Rhinebeck Historic MRA
The Rhinebeck Town Multiple Resource Area was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.
The Rhinebeck Town Multiple Resource Area includes all the area in both the village and town of Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York. The town of Rhinebeck is located in northwestern Dutchess County and is bounded on the west by the Hudson River, on the north by the town of Red Hook, on the northeast by the town of Milan, on the southeast by the town of Clinton and on the south by the town of Hyde Park. The village of Rhinebeck is located near the geographic center of the town and the hamlet of Rhinecliff is located on the bank of the Hudson River in the middle of the town.
The Sixteen Mile Historic District, eight miles of which are located in Rhinebeck, and the Rhinebeck Village Historic District were listed on March 7, 1979 and August 8, 1979, respectively. The Sixteen Mile Historic District, composed of thirty contiguous river-front estates associated with the landed aristocracy in the Hudson Valley during the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, encompasses properties in the town of Clermont in Columbia County and the towns of Red Hook, Rhinebeck and Hyde Park in Dutchess County. The Rhinebeck Village Historic District incorporates approximately 340 properties in the historic core of that village. Dating from ca. 1760 to ca. 1940, the residential, commercial, religious and civic buildings included in the district reflect nearly every aspect of the historical development of the village. The Robert Sands Estate (ca. 1796), an elegant Federal period manor house, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Peter (ca. 1786; 1823), the second church erected by the Palatines at Ryn Beek, are also already listed on the National Register. They were listed on February 24, 1975 and April 24, 1975, respectively.
The nominated properties, dating from ca. 1700 to ca. 1936, are widely dispersed throughout the multiple resource area.
The historic resources of the town of Rhinebeck, including the 37 nominated properties and those already listed, include a broad range of types, styles, uses of materials, periods and methods of construction which, as a group, chronicle the development of the township. The river-side estate district is composed of the remains of twelve country seats associated with Rhinebeck's landed aristocracy during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There are also several equally sophisticated, avant-garde in-land estates (Robert Sands Estate, Grasmere, the Grove and Glenburn). The eighteenth-and nineteenth-century estates of Rhinebeck's landed gentry are complemented by three widely dispersed twentieth-century estates (Mansakenning, Evergreen Lands and Stonecrest). Together, the estates provide a comprehensive overview of the evolution of country seats in the region.
Several concentrations of resources are scattered throughout the township which illustrate the growth and development of three separate communities. The history of the village of Rhinebeck, a prosperous, sophisticated and cosmopolitan center of commerce, is reflected in the commercial, residential, civic, and religious properties encompassed by the Rhinebeck Village Historic District. Other aspects of village life are represented in the three village properties within the corporate limits of the village but beyond the district boundaries: the Astor Home for Children (ca. 1914), the Maples (ca. 1833; 1860s) and the Benner House (ca. 1739).
A collection of four discontiguous properties in Wurtemburg reflect the development of this Palatine farming community and provide a basis for understanding the evolution of the German vernacular building tradition. They are a nineteenth-century church, an eighteenth-century farmhouse and two nineteenth-century farmhouses (St. Paul's Lutheran Church, the Pultz Farmhouse, the John H. Traver Farmhouse and the Marquardt Farmhouse. These simple vernacular buildings are the only extant historic properties that represent this Palatine community.
Six discontiguous properties in the hamlet of Rhinecliff reflect the development of that community during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a ferry landing, steamboat landing and rail stop. In general, these properties, which include a church and adjacent parsonage, commercial building, civic building, hotel and residence, along with the already listed Rhinecliff Depot (Sixteen Mile Historic District), are on a smaller, more modest scale than similar resources found in the more sophisticated, cosmopolitan village of Rhinebeck and reflect Rhinecliff's secondary position to Rhinebeck throughout its history. These six properties are the only intact, historic properties in the hamlet. Although much of Rhinecliff's building stock dates from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, most buildings have lost their original integrity due to extensive alterations.
In addition to the scattered pockets of concentrated development, the multiple resource area includes a variety of widely dispersed, rural properties. The previously mentioned Benner House, although presently in a village setting, is one of a group of nine rural, eighteenth-century stone farmhouses in the German vernacular building tradition. Widely dispersed throughout the township, these houses complement the three eighteenth-century vernacular stone houses in the Sixteen Mile Historic District (the Feller Farmhouse, the Jacob Kip House and the Abraham Kip House) and provide a basis for understanding the building traditions and living patterns of ethnic groups of Northern European descent in the Hudson Valley. (Only eight are presently nominated; the ninth could not be adequately studied because access was denied.)
Another group of widely dispersed farmhouses, most of which date from the nineteenth century, incorporate characteristics more commonly associated with nationally popular styles of the period, particularly the Federal and Greek Revival styles during the first half of the century and picturesque, eclectic styles during the second half of the century. Some retain period outbuildings and substantial portions of their original acreage; thus, they also reflect the continued importance of agriculture in the region.
A group of significant late-eighteenth/early-nineteenth century Dutch-type barns are also included in the multiple resource area. Three are listed on the National Register as components of the Sixteen Mile Historic District and the Robert Sands Estate; one is nominated individually (the Slate Quarry Road Dutch Barn) and four are included as support structures associated with rural farmhouses. The barns are widely dispersed throughout the sparsely settled, agrarian sections of the township.
Several other anomalous properties are also included in the multiple resource area. They are two mid-nineteenth century, stone arch bridges across the Landsman Kill near the Grove and the Robert Sands Estate (the Salisbury Turnpike Bridge and the Pilgrims Progress Road Bridge) and the Astor Home for Children, a large, early twentieth century public institution in the village of Rhinebeck. One archeological site, the Kip-Beekman-Heermance Archeological Site is included; it incorporates the remains of the manor house of Kipsbergen (ca. 1700), destroyed by fire during the early 1900's.
See: Town of Rhinebeck
The western portion of the town of Rhinebeck, comprising approximately eight miles of river-front property, is included in the Sixteen Mile Historic District. This district is characterized by the thirty contiguous estates stretching through the towns of Clermont, Red Hook, Rhinebeck and Hyde Park in Columbia and Dutchess Counties but also includes several settlement period stone farmhouses, archeological sites and properties significant for their association with Hudson River Valley transportation themes. The district is nearly one mile wide at its widest point at the Red Hook-Rhinebeck town line and several hundred feet wide at its narrowest point along the railroad right-of-way in the vicinity of the hamlet of Rhinecliff. For ease of discussion, the area can be divided into two halves with Rhinecliff marking the center. The boundary of the northern half of the area, determined by the town line on the north, River Road (Route 103) on the east and Rhinecliff-River Road/Long Dock Road on the south, is drawn to encompass what remains of three settlement period stone houses (Feller, Jacob Kip and Abraham Kip Farmhouses, properties) and five former nineteenth and/or twentieth century estates (Orlot, Leocote, Valeur, Ferncliff and Ankony, properties). Several tenant farmhouses, including the Orlot, Ferncliff, Ankony and Long Dock Road farmhouses are also located within this area.
