Tag: vistingamuseum.com

National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum 25 Main Street Cooperstown, NY 13326

National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum 25 Main Street Cooperstown, NY 13326

National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum

25 Main Street

Cooperstown, NY 13326

(607) 547-7200

https://baseballhall.org/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm

Fee: Adults $25.00/Seniors (65+) $20.00/Veterans $18.00/Children 7-12 $15.00/Active Military-Children under 6-Members Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47529-d102933-Reviews-National_Baseball_Hall_of_Fame_and_Museum-Cooperstown_Otsego_New_York.html?m=19905

When visiting the National Baseball Hall of Fame be prepared to spend over two hours in the museum because there is so much to see. When I visited the museum recently they had just inducted Derek Jeter as one of its newer members so a lot of Yankee fans were swarming around the picture and the display.

Derek “The Captain” Jeter being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

The museum can be overwhelming if you don’t break it down to the part of the visit. I wanted to see the Hall of Fame plaques so I started there. All the players of the past were memorialized by the pictures on plaques with a small blurb about their careers and what team they wanted to be remembered by when they were inducted in. I was looking for Reggie Jackson, because I remember when “Mr. October” entered he said with pride that he was coming in as a Yankee.

The Hall of Fame Plaque Wall

The second floor is loaded with all sorts of baseball memorabilia from Hank Aaron’s uniforms, pictures and stats to a complete display of all of Babe Ruth’s career history from uniforms, stats, recordings, pictures and even his locker.

Each display case represented the history of baseball and how it has progressed over the years. From the early Egyptians playing a similar sport with a bat and ball to the progression of cricket in the British Territories to modern day stickball in the cities, baseball keeps morphing and changing to modern times.

The lockers of famous players

Many famous players have donated their entire collections to the museum so it was interesting to see their progression from the time they were young to the time of their retirement.

There are also collections of baseball cards, recordings and films, modern day artworks and even Hollywood’s take on baseball with posters like the “Field of Dreams” and “The Bad News Bears”. I was surprised how the lines between reality and the truth begin to blur in a museum like this.

What I was grateful to was the amount of items donated by the fans, wanting to part with something so valuable to them to share it with other fans.

I have to say that the museum can be a little overwhelming at time since there is so much to see so plan on spending at least over two hours and break the visit into two days to really experience the museum especially if you are a true baseball fan at heart.

It is an amazing experience.

History of the National Baseball Hall of Fame:

The Village is pure Americana, a one-stoplight town nestled between the Adirondacks and the Catskills in Central New York. It drew from the family of James Fenimore Cooper, whose father, William, founded the village, whose works of literature have become American standards.

And yet Cooperstown has become a synonym for “baseball”, thanks to a story about a Civil War general and the country’s love for a timeless game. By the last half of the 19th Century, baseball had become the National Pastime. The United States was a little more than 100 years old and baseball had evolved with the country. But there was no definitive answer as to the birth of the game.

Enter the Spalding Commission, a board created by sporting goods magnate and former player A. G. Spalding to establish the genesis of baseball. And after a few years of searching, they found their answer.

A plaque commemorating Major General Abner Doubleday was installed prior to the Hall of Fame’s opening on June 12th, 1939.(Homer Osterhoudt/National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum).

Abner Graves, a mining engineer, proclaimed that Abner Doubleday, a decorated Union Army officer who fired the first shot of defense of Fort Sumter at the start of the Civil War and later served at the Battle of Gettysburg, invented baseball in 1839 in Cooperstown. That was good enough for the Spalding Commission, which came to its conclusion in 1907.

Three decades later, Cooperstown philanthropist Stephen C. Clark, seeking a way to celebrate and protect the National Pastime as well as an economic engine for Cooperstown, asked National League president Ford C. Frick if he would support the establishment of a Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The idea was welcomed and in 1936 the inaugural Hall of Fame class of Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner was elected.

Three years later, the Hall of Fame building officially opened in Cooperstown as all of baseball paused to honor what was called “Baseball’s Centennial” and as the first four Hall of Fame classes were inducted.

To mark the occasion, Time Magazine wrote: “The world will little note nor long remember what (Doubleday) did at Gettysburg but it can never forget what he did at Cooperstown.”

In the years since, The Doubleday Myth has been refuted. Doubleday himself was at West Point in 1839. Yet the Myth has become strong enough that the facts alone do not deter the spirit of Cooperstown.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum surely the most well-known sports shrine in the world, continues to thrive in the town where baseball’s pulse beats the strongest.

