th Saturday of each month 1:00pm-4:00pm (Memorial Day through Labor Day: 12:00pm-4:00pm)

Admission: $5.00 Donation

My TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46718-d1880569-Reviews-Lambert_Castle-Paterson_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I have visited Lambert Castle a few times, most recently to see the Christmas decorations before they were taken down for the season. I found out from one of the director’s that they had not been put back up since their Holiday Bazaar back in November. I had seen them the year before and they had been very impressive.

I had a chance to visit the floors undecorated. The first floor is set up as if the family still lived there with the Billiards Room, Dining Room, Sitting Room, Music Room and Atrium still set as the family resided there. There is period furniture and decorations in all the first floor rooms to give a feel of what it must have been like to live there at that period.

lambert castle ii

The view of Lambert Castle from the second floor

The second floor galleries hold the collection of the Passaic County Historical Society with all sorts of objects, signs and historical items from all eras of the collection. You are able to see the footprint of the living quarters of the family.

The third floor at the time I was there was dedicated to the work of an Italian stone worker and artist who migrated and lived and worked in Paterson.

It is a very interesting way to see life at the turn of the last century in Paterson and the home offers a beautiful view of the City of Paterson and New York in the distance. I have never seen the grounds in the Spring but I am sure that they are quite lovely.

The view alone is worth the visit.

 

History of Lambert Castle:

Catholina Lambert and his Castle:

Catholina Lambert was born in 1834 in Goose Eye, England. In 1851 at the young age of 17, Lambert left home to seek his fortune in the “Land of Opportunity” that was America. After several successful ventures in the silk industry, Lambert decided to build a home that would be reminiscent of the castles he recalled from his boyhood in England. In 1892, he built his own castle on Garret Mountain in Paterson, NJ, then known as the “Silk, City of the New World.”

Lambert’s home was built to showcase his elaborate art collection  of fine European and American paintings and sculpture. At one time, his collection was so vast that it was considered to be “the nucleus of an American Louvre.” In 1913, Lambert fell into debt and his fortune started to dwindle. As a result, he was forced to mortgage the Castle and eventually sell much of his art collection. The proceeds allowed him to live comfortably in the Castle until his death at age 89 in 1923.

After Lambert’s death, his son, Walter sold the Castle to the City of Paterson, which later sold it to the County of Passaic. Today the Castle is still owned by the County and  serves as the headquarters of the Passaic County Historical Society. The Society, a private not for profit organization, owns the historical artifacts and works of art. The home and the museum, exist as a reminder of a bygone era and as a tribute to the great accomplishment of  the Castle’s creator. Although most of the furnishings today are not original to the Lambert’s home, they represent period furnishings that would have been found in the Castle during the Lambert era.

For more information about the rooms and decor, visit The Lambert Castle Blog at:

https://lambertcastleweb.wordpress.com/museum/

Passaic Historical Society:

The Society & Museum:

The Passaic County Historical Society is a private non-profit educational organization founded in 1926 and dedicated to cultivation of interest in the history and culture of Passaic County and former home of silk magnate Catholina Lambert was built in 1892. The Castle is owned by the County of Passaic and has been the home to the Society since 1934.

Library & Archives:

Located in the lower level of the Castle is the Elizabeth A. Beam Memorial Historical Research Library, operated by the Passaic County Historical Society. Here scholarly researchers, genealogists and historical enthusiasts may find books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, genealogy records and other information that reveals the history of Passaic County. Access to the library is included with regular admission to Lambert Castle.

Membership:

The Society depends upon the support of its membership as well as museum admission to sustain its important mission. Please consider becoming a member and helping to preserve the history of Passaic County.

The Second Floor Galleries:

The Castles’s second floor has several exhibition galleries, each presenting a different historical display from the Society’s collections. To the right of the fireplace on the walls of the second floor balcony is an exhibition of works by noted Paterson artist Julian Rix. On the opposite side are portraits of notable Passaic County residents and a collection of historic engravings of the Passaic Falls. Behind the fireplace are the Lambert’s private rooms. To the left, in the former sitting room and bedroom of Mr. Lambert, are the Curiosities and Local Folk Art galleries and the famous Brass Dog Sculpture that served for many years as an advertising sign for a tinsmith’s shop in nineteenth-century Paterson. In the adjacent room, the former bedroom of Mrs. Lambert, is the Local History Gallery which features historical images of prominent businesses and people.

The Third Floor Exhibition Gallery:

The Third floor of Lambert Castle is reserved for changing or seasonable exhibitions.

Disclaimer: This information comes directly from the Passaic County Historical Society & Museum pamphlet and I give them full credit of it. Rather than transcribing the whole pamphlet with the description of rooms, I attached their website and blog on WordPress.com for more detailed viewing.