Main-Albertson-Park Place Historic District
The Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2009, The Gombach Group.
The Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District is located in the village of Hyde Park, town of Hyde Park, Dutchess County, New York. The Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District is irregular in shape and includes buildings on Main Street, Park Place and Albertson Street. The Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District begins west of the intersection of U.S. Route 9 and Main Street. The Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District includes every fronting building on Main Street between U.S. Route 9 and Park Place; every building on Park Place between Main Street and Albertson Street and a few intact buildings at the west end of Albertson Street. The general character of the neighborhood is residential with a mixture of mid-nineteenth and twentieth century dwellings. The terrain of the Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District slopes from east to west with grassy lawns, small bushes and hedges and trees of varying heights.
The Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District consists of thirty contributing resources (twenty-three dwellings, two garages, four carriage barns and one barn) and six non-contributing resources (one dwellings, two garages, one bomb shelter, one well and one apartment building). Most of the dwellings within the Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District are two-story, set back from the street. As the buildings within the Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District have sustained few alterations since their construction, the setting of the district, within its boundary, as a small hamlet of the mid-to-late nineteenth-century, remains virtually unchanged. The surrounding area, with its nearby commercial, public, and residential buildings has undergone extensive change. This extensive modern infill has altered the surrounding areas. The Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District's boundary represents the original acreage associated with the buildings included within the district.
The Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District is architecturally significant as an intact collection of mid-nineteenth dwellings that survive with excellent integrity in the village of Hyde Park. The dwellings were built primarily between 1840 and 1860. These dwellings, representing a typical village residential streetscape from the period of significance, were not designed by architects in high styles but are vernacular versions of popular architectural styles. This intact group of dwellings, built on small village plots, allows the transition from Late-Federal to Greek Revival through later romantic revival detailing, as interpreted by local carpenters in the Hudson Valley, to be examined. The Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District still retains its character as the center of a small hamlet much as it did when the buildings were originally constructed.
The Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District section of Hyde Park is historically and architecturally significant as the most intact collection of mid-nineteenth century dwellings in the town of Hyde Park. Primarily built between 1840 and 1865, with a few contributing buildings built between 1865 and 1927, these houses as a group represent a typical village residential streetscape from the mid-nineteenth century. The houses are all vernacular versions of popular architectural styles from the period of significance. Although not architect designed, these buildings display a variety of architectural detailing associated with the late-Federal, Greek and Gothic Revivals and Queen Anne styles.
The area of Dutchess County known as Hyde Park was made up of three early land grants: the "water-lots" section of the "Nine Partners Patent" of 1697; the Pawling Patent of 1696; and the Fauconnier Patent of 1705. The Pawling Patent was subdivided ca.1698. As early as 1730, a part of the Fauconnier Patent was known as Hyde Park. Very little settlement occurred in the area prior to the mid-eighteenth century. A number of large estates were established in Hyde Park as early as 1760, including the John Bard Estate and the George Rymph farm. Dr. Bard's use of his estate as a retreat and retirement home helped to set the pattern of large elegant estates along the Hudson River in Hyde Park.
By the 1790s, considerable growth had taken place along the Post Road. Two hamlets had been established: Staatsburg at the north end of town and Hyde Park one-half mile east of the Hudson River. The town of Hyde Park was established in 1821. During the same period that the hamlets were developing, wealthy families continued to purchase large tracts of riverfront property for use as estates and retirement retreats. Wealthy estate owners included the Bard, Roosevelt, Rogers, Langdon, Astor, Vanderbilt and Mills families.
The influence of the owners of these large estates slowed the growth of the village. As late as the 1930's, dirt roads connected the great estates and led through the village. The spread of the automobile and the ascent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the Presidency of the United States helped to shape the village's development during this century. FDR's influence contributed to the construction of a number of buildings within the town including the Hyde Park Elementary School and the U.S. Post Office. Since the 1950's, several of the large estates along the Hudson River have become designated state parks or national historic sites. Other estates have been subdivided or sold to individuals.
Main Street was the first purely residential street that developed off the crossroad in the village. The land was parceled off beginning in 1836 from part of a tract of land owned by Judge William W. Woodworth. The tract was subdivided into approximately one hundred lots that on average, measured fifty by one hundred feet deep. The right-angle road system found in the village did not follow the contour of the land, and prior to 1840 only the flat area one block west of the Post Road had been developed. Main Street was surveyed twenty feet wider than other roads in the community.
Most of the houses within the Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District were already constructed by the mid-nineteenth century. The Gillette Map of 1858 identifies a number of local businesses and properties, including a coal and lumber yard, Methodist Church, blacksmith shop, a shoemaker, carpenter, a saddle and harness shop, general store, a hotel, and many residences.
