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The Hudson Valley is full of incredible estates and historic houses. We have previously covered Kykuit: The Rockefellers’ Gilded Age Gem in the Hudson River Valley and The Ruins of Northgate, the Cornish Estate in the Hudson Valley. Presented below are close to thirty sites scattered throughout the Hudson Valley. They were home to artists, presidents, and robber barons and tell the story of the United States (and New York) from its humble Dutch origins through the Revolutionary War and well into the Victorian Era. These sites will keep you busy for years to come between attending guided tours and wandering around acres of idyllic landscapes.

1. Boscobel

638px-Boscobel_entrance_roadSource: Daniel Case Wikipedia

Located in Garrison, New York, Boscobel is considered to be one of the finest examples of Federal-style architecture in New York. The house was constructed between 1804 and 1808 on a 250-acre river front site and was commissioned by States Dyckman.In 1924, Westchester County purchased the property to turn it into a park, however by the mid-1950s the house was slated for demolition. Ultimately, the house was dismantled and stored in a barn for a year until a new site (15 miles away) was found.

 2. Clermont

Clermont hudson valley estate

Clermont was constructed between 1740 and 1750 by Robert Livingston, Jr. The original house was burned by the British because Margaret Beekman Livingston refused to assist them during the Revolutionary War. The current structure, located in Germantown, New York, was designed by Margaret and her son Robert (who co-invented the steamboat and administered the oath of office to George Washington on the steps of Federal Hall). Livingston descendants remained at the estate throughout the twentieth-century, when they donated the land to the state.

3. Glenview

675px-Glenview_Mansion_jehSource: Jim.Henderson Wikipedia

Glenview is a Victorian mansion that is located on the grounds of the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York. The house was constructed between 1876 and 1877 for John Bond Trevor, a New York financier. In the 1920s, the estate and its grounds were sold to the City of Yonkers, which turned it into a park. The Hudson River Museum took it over in 1948 and later expanded into an adjoining building. Today, the mansion has been restored to its turn of the century brilliance.

4. Kykuit

Kykuit-Untapped-Cities-David-Jo-032

Kykuit, meaning lookout in Dutch, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller Family. It was designed by Delano & Aldrich in 1913 for John D. Rockefeller. The estate has something for everyone, beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens, outstanding interior rooms, and a modern art collection worthy of a museum (including works by Picasso, Chagall and Warhol, Brancusi, Calder, Noguchi, and more). Historic Hudson Valley, which operates Kykuit as well as other Hudson Valley sites runs a number of different tours of the estate and grounds.

5. Lindenwald

640px-Lindenwald2006Source: Rolf Müller Wikipedia

Martin Van Buren purchased Lindenwald in 1839 and lived there after his presidency until his death. The house is located in Kinderhook, New York and was renovated by Richard Upjohn, whose work can be seen throughout New York City. Today, the house is operated by the National Park Service, which runs daily tours of the estate.

6. Locust Grove

locust grove hudson valley morse

Locust Grove’s most famous resident was Samuel F. B. Morse, the inventor of the telegraph. Its name derives from the locust trees planted by Henry Livingston Jr., the estate’s first resident. Alexander Jackson Davis designed the Italianate style mansion for Morse in 1851. Almost no furnishings remain from when Morse lived at the house, though there is an informative exhibit on the inventor and a collection of some of his paintings in a visitor center.

7. Lyndhurst

lyndhurst hudson valley estate

Another masterpiece by Alexander Jackson David, Lyndhurst was originally constructed in 1838 for William Paulding, Jr., a former mayor or New York City. The Tarrytown, New York estate is considered to be one of the finest Gothic Revival mansions. Its current incarnation is the result of Jay Gould, the railroad tycoon, and his daughters who were the final owners of the estate before it was donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and opened to the public. It has also been used as a setting in a number of films including the recent, Winter’s Tale.