The northernmost property in the Rhinebeck section of the district is the Feller Farmhouse, an eighteenth-century stone farmhouse which was, during the nineteenth century, associated with the Mandara/Steen Valatje Estate. (Steen Valatje, ca. 1849-51, was the estate of Laura Astor Delano.) The Feller Farmhouse and three barns (two are late eighteenth century Dutch barns; the third dates from 1886) are located on the west side of River Road. The property is bounded on the north by the Red Hook town line and on the south by Route 199, the major thoroughfare connecting the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge with Route 9G. Both sides of the road are lined with dry-laid stone walls. The district boundary extends to encompass the former Steen Valatje gatehouse, a small, brick Gothic Revival style building located on the north side of Route 199 east of River Road.
The Orlot estate lies south of Route 199. The present manor house of Orlot is a stucco house designed in 1942 by L. Barcel LaFarge. The Orlot Farmhouse, a late eighteenth century frame building, survives intact on the north side of the private access road to Orlot. Dry-laid stone walls on the west side of River Road define the Orlot property line.
The Hook Schoolhouse, a picturesque frame building erected ca. 1877, is located close to the road just south of Orlot at the intersection of Lower Hook and River Roads. The next estate is Leacote, originally known as the Meadows when the property was owned by General Wainwright and a granddaughter of Robert Livingston. Although the mid-nineteenth century, stone Gothic Revival style manor house no longer survives, a variety of handsome, late nineteenth century stone outbuildings survive intact. A modern brick mansion overlooking the Hudson River was erected in 1980 on the site of the former Leacote manor house.
The Valeur Estate is located south of Leacote. The Valeur manor house, an elegant Georgian mansion constructed of stone, was designed ca. 1926 by Mott B. Schmidt for Alice Astor, daughter of John Jacob Astor IV of Ferncliff, and her husband, Prince Serge Oblensky.
South of the Valeur estate is Ferncliff, the nineteenth century estate of John Jacob Astor IV and, subsequently, Vincent Astor. The Ferncliff manor house no longer survives. However, a number of significant support structures survive intact, including two picturesque, nineteenth-century gatehouses, a classically inspired, turn-of-the-century Casino designed by McKim, Mead and White and a classically inspired Tea House/Garden House.
The Ankony Estate, bounded on the north by Ferncliff and on the south by Rhinecliff-River Road, marks the end of the river-side estates in this section of the district. The mansion of William Bergh Kip, a ca. 1830 Greek Revival style building later enlarged and remodeled with the addition of a mansard roof, was demolished in 1977. A simple, two-story, three-bay, Federal style frame farmhouse (ca. 1800) and an extensive complex of picturesque, late nineteenth century barns, stables and sheds survive of intact.
Beyond the Ankony estate, the boundary of the district continues westward along the north side of Rhinecliff Road to encompass the Abraham Kip House. The Kip House, an eighteenth-century stone house in the vernacular Dutch building tradition, is located on the north side of the Y-intersection of Long Dock Road, which runs northeastward to the river, and Rhinecliff/River Road, which veers southward towards the hamlet of Rhinecliff. The Heermance House and Law Office is located on the south side of the Y-intersection and, although adjacent to the Abraham Kip House, is not included in the Sixteen Mile Historic District. The Heermance House (ca. 1830; 1860) is a two-story, three-bay side-hall frame dwelling with restrained, Federal style features and a veneer of late-nineteenth century, picturesque decorative detailing. A diminutive, Gothic-inspired law office is included on the property.
Beyond the Abraham Kip House, the boundary of the district veers northwestward along the north side of Long Dock Road to encompass a slightly altered, two-story, five-bay, center hall farmhouse (ca. 1850) and, at the end of the road overlooking the Hudson River, the Jacob Kip House, a two-part, stone and frame house. The dwelling, originally a one-room-plan stone house (ca. 1708) in the Dutch vernacular building tradition, was enlarged and remodeled in several stages during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In its final, present form, it is composed of a two-story, stone main block with a two-story frame north wing.
Beyond the Jacob Kip House, the boundary of the district turns southward and runs along the railroad right-of-way on the bank of the river. The boundary is drawn to exclude the properties along this section of Rhinecliff-River Road and the small, riverside hamlet of Rhinecliff, a popular steamboat landing during the early/mid-nineteenth century and an important rail stop on Hudson River Railroad line during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The excluded section of Rhinecliff Road is composed of scattered modern and extensively altered older dwellings which mark the northern fringes of Rhinecliff. The Kip-Beekman-Heermance Archeological Site is also located along this section of Rhinecliff Road, approximately one-quarter mile north of the hamlet on the east side of the road. The site encompasses a small lot (less than one acre) currently associated with the remains of the "Rhinebeck Mansion," the country seat of three of Rhinebeck's most prominent families during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The mansion, originally a one-room-plan stone house in the Dutch vernacular building tradition, was enlarged and remodeled in several stages during the nineteenth century. It was destroyed by fire in the early twentieth century.
See: Rhinecliff Hamlet
South of Rhinecliff, the boundary of the Sixteen Mile Historic District follows the west side of Route 85 to the Rhinecliff-Hyde Park town line approximately three miles to the south. This section of the district is composed of the remains of six estates, including Ellerslie, Wilderstein, Wildercliff, Wyndclyff, Whispering Pines and Linwood.
The manor house associated with Ellerslie, formerly the estate of Levi P. Morton, no longer survives. Historic buildings and support structures that do survive include the Ellerslie Schoolhouse (a picturesque board-and-batten, Gothic Revival style building, ca. 1860) and two nineteenth-century frame farmhouses.
Wilderstein, the nineteenth-century estate of Thomas H. Suckley, is located south of Ellerslie. The mansion (ca. 1853; an Italian Villa style frame building remodelled ca. 1887-9 in the Queen Anne style) and several outbuildings survive intact.
Wildercliff is located south of Wilderstein. The manor house, erected ca. 1799 and enlarged and remodelled throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is a two-story, four-bay, gambrel-roofed frame building with classically inspired features. Wildercliff was the country seat of Catherine Livingston (b. 1752; d. 1849; Chancellor Robert Livingston's sister) and Reverend Freeborn Garrettson (b. 1752; d. 1827).
The nineteenth-century estate of Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones, Wyndclyff, is located south of Wildercliff. The extensively deteriorated, Norman style brick mansion, erected ca. 1853, and a mid-nineteenth century carriage house are the only extant historic buildings associated with Wyndclyff.
Whispering Pines is located south of Wyndclyff. The stuccoed, Mission style manor house, erected ca. 1906, and a small playhouse survive intact.
The southernmost Rhinebeck estate in the Sixteen Mile Historic District is Linwood, whose historic mansion no longer survives. The property is dominated by a modern brick, religious retreat complex; however, several mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century support structures survive intact. The estate was originally associated with Margaret Livingston (sister of Chancellor Robert Livingston) and Thomas Tillotson, who erected their country seat here in 1794.
South of Linwood, the boundary of the district follows the shore of Vandenburg Cove, a large cove into which the Landsman Kill and Fallsburg Creeks empty. South of the cove, the district extends into the town of Hyde Park. The remainder of the town can be divided into several geographic areas defined by the major, man-made thoroughfares, Routes 9, 9G and 308. These thoroughfares contain the greatest concentration of both historic and current development. Beyond these primary routes, numerous sparsely settled rural roads traverse the wilderness and extensive farmlands which characterize much of the land in Rhinebeck.