But in the following the opening of the Hall of Fame on June 12th, 1939, the Museum has become much more than just home to baseball’s biggest stars. The Hall of Fame is the keeper of the game.

The Hall of Fame’s collections contain more than 40,000 three demensional artifacts, such as bats, balls, gloves and uniforms donated by players and fans who want to see history preserved. The museum’s curators use the artifacts, whose number grows by about 400 a year, to tell the story of the National Pastime through exhibits.

The Museum itself is a melding of five buildings sewn together via several renovation and expansion programs. Today, the Museum easily accommodates more than 3000 visitors per day during the peak season.

The artifact collection is housed in climate-controlled rooms to protect the delicate, fabric and wood materials used in baseball. The Museum promises, in exchange for the donation of an artifact, to care for an item in perpetuity, which means the effects of temperature and humidity must be constantly regulated. The Museum’s first accessioned item was the “Doubleday Baseball”, which was discovered in a farmhouse in nearby Fly Creek, NY in 1935 and dates to the 19th Century.

Then in 1937, Cy Young, elected to the Hall of Fame that year in the second year of voting, generously donated several artifacts, including the 1908 ball from his 500th win and the 1911 uniform he wore with the Boston Braves. Young’s donations generated new offers from other players as well as fans.

Thousands of fans attended the opening of the Hall of Fame on June 12th, 1939 and that same year another Cooperstown tradition was started with the launch of the annual Hall of Fame game. For 70 years, the Hall of Fame game became an annual celebration of the game as two Major League Baseball teams played an annual exhibition contest at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown. Though the game was discontinued in 2008, the legends live on with the advent of the Hall of Fame Classic, an annual event over Memorial Day Weekend featuring Hall of Famers and former major leaguers at historic Doubleday Field.

The field itself dates back to 1920 and the first grandstand was built in 1924. Thanks to Works Progress Administration money during the Great Depression, Doubleday Field was expanded again in 1934. Today, the field is occupied non-stop during the spring, summer and fall as high school athletes, collegiate summer league stars and recreational players savor the chance to play on hallowed ground.

The A. Bartlett Giamatti research Center is also part of the Museum experience and the Center’s Library contains more than three million documents on the history of baseball, ranging from reference books to the “Green Light Letter” sent by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis in January of 1942, urging Landis to keep baseball going during World War II. The National Baseball Hall of Fame Library also contains more than 250,00 baseball photographs and images.

As an educational institution, the Museum offers outreach programs for audiences of all ages. Through virtual classroom technology, Cooperstown is transported to school across the country with video-conference lessons featuring any one of 16 learning modules.

Mission of the Museum:

Preserving History, Honoring Excellence and Connecting Generations.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an independent, non-profit educational institution dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the historical development of baseball and its impact on our culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collection for a global audience as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our national pastime.

The Hall of Fame’s mission is to preserve the sport’s history, honor excellence within the game and make a connection between the generations of people who enjoy baseball. Likewise the institution functions as three entities under one roof with a museum, the actual Hall of Fame and a research library. With these parts working together, the Museum is committed to fulfilling its mission by:

Collecting, through donations, baseball artifacts, works of art, literature, photgraphs, memorabilia and related materials which focus on the history of the game over time, its players and those elected to the Hall of Fame.

Preserving the collections by adhering to professional museum standards with respect to conservation and maintaining a permanent record of holdings through documentation, study, research, cataloging and publication.

Exhibiting material in permanent gallery space, organizing on-site changing exhibitions on various themes, with works from the Hall of Fame collectins or other sources, working with other individuals or organizations to exhibit loaned material of significance to baseball and providing related research facilities.

Interpreting artifacts its exhibition and education programs to enhance awareness, understanding and appreciation of the game fora diverse audience.

Honoring, by enshrinement, those individuals who had exceptional careers and recognizing others for their significant achievements.

Sara Delano Roosevelt Memorial House 47-49 East 65th Street  New York, NY 10065

Sara Delano Roosevelt Memorial House 47-49 East 65th Street New York, NY 10065

Sara Delano Roosevelt Memorial House

47-49 East 65th Street

New York, NY  10065

(212) 650-3174

Roosevelt House History

Sara Delano Roosevelt Library

Open: To Groups on Fridays and Saturdays and to individuals on Saturdays 10:00am/12:00pm/2:00pm

Fee: Free to Individuals/Donations welcome-Groups tours are $100.00 for up to five people with an additional $15.00 fee per person. There is also an administration fee of $25.00 for groups over 20 people.