Virtually all of the first owners and builders of the houses within the Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District whose occupations are known, were merchants and craftsmen. The other two important buildings constructed prior to 1848 were the Baptist Church, built ca.1946-47, and the Methodist parsonage across the street, ca.1856. The 1867 Beers Atlas map, listed two additional dwellings within the district. A house at 28 Park Place, owned by lawyer, John A Stoutenburgh and one at 22 Main Street, owned by a wagon maker named Richard Pritchard. The final nineteenth-century addition to the district was built ca.1895, at 9 Main Street. The owner of the house was a well known figure in the history of Hyde Park, Charles Silvester Piersauli. Piersauli was at various times a bicycle repairman, the owner of a fish market, butcher shop and the first soda fountain in the village. Piersauli is best known for his hobby of photography which resulted in many high-quality photographs of the area's people and places during the 1880s and 90s.
The dwellings within the Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District were primarily the homes of middle class workers and shopkeepers. Although the businesses in Hyde Park were very much dependent on the money brought into the community from the surrounding wealthy estates (Daniel Wigg, for example, was known to have shod the horses for most of the estates) there was little direct connection between the wealthy estate owners and the district. Over time the estate owners' influence began to be shown on the district. Mrs. Archibald Rogers, mother of the builder of the estate known as Crumwold, purchased 6 Main Street in 1860. Mrs. Rogers is probably responsible for the adding of the Mansard roof to the house. The building at number 23 Main Street also underwent a transformation into the popular Second Empire style, under the ownership of Dr. J. Sterling Bird, who had his offices in the eastern section of the village. Number 28 Main Street became the home of James Porter, a gardener for the Vanderbilt Estate. Stephan Joseph, owner of 19 Albertson Street was a coachman at one of the estates. Robert Livingston, a direct descendent of the Clermont Livingstons, bought the large house at 19 Park Place. In 1891, the Livingston house became the rectory for St. James Church, and in 1895 was purchased for the parish by Archibald Rogers. Soon after, John Huyler, a candy manufacturer and local estate owner, bought the old Baptist Church building at 15 Park Place and converted it into a gym for the YMCA and the local school.
During the early twentieth century the buildings within the Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District had other direct connections to the great estates. The house at number 4 Main Street, was first the home of Ed Harrigan, superintendent for the Rogers Estate, and later John Reeves, powerhouse engineer for the Vanderbilt Estate. The owner of 20 Main Street was the head herdsman for the Vanderbilts. The house at 21 Main Street was owned by a greenhouse worker for the Vanderbilts. Henry Nesbitt left the dwelling at 13 Main Street to become housekeeper and custodian in the FDR estate.
The final and most direct link to the estate families was the 1927 sponsorship of the construction of the town library by Sarah Roosevelt, FDR's mother) in memory of her late husband. Roosevelt, then governor of New York, was personally involved with the design of the library. FDR worked with the architect, Henry Toombs, formerly with McKim, Mead and White and designer of Val-Kill Cottage two years earlier.
The architectural trends within the Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District can be seen through this brief overview. The dominant influence on these modest, middle class houses during the 1840s was the Greek Revival style, then reaching its peak of popularity in the Hudson Valley. Only a few of the houses are high style examples of which number 18 Main Street, with its temple front, is the best example. The more common type of house in the district was the less high-style version of the Greek Revival. This style retained the side gable roof from the Federal period but introduced Greek Revival style gable returns, corner blocks and shoulder trim around doors and windows, and square columned full-height porches. The constrictive nature of the district's narrow lots dictated the width of the dwellings, thus the use of the three bay form rather than a more traditional five bay form.
As the village grew during the 1850s, newer architectural styles began to appear with the Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District. These buildings were vernacular interpretations of Gothic Revival or other Victorian styles. Their decorative architectural details, such as jigsawn brackets, turned porch posts, ornate railings, round and pointed arched windows, label moldings and steeply pitched, multiple gable roofs. In addition, two of the buildings within the district were architecturally updated with the addition of Mansard roofs.
The architectural significance of the Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District is largely due to the highly intact streetscape rather that the stylistic quality of particular buildings. Although many of the front porches no longer survive and the introduction of some twentieth-century buildings are located within the district, the nineteenth-century appearance of the district remains highly intact. The dwellings within the Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District retain their location, setting, design and materials. In terms of setting, the dwellings retain their small village plots. In terms of design and materials, the dwellings retain their original form, including intact rooflines and walls, fenestration, porches, wood siding and decorative trim. The Main Street-Park Place-Albertson Street Historic District is a distinctive historical and architectural enclave in the town of Hyde Park.
Hasbrouck, Frank, ed. The History of Dutchess County, New York. Poughkeepsie, New York: S.A. Matthieu. 1909.