The intersection of Routes 9 and 308 define the core of the village of Rhinebeck, a roughly square-shaped, 1.5 square-mile area located approximately two miles east of the Hudson River. The Rhinebeck Village Historic District encompasses approximately 167 acres in the village, including approximately 340 properties along both sides of East and West Market Streets (Route 308), Montgomery Street and Mill Street (Route 9), Mulberry, Parsonage and Beech Streets (north-south cross streets) and South, Livingston and Chestnut Streets (east-west cross streets). The district boundary includes the entire historic core of the village, a remarkably intact collection of commercial, residential, religious and civic buildings which together reflect the growth and development of Rhinebeck during the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Three historic properties survive intact beyond the boundaries of the district but within the corporate limits of the village. They are the Astor Home for Children (ca. 1914), the Maples (ca. 1833) and the Benner House (ca. 1739). The Astor Home for Children, on the west side of Mill Street, is separated from the southern edge of the Rhinebeck Village Historic District by two prominent intrusions, precluding its inclusion in the district. The large, brick Jacobean Revival style institutional building is distinguished by its gabled pavilions, casement windows with leaded glass, relief carving in panels between first and second-story windows, slate roof and multiple chimneys. Although in village surroundings on the heavily traveled Mill Street (Route 9), the relatively large lot with thick trees creates an isolated, secluded setting for the children's home.
The Maples, an elegant, late Federal/early Greek Revival style frame dwelling with a two-story, five-bay, center-hall composition and a veneer of picturesque, late-nineteenth century ornamentation, is located on the west side of Montgomery Street in the north-central section of the village. The Benner House is located in the south-central section of the village near the village-town line on the north side of the Mill Road-Route 9 intersection, surrounded by mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century residential development in a village setting. The small, rectangular, gable-roofed building is a one-room-plan stone house in the German vernacular building tradition.
Beyond the village boundaries in all directions, the town of Rhinebeck becomes rural in character; until the 1970s and 1980s, this area had remained relatively undisturbed and undeveloped. Mid to late twentieth century development, particularly suburban residential enclaves and shopping malls has occurred along most of the primary thoroughfares, especially routes 9 and 9G. However, in spite of tremendous development pressures recently, a large number of historic rural properties survive intact. North and northeast of the village, four rural, vernacular farmhouses survive intact and are included as individual components within the multiple resource area. They are the Traver House (ca. 1730; 1790, Wynkoop Lane), the J. Cox Farm (ca. 1842, Old Post Road North), the Sipperly-Lown Farm (ca. 1868, Route 9) and the Van Vredenburg Farm (ca. 1830, Cedar Heights Road). The Traver House is a two-room plan, stone and frame farmhouse in the Dutch/German vernacular building tradition. The J. Cox Farmhouse is a five-bay, center-hall stone and brick house with Greek Revival style features. The Sipperly-Lown Farmhouse is a picturesque, frame cottage with a cross-gabled roof and a variety of decorative exterior woodwork. The Van Vredenburg Farmhouse is a restrained, Greek Revival style farmhouse. The traditional two-story, five-bay, center-hall form is enhanced with a veneer of picturesque, late nineteenth century ornamental woodwork. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Peter, individually listed on the National Register on April 24, 1975 with its two cemeteries, parsonage and schoolhouse, is also located north of the village on Route 9. The Old Stone Church, as it is commonly known, was erected in 1786 and enlarged and remodelled in 1823. The fieldstone church is a large, rectangular, gable-roofed building with Federal style features, including a prominent tower with a delicate cupola.
Seven properties survive intact to the east of the village. The Jan Pier House (ca. 1761; 1881, East Market Street) is located just beyond the village line. Formerly rural in character, the immediate neighborhood surrounding the Pier house is currently characterized by relatively dense, twentieth-century commercial and residential development along the heavily travelled Route 308. The Jan Pier house is an eighteenth-century stone house which was remodelled ca. 1881 with fashionable, Second Empire style features including a polychrome slate mansard roof and decorative window trim.
Further east along Route 308, the rural character of the township prevails. Just past the intersection of Routes 9G and 308, four historic resources survive intact along Miller Road, a heavily wooded, sparsely settled rural road. Two of these properties, the Robert Sands Estate (National Register: February 24, 1975) and the Grove are nineteenth century country seats associated with several of Rhinebeck's foremost families, the Rutsens, Schuylers and the Millers. The manor houses, related support structures and extensive acreage of both estates survive intact. The Robert Sands manor house, erected 1796, is an elegant, Federal period building. Although typical and traditional for the region in its two-story, five-bay, center-hall form, the manor house displays a high degree of sophistication in its elaborate ornamentation. An intact Dutch barn is included on the 150-acre parcel of land associated with the estate. The Grove (ca. 1795, 1859, 1896) also began as a traditional two-story, five-bay, Federal style manor house with elegant detailing. The building evolved in several stages during the nineteenth century into its final form, an asymmetrical, three-story manor house with classically inspired design features. The 20.9 acres include an elegant, Neoclassical style carriage house, designed by McKim, Mead and White in 1892, and a tenant house and barn complex. The Grove and Sands properties are nearly adjacent, separated only by the Landsman Kill which, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, powered Rutsen's mills. Two stone arch bridges, the Salisbury Turnpike Bridge and Pilgrim's Progress Road Bridge cross the creek in the immediate vicinity of the Grove and Sands estates on Miller Road.
The J. E. Traver House (ca. 1800, 1850s) is also located east of the village. The house, a two-story, five-bay, center-hall Federal style farmhouse with Gothic-inspired ornamentation, is located at the T-intersection of Feller Road and Violet Hill Road (Route 101). The 14.5 acres include a massive barn complex (ca. 1860s) with a cross-gable roof, board-and-batten siding and decorative, quatrefoil windows.
The Williams Farm (ca. 1835) is located much further to the east, near the Rhinebeck-Milan town line. The one and one-half story, five-bay Greek Revival style farmhouse and related support structures occupy a 109-acre parcel of land on a tributary of the Landsman Kill on Enterprise Road, a rural road off Route 52 beyond Eighmyville.
A large number of intact historic resources are located on or near Route 9 south of the village of Rhinebeck.
The Grasmere estate (ca. 1824) is located on the south side of Mill Road just below the village line. The estate, the country seat of a branch of the Livingston family, is composed of a five-bay, center-hall, Federal period manor house (ca. 1824; enlarged and remodelled in several stages during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries), evidence of early twentieth century formal gardens, two small, stuccoed tenant houses (ca. 1916) and a large, early twentieth century stone barn complex. The primary access to the manor house, marked by stone walls and brick gateposts, runs southward off of Mill Street opposite the tenant houses. A secondary entrance, providing access to the barn complex, runs westward off of Route 9.
The Steenburg Tavern (ca. 1750, 1800) is located on the west side of Route 9 at the head of the driveway to the Grasmere barns. The Steenburg Tavern, an eighteenth-century stone house in the regional vernacular building tradition, occupies a small, heavily wooded plot and remains relatively secluded from the busy thoroughfare just south of the village.