 

It is amazing what you discover when you are walking around the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I was exploring the Streets of the Upper East Side for my blog, ‘MywalkinManhattan’ and when walking around the Hunter College Campus came across the Sara Delano Roosevelt Memorial House at 47-49 East 65th Street.

This beautiful brownstone was built as a wedding present to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor and their future family by his mother Sara Delano Roosevelt. It was their New York City residence until they moved to the White House. His mother continued to use the house until her death in 1941 when the home was sold to Hunter College.

Tours are available when the building is open (Hunter College is currently closed) and you can tour the whole house. The home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

History of the Sara Delano Roosevelt Memorial House:

The Neo-Georgian townhouse was designed by architect Charles A. Platt for Sara Ann Delano Roosevelt in 1907. It originally held “two mirror-image residences with a single facade and entrance. Each floor had its own front reception room with a welcoming fireplace. Rear parlous could be combined through sliding doors

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The mansion at 47-49 East 65th Street on the Upper East Side

The house was given to the Roosevelt’s by Franklin’s mother as a wedding gift for them. The house originally two homes and Franklin’s mother had doors put in place so she could enter their part of the home whenever she wanted. The house was used by Sara Ann Delano Roosevelt from its completion in 1908 to her death in 1941 and intermittently by the Roosevelts until the sale to Hunter College in 1943.

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The house historical marker

After his mother’s death in 1941, President Roosevelt and his wife placed the house up for sale and a non-profit consortium was organized to purchase the house on behalf of Hunter College.

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The Extended Roosevelt family

The house was closed in 1992 and reopened in 2010 after an $18 million renovation. Leslie E Robertson Associates was the structural engineers on this renovation. The building is currently used by Hunter College as the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College or just known as the Roosevelt House.

Sara Delano Roosevelt House

The inside of the house’s museum

(Disclaimer: This information was from Wiki and I give them full credit for the History of the Roosevelt House).

Video’s Related to the House on YouTube:

Visiting the Roosevelt House:

 

The History of the House:

 

 

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

http://www.mountgulian.org/

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.

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.

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

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. 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.

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.

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

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.

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

 

History of Mount Gulian:

The land where the house stands was purchased by two fur traders Francis Rombout and Gulian Verpanck 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 Verpanck 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.

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.

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 Verplancks 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 Verplancks became quite prosperous and built a fine home on Wall Street in Manhattan. The Verplancks 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.

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 wee 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 Schulyers, the Johnsons, the Delanceys and the Bleeckers. 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 along side 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.

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 Bi-centennial 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.

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

Boscobel House & Gardens  1601 Route 9D Garrison, NY 10524

Boscobel House & Gardens 1601 Route 9D Garrison, NY 10524

Boscobel House & Gardens

1601 Route 9D

Garrison, NY  10524

(845) 265-3638

http://www.boscobel.org

Homepage

Open: Sunday-Monday 9:30am-5:00pm (closes 4:00pm between November and January 5th) The house is only open between April and the beginning of January.

Fee:  Adults $18.00/Seniors $15.00/Children (5-18) $9.00/Children (under 5 years old) Free (This is for house and Garden/Garden tours are different and depend on the season. Please check the website)

My review on TripAdvisor:

 

I recently visited the Boscobel House and Garden for their Christmas decorations and for a tour of the house at the holidays. Like most houses of its time period (the house was built in 1806), it was Post-Revolutionary War and the decorations would not have been that lavish as in the Victorian times.

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The Grand Foyer at Boscobel

The house was tastefully decorated with garlands and mistletoe along the archways inside the foyer and with holly and mistletoe inside the house. Some of the tables were set for afternoon tea and entertaining in the Reception Room and there was a small table Christmas tree which were just coming into vogue after the War of 1812. The Reception Room was also set for entertaining as would be done in the holidays months in the later 1800’s.

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The lights of Boscobel during the holidays

Our tour guide, Sam, was fantastic and I hope when you tour the house he is your guide. I was impressed with his knowledge of the house and of the Dyckman family. I had not realized that they were related to the Dyckman Farmhouse family in Inwood (See my review and write ups on the Dyckman Farmhouse here on VisitingaMuseum.com and MywalkinManhattan.com).

He told the story of the man who had the house built, how he made his fortune, how he died young and then his son and his wife dying around the same time and the son-in-law squandered the fortune with a series of bad investments and the house was foreclosed. It sat empty and was falling apart until a group of local citizens saved it.

The house is now back in its full beauty and furnished in period furnishings to reflect the time that the house was built. The tour takes you through the main foyer which you would have been received in and there would have been dancing here with a band at the top of the steps.

