Historic House Tour Offers Glimpse Of Hillsdale’s Past
By Amy Krzanik
Interior design tomes are one way of getting a feel for how other people decorate their spaces. And history books offer a glimpse into the past, but sometimes photographs can be sparse. But to be invited into someone’s historic home to look around at all the details? Now, that’s more than just living vicariously.
On August 16, you’ll be able to do this eight-fold, as Hillsdale’s Historic House Tour returns with an opportunity to peek inside eight 19th and early 20th century-built homes on one street of this Columbia County hamlet.
The tour begins at the recently renovated Town Hall, built in 1925 for use as the town’s library, where the restored Civil War uniform of Captain John B. Collin is currently on display, among other local historical artifacts.
From there, the tour turns to homes originally built and owned by descendants of Hillsdale’s founding families. A Gothic-style house believed to be built by Alexander Jackson Davis in the 1850s displays the Hudson River Bracketing style he made famous. Davis is the architect behind both Federal Hall in New York City and the Lyndhurst mansion in Tarrytown, NY, and the home contains many of his original details, including pocket doors, pine floors and the original mahogany newel post at the foot of the stairs.
When the widowed owner of the aforementioned house married a much younger woman in the 1870s, a daughter-in-law already living in the home became jealous of this new wife and insisted a separate house for the woman be built nearby. This house (shown above), which will also be open for touring, became known as the “mother-in-law’s house.” Though smaller than the main home, it’s filled with carefully chosen furniture and artwork, and is surrounded by extensive gardens.
Three of the houses on the tour were part of a 1920s “women’s enclave” and owned by careerwomen living together in “Boston marriages,” a New England term used to describe two financially independent women living under the same roof. One is a restored home built in 1810 and the two others were mid-19th century farm buildings converted into living quarters by the women’s settlement. The home constructed as a four-room cottage was recently fitted with a contemporary addition designed by architect Dennis Wedlick. In the gardens of the properties, you can still see tree peonies planted by the botanist who lived there in the 1920s.
Other homes on the tour include a Federal-style with a working artist’s studio, a Dutch-style addition, and beautiful gardens; a farmhouse in the side-hall Federal style; and a barn, built circa 1893, that’s been converted into a country home complete with picturesque waterfall.
The tour is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the $40 ticket price includes a box lunch by Carlucci-Simons Catering, served under a tent in a meadow, and a talk by the town historian on some of the prominent residents who called the properties home over the years. Download a ticket from the website or order one at Passifora or Hillsdale General Store by August 11. Patron Tickets are $100 and include a Patron’s Party at C. Herrington Home & Design on Sunday, August 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. Sponsor tickets, $150, include a mention in all of the tour’s printed material. Proceeds from the tour will help match the NY State grant for bringing the Harlem Valley Rail Trail to Hillsdale and provide funding to promote the Historic District adjacent to the Trail.
Hillsdale’s Historic House Tour
Saturday, August 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tickets: $40; $100 for Patron Tickets; $125 for Sponsor Tickets.
Tickets available online and at Passifora and Hillsdale General Store.
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