The Fredenburg House (ca. 1716, 1800) is located approximately one and one-half miles south of the village on the west side of a short section of the Old Post Road. (Three sections of the Old Post Road survive intact in the town of Rhinebeck. In general, however, the modern highway - Route 9 - replaced the old road, generally straightening the winding course of the post road.) The Fredenburg House, an eighteenth-century, two-room plan stone house in the German vernacular building tradition, survives intact in its rural, undeveloped setting, recalling the original character of the Old Post Road.
Just south of the Old Post Road, a long, private road off the west side of Route 9 provides access to the Barringer House (ca. 1830), a two-story, three-bay frame farmhouse with late Federal/early Greek Revival style features. The stylish farmhouse, derived from more cosmopolitan sources, provides a dramatic contrast to the ethnic and regional vernacular building traditions found in Rhinebeck during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Glenburn, the historically and architecturally significant estate of the Olin-Dows family, is located at the end of a long private road off the west side of Route 9 approximately three miles south of the village. The house, erected in 1837 for Julie Olin (Olin Dows's maternal grandmother), evolved throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries into a rambling and asymmetrical manor house with predominant, Colonial Revival style features. The secluded, heavily wooded property is traversed by the Fallsburg Creek as it flows southwestward towards Vandenburg Cove.
Glenburn lies immediately north of Fox Hollow Farms, the elegant, Colonial Revival style manor house erected in 1910 by Tracey Dows, Olin Dows's father. (The building is currently used as a private school known as the Rhinebeck School.) The two-story, five-bay, gable-roofed mansion with giant portico appears eligible for the National Register but at this writing lacks sufficient information to be listed on the National Register. If and when access is permitted and information becomes available, Fox Hollow will be evaluated. The extensive acreage associated with the Rhinebeck School stretches south towards Vandenburg Cove and west towards Route 85, abutting the eastern edge of the Sixteen Mile Historic District.
The Hillside Methodist Chapel (ca. 1855) is located on a knoll overlooking Route 9 and extensive farmland to the west. The rustic and picturesque, Gothic-inspired stone chapel and simple frame parsonage occupy a one-acre lot in a heavily wooded, undeveloped section of Route 9 just south of Delano Drive, approximately three miles south of the village.
Delano Drive, a modern, suburban enclave, provides access to Evergreen Lands, the stone, stucco and half-timbered, Tudor Revival style residence of Laura Delano, a cousin of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Erected in 1932, the house was designed by John Russell Pope as a caretaker's lodge for a larger manor house that was never built. The cottage occupies a well-landscaped lawn surrounded by thick woods and retains its secluded, rural setting typical of country seats in Rhinebeck during the early twentieth century.
Two other medium-size, early twentieth century country estates are also located south of the village. They are Stonecrest and Mansakenning. Stonecrest (ca. 1905), a rambling, Shingle style country house with a broad verandah overlooking the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains to the west, is sited on a knoll on the east side of Old Post Road at the Rhinebeck-Hyde Park town line. The house and its large and stylish stone carriage house are surrounded by a well-landscaped, 8.7-acre lot in a sparsely populated, twentieth-century residential neighborhood. Mansakenning (ca. 1903) is located at the end of a long private road running southward off of Ackert Hook Road, a sparsely settled rural road linking Routes 9 and 9G in the southeast quadrant of the town. Mansakenning, a heavily wooded, extremely isolated 113-acre estate, includes a two-story, five-bay, center-hall manor house executed in stone in a picturesque, vernacular taste, a small, frame cottage, and, mid-way along the one-half mile private road, a carriage house (converted into residential space) and a barn.
The J. W. Moore House (ca. 1850) is located on the south side of Mill Road approximately one and one-half miles southwest of the village. Mill Road, a sparsely settled farm road, parallels the Landsman Kill as it flows southwestward through the Grasmere estate to meet the Rhinebeck Creek at the former Fritz Mill Pond. The J. W. Moore House, a picturesque, Gothic-inspired, board-and-batten cottage with a cross-gable roof, lies between Mill Road and the Landsman Kill just south of the former mill pond. The farmhouse and related picturesque support structures occupy a 7-acre parcel of land obscured from the road by thick rows of pine trees.
A number of intact historic resources are clustered in the southeast corner of the town near the Rhinebeck-Clinton town line. Four properties, the Pultz Farmhouse, Marquardt Farmhouse, John H. Traver Farmhouse and St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Parsonage and Cemetery are located along a one-mile stretch of Wurtemburg Road, a sparsely settled, rural road marking the settlement of Wurtemburg, a farming community of a group of Palatine settlers during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The focal point of the group is the church, a large, rectangular, gable-roofed frame edifice with a prominent central tower. Begun in 1802, enlarged in 1832 and remodelled in 1861, the church, in its present form and decoration, reflects the Baroque Italianate style popular in the community during the Civil War era. The church, similarly styled parsonage (ca. 1861) and nineteenth-century burial grounds occupy a 3.6 acre lot on the east side of Wurtemburg Road just north of Frost Road.
The John H. Traver Farmhouse (ca. 1876), approximately one-quarter mile south of St. Paul's, occupies a large corner lot on the west side of Wurtemburg Road at the Vlei Road intersection. The two-story, three-bay, cubic-massed house is surmounted by a low-pitched hipped roof and displays Baroque Italianate style design features. A broad verandah with decorative woodwork spans the facade. Farm-related outbuildings, including a late eighteenth century Dutch barn, occupy the 10.3-acre parcel. (The Traver House is similar to the St. Paul's Parsonage and nearly identical to another farmhouse at the Wurtemburg/Stone Quarry Road (Route 19) intersection one mile to the north. The identical farmhouse, also believed to be associated with the Traver family, is yet [at this writing] to be investigated and evaluated for National Register eligibility.) One-half mile south of the John H. Traver House, on the southeast corner of the Schultz Hill-Wurtemburg Roads intersection, is the Marquardt Farm (ca. 1810), a two-story, five-bay, center-hall frame building. In contrast to the other historic buildings in Wurtemburg which reflect regional and ethic vernacular building traditions, the Marquardt farmhouse is a typical interpretation of the nationally popular Federal style. The property includes a collection of intact, farm-related outbuildings, including a late eighteenth century, Dutch-type barn.
The Pultz Farmhouse, (ca. 1750, 1800) the oldest extant structure in the Wurtemburg community, is located one-quarter mile north of St. Paul's on the east side of Wurtemburg Road. Like the Dutch and German stone houses of the eighteenth century, the frame Pultz farmhouse evolved in a linear progression in several stages during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In its final form, the Pultz farmhouse is a one- to one and one-half story, three-part building with a gable roof. A decorative, bracketed cornice was added to the modest, vernacular dwelling during the mid-to late nineteenth century.