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The Drawing/Receiving Room at Boscobel

We next viewed both the Drawing/Music Room where Mrs. Dyckman would have received guests and where informal entertaining would have happened. There was also musical instruments and player music boxes on display.

We then toured the Library area with books that were brought in from England and furniture that had been custom made for the house.

We crossed the foyer again and entered the Formal Dining Room, where the table was set for a holiday dinner. The candles had been lit (they were electric) and the room had a warm glow to it. The windows must have let in natural light so earlier meals must have been quite nice when in the summer months the sun shined inside the room.

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The Dining Room for the holidays at Boscobel

There was custom made china set on the places and there was family silver next to it. The side boards were made by Sheraton and the cut glass had been imported from England.

We then toured the back areas of the Butler’s Pantry where all the food would have finished and plated. The room had all sorts of gadgets to keep the plates warm and where all the silver and china would have been kept.

We then toured the upstairs bedrooms, where we learned the family would have ‘camped out’ in for the cold winter months. I was surprised to learn that the whole front of the house was closed off and the upstairs bedrooms would have been sealed off with fireplaces to keep them warm and the cloth hangings around the bed to keep out the drafts. Both mother and son’s bedrooms were nicely furnished with period furniture.

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The bedroom at Boscobel

Our last stop was the kitchen in the basement back area of the house where all the food would have been prepared and brought up to the Butler’s Pantry. There were all sorts of kitchen equipment for roasting, baking and boiling. You could tell that it was not easy work cooking these elaborate meals without the modern conveniences that we take for granted today. These cooks had a tougher time with the stoves and fireplaces as a source of cooking.

What I thought was a nice touch at the end of the tour in the kitchen area was that Sam served us cold apple cider and small gingerbread men which I thought was special keeping with the house’s tradition of a place of entertainment. I thought it was gracious and very much welcome.

It really was an interesting tour and I will have to return in the summer months.

 

History of Boscobel House & Gardens:

States Morris Dyckman was a descendant of a German-Dutch family whose roots in New York stretched back to 1662. During the American Revolution, he was a Loyalist serving as a clerk in the British army’s Quartermaster Department. In 1779, he accompanied his quartermaster superiors to England and for the next decade he rebutted the government allegations that the quartermasters had engaged in profiteering. (As the keeper of the department’s ledgers, he well knew how they had fattened their purses, assets Dyckman’s biographer James Thomas Flexner). The officers were eventually cleared, largely because of Dyckman’s testimony. They rewarded him with an annuity.

Dyckman returned to America in 1789 after a general amnesty of Loyalists had been declared. Five years later, he married Elizabeth Corne, a member of a distinguished New York family and 21 years his junior. Dyckman returned along to England in 1800 to settle problems with the payment of his annuity. The trip lasted nearly four years but was a success. He returned a rich man worth more than seven million dollars today. Before he left England, he bought many items for the house including silver, china, glass and books for his library.

The architect for the house was unknown but records show that Mr. Dyckman had some influence in the design of the house. Mr. Dyckman died in 1806 at age 51 and the house had only had the foundation finished at time. His 30 year old wife, Elizabeth finished the house in 1808 with the help of her husband’s cousin, William Vermilyea. She furnished the house and added to its inventory. She and her son, Peter lived in the house upon finishing it. She lived in the house until her death in 1823 and her son, Peter died the following year in 1824 at age 27. The house stayed in the family until about 1899 and then was foreclosed on. According to the guide, the house had not been updated at that point and was falling apart. The house had a series of absent owners over the next few years and then sat empty. It was bought by Westchester County in 1924 and the grounds were turned into a park.

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Boscobel House & Gardens in winter

In 1945, the park was acquired by the Veterans Administration for a hospital and the owners took care of the exterior for a time. By 1954, the house was considered an excess on the budget and was being sold for $35.00 for demolition.

The house was saved by Historian Benjamin West Frazier and some friends of his who raised about $10,000 to have the house moved and dismantled to save ‘this treasure’. The house was stored in pieces until 1955, when Lila Acheson Wallace, the co-founder of Readers Digest became involved in the project.

She purchased the land that the house now sits on and devoted her time and money to have the house restored and worked with the curators of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she was a donor to help restore the house into its period design with landscaped gardens and period furniture. In 1959, she commissioned the firm of Innocenti & Webel to create the gardens that surround the house. The house opened to the public in 1961.

(This information was taken from the Boscobel Museum Booklet and I give them full credit for the information)