8. Staatsburgh

staatsburgh estate hudson valley

Staatsburgh is one of New York’s most impressive mansions. The house was constructed in the 1890s by McKim, Mead, and White for Ogden Mills and his wife Ruth Livingston Mills. Completed within a year, the house possesses 65 rooms, 23 fireplaces, and an incredible 14 bathrooms. The mansion was one of five homes owned by the Mills’ and they mainly sojourned at Staatsburgh in the fall when they would entertain as many as eighty guests at a time. In 1938, the estate (the mansion and 192 acres) were donated to the state of New York.

9. Montgomery Place

montomgery place hudson valley

Montgomery Place was constructed in 1803 and is located in Annandale-on-Hudson. It was designed by Alexander Jackson Davis in the Italianate style for the Livingston family. Chancellor Livington, who administered the oath of office to George Washington as the first president of the United States, lived in an earlier house on the site that was razed by the British during the Revolutionary War. The house is open to the public through guided tours and gardens and woodland trails culminating in vibrant cascades, accessible to the public for free, occupy most of the remainder of the 380 acre property.

10. Olana

olana church hudson river school estate

Olana is the home of the famed Hudson River School painter, Frederic Edwin Church, which he designed with help from Calvert Vaux. The house is located on the top of a 250-acre estate with stunning views of the Hudson Valley that he regularly painted. Guided house tours reveal a nineteenth-century Victorian treasure, reminiscent of Mark Twain’s Hartford home. Dozens of paintings by Church and his Hudson River School colleagues are on display. Additionally, there are Old Master paintings, pre-Columbian artifacts, Persian tiles, and even a peacock to behold.

Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins-Crystal Palace-Central Park-American Museum of Natural History-NYCImage via Smithsonian

So you know about the dinosaur fossils that are in the American Museum of Natural History. But there are allegedly dinosaurs buried under Central Park (!). Some believe they are located near 106th Street, others think they are near the former convent of St. Vincent. Either way, what is known is that they aren’t real dinosaur fossils but full size models by artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, who was commissioned by the comptroller of Central Park, who had seen his work on display at the 1854 Crystal Palace in London.

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The plaza area in front of The Africa Center facing Central Park

The plaza area in front of The Africa Center facing Central Park

One Museum Mile, a Robert A.M. Stern building, was built to house The Museum for African Art and 100 luxury condos that sit above.  While the condo portion of the building vigorously moved forward in sales, the museum’s efforts were stalled and the street level space has remained unfinished.  Recent efforts to rethink the project have sprung to life with a new Board, new philosophy, creative Chief Financial Officer and a new name–The Africa Center.

We were pleased to attend “Meet The Africa Center” on September 20th, a colorful one day event at the northern tip of Central Park at 110th Sreet on Fifth Avenue. The event provided visitors a glimpse into what’s in store for the museum, with an anticipated opening date in 2016.  The stunning interior space is still unfinished but we were greeted by a colorful ball hanging from the ceiling measuring sixteen feet in diameter.

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Xavier Delory-Villa Savoye-Graffiti-Pilgrimage of Modernity-Poissy-France

The iconic Villa Savoye in Poissy, a surburb of Paris, is an epitome of architect Le Corbusier’s design theories, including the Five Points of Architecture. It’s a requisite pilgrimage for architecture students and enthusiasts, where visitors can see where many Modernist architectural maxims of today were realized, from the piloti that raised the building, to ribbon windows, open plan interiors, and roof terraces.

Belgian artist Xavier Delory has embarked on a “Pilgrimage of Modernity,” a quirky tribute of the monuments of the modern movement, he writes. To that end, via Photoshop he’s plastered the walls of the Villa Savoye with graffiti.

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The Woolworth Building is one of New York City’s most famous off-limits landmarks. Though its Byzantine, cathedral-like interior of glass tesserae and marble is landmarked, security concerns after 9/11 rendered it closed to only those that worked in the skyscraper, once the tallest in the world.

We’ve worked with Woolworth Tours, a company founded by Helen Post Curry, the great-grand daughter of the building’s architect, Cass Gilbert to curate tours of the building lobby and basement level specifically tailored for our discerning readership here at Untapped Cities. Our next tour, on October 9th, will be led by Lisa Renz. a preservationist and historian working directly with the archives of the Woolworth Building through the New York Historical Society.

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