Two of the three remaining properties in the southeast corner of the town, the Progue House and Strawberry Hill, are located in the vicinity of Route 85 just west of Route 9G. The Progue House (ca. 1763), a large, two-story stone house in the regional vernacular building tradition, is located on the north side of Primrose Hill Road, a sparsely settled, rural farm road. Strawberry Hill (ca. 1762), also a relatively large stone house in the regional vernacular building tradition, is located on the northeast side of Ackert Hook Road, a heavily wooded, unpopulated rural road leading to Hyde Park. The last property, the Slate Quarry Road Dutch Barn (ca. 1790), is located on the north side of Slate Quarry Road (Route 19) three-quarter miles east of Route 9G. The rectangular, gable-roofed, H-frame farm building is sited on a flat grassy lot just east of its related farmhouse, a Greek Revival style frame building (ca.1830s). According to currently available information, the farmhouse does not appear to be eligible for the National Register due to extensive alterations.
There are several historic resources in Rhinebeck that could not be adequately studied because access was denied. If and when access is permitted, the resources will be studied, evaluated against the National Register criteria and nominated. (The only known property currently unavailable for study is Fox Hollow, the early twentieth century estate of Tracey Dows. An eighteenth-century stone farmhouse is also located on the Fox Hollow property.)
In addition to the Dutch barns included in this submission and those already listed, there may be other Dutch-type barns and/or specialty support structures that were not identified and/or adequately documented to include in this proposal. Given the rural character of Rhinebeck and the numerous substantially intact farmsteads, it appears likely that additional farm-related support structures may be identified in the future; if and when this occurs, they will be evaluated against the National Register criteria and nominated.
The Rhinebeck Town Multiple Resource Area includes thirty-seven architecturally and/or historically significant properties which reflect the development of the town of Rhinebeck between ca. 1700 and the mid-1930s. The resources represent a wide variety of architectural types, periods, styles, uses of material and methods of construction and a broad range of important historical themes. The earliest extant resources, stone farmhouses in the Dutch and German vernacular building traditions, provide important information about building and living patterns of Dutch and Palatine settlers in the Hudson Valley during the eighteenth century. Another group of farmhouses, generally dating from the nineteenth century, reflect the town's development as a prosperous, rural agrarian community. They illustrate both continuity and change in local vernacular building traditions. Some of these farmhouses retain significant groups of farm-related support structures as well as substantial portions of their original acreage, providing an important resource for the future study of rural life in the mid-Hudson region prior to the American Industrial Revolution.
In addition to Rhinebeck's set of surviving agrarian buildings and complexes, the multiple resource area also contains one of the nation's most significant concentrations of nineteenth century estate architecture. Several nominated properties, as well as those already listed in the Sixteen Mile Historic District (National Register: 3-7-79), illustrate the establishment and evolution of country seats by wealthy, landed gentry along the Hudson River during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The two commercial centers of Rhinebeck and Rhinecliff have their own distinctive histories that reflect influences from both the rural and suburban forces, and a number of residential, commercial and religious properties chronicle the variety of styles unique to these areas. The multiple resource area includes other resources representing distinctive regional building types relating to important local and regional themes, including nineteenth-century rural ecclesiastical architecture, properties which illustrate the emergence of the Picturesque/Romantic Movement, mid-nineteenth century bridge construction, suburbanization and the emergence of twentieth-century public institutions. Together, the thirty-seven nominated resources, in conjunction with the two historic districts and two individual properties already listed on the National Register reflect aspects of all the important themes central to the history of Rhinebeck.
The first deed for land in Rhinebeck was granted by the Esopus Indians, members of the Mohegan Nation, to Gerrit Artsen, Arie Rosa and Jan Elton, Dutchmen from Kingston, in June 1686. In July 1686, Hendrick Kip and his brother Jacob, also Dutchmen from Kingston, were granted a second deed. Both deeds, encompassing approximately 2,200 acres, were covered by the same royal patent granted by Thomas Dongan, Governor of the Province of New York, on June 2, 1688. "The name of the Kips was given to the whole of the grant to Artsen, Rosen, Elton and Hendrick Kip, and it was for a long time known as Kipsbergen." (J. Smith", p. 253.)
In April 1697, Henry Beekman, a Dutchman from Kingston, was granted a patent containing more than 20,000 acres and including all the lands previously granted to Artsen, Rosa, Elton and the Kips. Additional lands encompassed areas to the north of Kipsbergen into the present-day town of Red Hook and to the south of Kipsbergen into the present-day town of Hyde Park. (Beekman's extensive holdings continued to be known as Kipsbergen until the Rhinebeck Precinct was recognized formally in 1734.) Apparently there were never any serious disputes or conflicts over ownership rights. Artsen, Rosa and Elton never settled in Rhinebeck; although, subsequently, several of their descendants (including the Heermance family) did reside in Rhinebeck and eventually became prominent local figures in the development of the town. Beekman was, for all practical purposes, the founding father of Rhinebeck, and his children, Colonel Henry Beekman (b. 1688; d. 1776), Catherine (b. 1683) and Cornelia (b. 1690) and their families were to play pivotal roles throughout the entire history of Rhinebeck. Henry and Cornelia married into the Livingston family, thus uniting the extensive acreage of the Rhinebeck Precinct with the Livingston Manor holdings to the north in Columbia County. Catherine married John Rutsen, an important early industrialist in Rhinebeck. Second and third generation Beekmans, Livingstons and Rutsens continued to marry among themselves as well as with other prominent families of the period, including important individuals such as General Richard Montgomery, Dr. Thomas Tillotson, Reverend Freeborn Garrettson, Governor Morgan Lewis, Philip J. Schuyler, Peter Ten Broeck and Albert Pawling. (For complete genealogies, see J. Smith, p. 257-261.)
There is no evidence that the lands conveyed by either patent were settled before 1700. Hendrick and Jacob Kip were the first to settle and build in what is now the town of Rhinebeck. "A small stone house was built on Hendrick Kip's south lot, with what are supposed to be two port holes under the eaves, looking toward the river. On the east side of this house is a stone lintel with this inscription distinctly cut: '1700 H K A K,' which are evidently the initials of Hendrick Kip and Annatje Kip, his wife. The time of the erection of the house evidently accords with that year." (J. Smith, p. 253.) The Hendrick Kip House no longer survives, but archeologically significant remains of the property are included in the Kip-Beekman-Heermance Archeological Site). The property, located on the east side of Rhinecliff Road south of Long Dock Road, is significant as the site of the earliest house in Rhinebeck. The house, occupied by members of three of Rhinebeck's most prominent families during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was enlarged and aggrandized a number of times, evolving into a rambling, three-part, stone and brick manor house. Until its demise by fire in the early twentieth century, the dwelling was renowned as the "manor house of Kipsbergen," symbolizing the roots of the Rhinebeck community. The house was of such local prominence that Franklin Delano Roosevelt based the design of the Rhinebeck Post Office on the manor house and used the ruins for the stone construction of the post office building. (The post office, erected ca. 1939, is located in the Rhinebeck Village Historic District.) The site is significant in local history and, based on an archeological survey, contains important information regarding these important families, their lifestyles and their periods of occupancy.
"The house at the Long Dock is near the south side of the land which fell to Jacob Kip. The stone part of this house has in the front wall a stone very distinctly inscribed '1708.' This was, doubtless, Jacob Kip's house, built in this year." (J. Smith, p. 253.) The Jacob Kip' House, originally a one-story, one-room-plan stone house in the Dutch vernacular building tradition, is included in the Sixteen Mile Historic District (National Register listed: March 7, 1979). The house, on the bank of the Hudson River at the end of Long Dock Road approximately one mile north of the hamlet of Rhinecliff, is significant as a settlement period stone house and, in its enlarged and expanded two-story, two-room-plan form, is an important illustration of the growth pattern and evolution of this particular ethnic vernacular house type in Rhinebeck.
A third stone house, the Abraham Kip House, is also believed to date from the first decade of the eighteenth century and is another rare example of a stone house from this early period. It, too, is included in the Sixteen Mile Historic District and, located in the immediate vicinity of the other two Kip properties, it remains an important link to the earliest settlement period in Rhinebeck. Together these three properties remain as evidence of the original early eighteenth century Dutch settlement in Rhinebeck.
A second, and much more extensive settlement of the area began when Henry Beekman, in need of settlers for his vast tract of land, induced thirty-five German families from the Palatinate to settle on his patent. Between 1708 and 1710, approximately 600 Palatines were brought from refugee camps in England to America under the sponsorship of Colonel Robert Hunter, governor of New York. The refugees were set up in settlement camps along the east and west sides of the Hudson River in Columbia and Ulster Counties and were indentured to prepare turpentine, resin, tar and pitch for the cost of their passage and board. Within a few years, the plan had failed, the project was abandoned and hundreds of Palatines had been left homeless and jobless. Most moved down into southern New York and Pennsylvania; others, including Beekman's families, remained in the mid-Hudson Valley, exerting an important influence on the subsequent growth and development of various sections of the region. The town of Rhinebeck, with its relatively high concentration of Palatine settlers, contains an unusually large number of vernacular buildings associated with German builders and craftsmen and, as such, provides a rich source for the study of the material culture associated with that group.
Henry Beekman and his son apparently offered attractive terms of settlement. Records of transactions and surveys indicate that lands were being laid out for the "High Dutchers," as the Palatines were known, as early as 1714, but Palatines do not appear to have arrived until 1715 at the earliest. The land allocated to the High Dutchers was in the north section of the patent and town, near the present-day intersection of Routes 9 and 9G, and was known as Ryn Beek. (Until 1734, when the Rhinebeck Precinct was officially recognized, only the High Dutchers' settlement was known as Ryn Beek. The remainder of the town continued to be known as Kipsbergen.)
The Palatines in Ryn Beek immediately began to cultivate the fields, erect homes and build a church. The first church in the patent, and probably in Dutchess County, was the High Dutch Reformed Protestant Church, erected ca. 1715 in Ryn Beek on the old Post Road. (J. Smith, p. 271.) Between 1715 and 1729, the church was shared by the Palatine Lutherans and Calvinists. The two denominations separated in 1729; the Calvinists retained the church in Ryn Beek and, in 1730, the Lutherans erected their own house of worship. The church was built upon land granted to the Lutherans by Gilbert Livingston approximately one-half mile north of Ryn Beek on the west side of the Post Road (now Route 9). The first church, for which no records exist, was replaced ca. 1786 by the present edifice, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Peter, which survives today in its nineteenth-century form. (This building was enlarged and remodelled in 1824 and again in 1843.) The church, listed on the National Register on April 24, 1975, is architecturally significant as a distinctive example of vernacular, ecclesiastical architecture of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in the Hudson Valley and historically significant for its associations with the German agricultural community of Ryn Beek.
Meanwhile, the Calvinists continued to conduct religious services in the original Reformed Protestant Church. In 1802, a new edifice was erected approximately four miles north of Ryn Beek in what is now the town of Red Hook (which, at the time, was embraced in the Rhinebeck Precinct) and the first church was abandoned and subsequently lost. The old cemetery, however, comprising several dozen eighteenth- and nineteenth-century gravestones, survives intact in its original pastoral setting amid extensive, late twentieth-century commercial development near the Old Post Road/Wey Road and Route 9/Route 9G intersections. The cemetery appears to be eligible for the National Register but additional research is necessary to substantiate its significance. [At this writing]
The Palatine families initially settled together in the community of Ryn Beek. Soon after, however, the community began to expand out into the patent, establishing a network of farms that moved eastward as the century progressed. Nine stone farmhouses, constructed by skilled craftsmen, carpenters and masons, survive substantially intact and eight of them are included as individual components in the multiple resource area. (The ninth, formerly associated with Fox Hollow could not be adequately studied.) The eight are the Benner House, Fredenburg House, Traver House, Steenburg Tavern, Strawberry Hill, Progue House, Jan Pier House and Cox House. (Although the Jan Pier House dates from ca. 1761, its present appearance is as a picturesque village dwelling whose primary significance is derived from its remodelling in 1881 into a fashionable, Second Empire style dwelling. It is grouped with other buildings of its type and period and is discussed later. The Cox House is also discussed elsewhere; although it, too, dates from the mid-eighteenth century, its primary significance dates from its remodelling as a Greek Revival style farmhouse.) The six remaining farmhouses included in this group are important examples of the German vernacular building tradition in Rhinebeck during the eighteenth century. As a group, they represent a distinctive regional house type and provide a basis for understanding the building traditions and living patterns of Palatines not only in Rhinebeck but in the entire mid-Hudson Valley region as well. They also help to illustrate the early pattern of farms and farming in both Rhinebeck and the region. Some retain related outbuildings (dating from the late eighteenth to late nineteenth centuries) and at least some portion of their original acreage.
Common traits of the regional Dutch, French and German stone houses of the period include uncoursed, locally quarried stone walls, gable roofs and single-room-deep linear plans, usually the result of the building's staged evolution over a period of time and/or successive generations. Decoration was limited to panelled doors and restrained molding on the interior. Although builders, craftsmen and original occupants for each of these nine vernacular stone residences will probably never be documented, it is likely that most of these were built by or for the Palatines. Although it was not possible within the scope of the inventory and nomination project to undertake a careful analysis of these houses for the purpose of identifying design and craft details that can be positively identified with Palatine traditions, field observations, limited historical data and comparison with similar houses in the region have produced some preliminary findings worth recording.
While German stone houses are generally similar to other ethnic, vernacular buildings in the region (i.e. those of the Dutch and the Huguenots), an analysis of this surviving group in Rhinebeck and others in the region reveals subtle distinctions among the buildings of the various groups within the context of late medieval, Northern European vernacular building traditions.
The German type appears to have generally originated in a squarish, one-room-plan house similar in construction to the Dutch with load-bearing masonry walls and large wooden beams anchoring the side walls and supporting the garret floor. The gable roof with wide-spaced rafters and collar beams resting on plates embedded in the top of the side walls is also regionally consistent. However, in German houses, the apex of the gable end is often sheathed with clapboard rather than completed with masonry. The German types also appear to differ in their plan and orientation. While Dutch houses generally have entrances on side walls, the German houses most often have entrances on the gable end opposite the chimney end. Hillside sites are more prevalent for German houses. While the Dutch houses were sited on level ground and usually expanded into three-room, linear configurations, the Germans seem to have preferred a two-room plan. This relates to their evident affinity for internal chimneys with a fireplace opening in a hall-kitchen and a stove, with its firebox opening into the fireplace, heating the parlor space in the second room. Most documented eighteenth-century German houses in the Hudson Valley (as well as in the Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys) have two-room plans, often enlarged from older, one-room houses. It also appears that a trend away from central chimneys to gable chimneys occurred fairly early in the 1700s, probably as jambless fireplaces were replaced by enclosed hearths. Two houses in the multiple resource area (the Van Vredenburg House and Steenburg Tavern) also retain their garret level smoking chambers, a domed section of the chimney; both buildings have central chimneys and began with jambless fireplaces.
Despite their apparent distinction, each of the six nominated stone houses embodies a variety of distinctive features associated with the regional stone vernacular building tradition in general and what follows here and in the individual nomination documents should be considered preliminary until more expansive study can be undertaken.
The Benner House (ca. 1739) is the only extant example of a one-room-plan farmhouse, the prototypical form from which German rural houses evolved during the eighteenth century. The gable end location of its entrance and the frame construction of the apex of the gable end is characteristic of the type. The Fredenburg House (ca. 1716; mid-eighteenth century) is an important illustration of the typical pattern of growth of the one-room plan into the two-room format. In this example, the chimney was centrally located, servicing both rooms. The Traver House (ca. 1730; 1780/90) also illustrates the two-stage evolution of the German stone house type. With its second room added in frame construction, it is an unusual example of the type, having an end chimney rather than a single, central one. The Traver House also is built into a hillside and illustrates a method of siting particularly popular with the Germans in the Hudson Valley and other regions of the country. The Steenburg Tavern (ca. 1750; 1790), another important two-stage, two-room plan stone house with a central chimney, also has a typical hillside siting. Its sweeping gable roof, a feature that is often commonly and mistakenly attributed to early Dutch architecture, is a later nineteenth-century addition. The building, remembered locally as a Revolutionary War era tavern (conveniently located on the Old Post Road) and, subsequently, as a dependency to Grasmere (the Montgomery-Livingston estate), has been long-remembered as a local landmark.
Local tradition holds that Strawberry Hill was built in 1762 for Henry Beekman (who died in 1776 at the age of 88). While changes to the siting of the house and the nature and orientation of its entrance have provided the house with a certain formality and stylistic pretension, the house is basically a two-room-plan, central-chimney house embanked into a hillside. Although the early-twentieth century additions and alterations have obscured its ethnic distinctions, the resource retains its significance as a mid-eighteenth century stone house in the regional, vernacular building tradition. Strawberry Hill is one of two unusually large-scale eighteenth-century stone houses surviving in the town (one of only several known in the region); the other is the Progue House (ca. 1763). While embodying characteristics of the local eighteenth-century vernacular — embanked basement, stone construction and two-room plan — the Progue House also reflects a more formal Georgian influence with the addition of a central passage, end chimneys and organized two-story fenestration. The two-tier front porch once extended to cover more of the facade.
Another significant development in Rhinebeck during the early to mid eighteenth century was the settlement of Wurtemburg, an important German farming settlement in the southeastern part of the multiple resource area. Four properties survive intact in Wurtemburg, two of which are significant for their associations with the settlement period of the community and two of which reflect later periods of development in the Palatine settlement. They are the Pultz Farmhouse (ca. 1750; 1800), St. Paul's Church, Parsonage and Cemetery (ca. 1802; 1832; 1861), the Marquardt Farmhouse (ca. 1810) and the Traver Farmhouse (ca. 1870).
The Pultz Farmhouse is a rare and significant example of an eighteenth-century farmhouse executed in frame. According to currently available information, the original central section of the farmhouse is believed to date from the mid-eighteenth century. It relates to the broader, regional vernacular building tradition more directly, having a three- rather than two-room plan and is an unusual example of this larger house form in the multiple resource area. Like the stone houses discussed above, it displays a multi-stage, linear pattern of growth, hillside siting and restrained, yet well-crafted design features. However, with its Georgian-inspired, balanced facade, the Pultz Farmhouse can also be grouped stylistically with the Cox and Pier farmhouses as representative of late evolutionary stages of the regional vernacular as it moved toward a greater organization of forms and space in the late 1700s.
The Pultz Farmhouse is additionally significant for its association with the Palatine settlement of Wurtemburg. Wurtemburg was settled during the second quarter of the eighteenth century by second and third generation Palatines from the community of Ryn Beek several miles to the north and by additional German immigrants. The earliest records indicate that on March 20, 1759, two farmers (Wager and Boltz) residing in the part of the Rhinebeck Precinct then called "Whitaberger Land" requested and obtained a government license and special charter from Colonel Henry Beekman to erect and conduct a church.
"...It is certain that the edifice was erected and a graveyard opened on the premise of said Wager and Boltz [later known as Pultz]. September 5, 1774, Henry Beekman conveyed to Johannes Markwat [Marquardt, Marquet], Michael Pultz and Adam Dipple, trustees for the time being of said church, 19 3/4 acres of land for the use of "the Protestant church." (J. Smith, p. 275)
None of the documents refer to the church as "St. Paul's" or "Lutheran." It was not known by either of these names until sometime after the Revolution, perhaps when the second building, the present St. Paul's Lutheran Church, was erected ca. 1802. (The building was renovated in 1832 and in 1861 it was enlarged and remodelled into its present form and decorative detailing.) Although the history of the congregation and the first house of worship relate to the eighteenth-century settlement period of Wurtemburg, the primary significance of the present church is derived from its importance as a distinctive example of nineteenth-century ecclesiastical architecture and its association with the evolving character of the German community. The extant, intact gravestones also date from the nineteenth century. The adjacent parsonage enhances the property's nineteenth-century significance. (The church and parsonage are discussed later with other buildings of their particular type, period and style.)
Two other properties in Wurtemburg, the Marquardt and Traver farmhouses, also illustrate the later evolution of the rural, vernacular building traditions established during the eighteenth century. They are discussed later, grouped with other buildings of their period.
In addition to the proliferating farmsteads in Ryn Beek, Wurtemburg, and throughout the remainder of Beekman's patent, small manufacturing and milling concerns played an important role in the development of the Rhinebeck economy in the eighteenth century. The Landsman Kill, flowing westerly then southwesterly through the heart of both the town and the village of Rhinebeck, supported the numerous industrial concerns. No archeological evidence of these mills has been recorded. The remains of Rutsen's mills may be included on the 150-acre parcel of land associated with the Robert Sands Estate.
As the Palatine settlements of Ryn Beek and Wurtemburg flourished during the first half of the eighteenth century, "lands on the flats were laid out for the low Dutchers or Hollanders situated on the southwesterly side of a large plain near the now grist-mill of the said Henry Beekman." (J. Smith, p. 255.) The Flats, later to become the village of Rhinebeck, were settled ca. 1730 when "Henry Beekman II presented to Lawrence Osterhout, Jacob Kip and William Traphagen, for themselves and the rest of the Dutch inhabitants of the North Ward, a deed for two pieces of land, one containing two acres, and the other forty-four acres, for church and burial purposes." (J. Smith, p. 274.) The first church was erected ca. 1733 on the north side of what is today South Street (originally the primary east-west thoroughfare; subsequently replaced by Market Street). The area had been inhabited several decades earlier when, in 1706, William Traphagen purchased a large tract of land along the Kings Highway (Route 9) and erected a stone house and tavern at its intersection with the Sepasco Trail (an Indian route between Connecticut and the Hudson River). With the construction of the church, the hamlet quickly expanded.
By the 1790s, the neighborhood around the Hudson River and various industrial sites began to change. Affluent landholders developed country seats along the Hudson and elsewhere, introducing formal architecture, some of it quite avant-garde, into the area. The local vernacular soon incorporated forms and decorations derived from this more cosmopolitan taste. In particular, the architecture of Rhinebeck village and Rhinecliff was influenced by this shift as there was constant interaction between the estates and the service communities.
A number of important estates date from this period, all of which were developed by the landed gentry of Rhinebeck, descendants of the Beekman and Livingston families by birth and/or marriage. Grasmere, the earliest country seat established in Rhinebeck, was erected in the late 1770s by General Richard Montgomery and Janet Livingston Montgomery (a sister of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston). The formal, Georgian manor house no longer survives; it was replaced in ca. 1824 by the Federal style manor house erected by Peter R. Livingston on the ruins of the original mansion.
Other early estates in Rhinebeck include the Grove, the Robert Sands Estate (National Register: 2-24-75) and Wildercliff and Linwood in the Sixteen Mile Historic District. All date from the 1790s.
The original section of the Grove (ca. 1795), the country seat of Philip J. Schuyler and, subsequently, Mary Morton Miller, embodies the prototypical two-story, five-bay, center-hall form associated with the Federal period. Prior to Schuyler's acquisition of the property, the land had been in the Rutsen family. The Landsman Kill, running through the property, had been the site of the Rutsen family's grist and saw mills, important settlement period industrial concerns in Rhinebeck during the early- to mid-eighteenth century. Schuyler acquired the mills, which he continued to operate, and a large parcel of land upon which he erected his elegant Federal style mansion. (The subsequent evolution of the Grove, in form, scale and decorative detailing, and its nineteenth-century historical associations place its primary significance in a later period as a nineteenth-century country seat.
The Robert Sands Estate (ca. 1796) survives intact in its original form and detailing. Incorporating a typical two-story, five-bay, center-hall form, the Sands residence is distinguished by its elegant and highly sophisticated Federal style ornamentation. The estate was the country seat of Robert Sands, prominent New York City merchant, eminent statesman and second husband of Phoebe Carman. Phoebe Carman was the widow of John Rutsen, great-grandson of Henry Beekman I, patentee of Rhinebeck. (John Rutsen's grandfather, also named John Rutsen, was married to Beekman's daughter, Catherine.)
Wildercliff, the country seat of Catherine Livingston (Chancellor Robert R. Livingston's sister) and Reverend Freeborn Garrettson, begun ca. 1799 and enlarged and remodelled throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, still displays evidence of its late eighteenth century form (two-story, five-bay center-hall composition) and handsome, Federal period detailing. Linwood, the country seat of Margaret Livingston (also a sister of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston) and Thomas Tillotson, no longer survives.
By the late eighteenth century, the village of Rhinebeck was a bustling community of wealthy, progressive and cosmopolitan citizens. The extant historic resources dating from this period of Rhinebeck's development (ca. 1760 to ca. 1810) reflect nationally popular village building trends rather than the local, ethnic vernacular building traditions evinced in the rural farmhouses of the period. Inspired by the estate architecture being built along the Hudson River during the late eighteenth century, these village dwellings begin to embody the distinctive characteristics of the early Federal style, particularly in their balanced symmetrical compositions, rectangular, gable-roofed forms and restrained, classically inspired detailing. They provide a catalogue of Federal period design features and building techniques and they established forms which were repeated throughout the village and rural township in subsequent decades. The earliest extant, intact examples include the original section of the Beekman Arms (ca. 1760s; 1 Mill Street) and the dwellings at 77 Livingston Street (ca. 1773; original residence of General Richard Montgomery and Janet Livingston of Grasmere), 161 East Market Street (ca. 1780), 44 West Market Street (ca. 1780), 55 East Market Street (ca. 1802), 97 East Market Street (ca. 1800), 63 South Street (ca. 1800), 109 East Market Street (ca. 1800), 106 East Market Street (ca. 1810), 130 East Market Street (ca. 1802), 23 Mill Street (ca. 1800) and 9-11 Mill Street (ca. 1810). (All are included in the Rhinebeck Village Historic District.)
On a far more modest scale, the Marquardt Farmhouse (ca. 1810) illustrates the adoption of the nationally popular Federal style in the rural setting of the agrarian township. Located in the Palatine farming community of Wurtemburg, the farmhouse documents the evolution of the local ethnic building tradition as the agrarian community responded to changing tastes in the nineteenth century. Although similar to the country seats of the elite in its two-story, five-bay, center-hall form and classically inspired ornamentation, it is clearly a middle-class vernacular farmhouse with extremely modest and restrained, yet well-crafted, detailing. Unlike the vernacular farmhouses of the preceding period, it deviates from regional and/or ethnic traditions in favor of a more national, standard building aesthetic. The Orlot Farmhouse (ca. 1790; Sixteen Mile Historic District) and the parsonage associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Peter (ca. 1798) are similar to the Marquardt Farmhouse in their incorporation of Federal style forms and decoration.
A number of important farm-related support structures dating from the late eighteenth century also survive intact. They are associated with a variety of rural farmsteads, complementing and enhancing the significance of the properties as important examples of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century working farms. Eight rare surviving examples of the increasingly scarce, New World Dutch type barn survive intact and are included as primary buildings or secondary support structures in the multiple resource area. Three of the eight, including the two barns associated with the Feller Farmhouse (formerly associated with Steen Valatje in the Sixteen Mile Historic District) and the one barn associated with the Robert Sands Estate, are listed on the National Register. The remaining five, the Slate Quarry Road Dutch Barn, the four barns associated with Strawberry Hill, the Marquardt Farm, the Sipperly-Lown Farm and the John H. Traver Farm, are included. The Slate Quarry Road Dutch Barn was built before 1798. The others, although not as thoroughly researched or documented as the Slate Quarry Road barn, are also believed to date from the 1790s-1810s. All are significant as distinctive examples of a regionally important building type. They all display the hallmarks of the type, including H-frame construction of massive, pegged, hand-hewn or adzed bents, low, horizontal massing and a broad gable roof.
By the first decade of the nineteenth century, the town of Rhinebeck was a thriving rural agrarian community with an extensive network of wealthy aristocracy, scattered industrial concerns, a river landing and an active center of commerce at the village of Rhinebeck. Country estates continued to play important roles in the growth and development of Rhinebeck. The present Grasmere manor house was begun in 1824, erected upon the ruins of Janet Livingston and General Richard Montgomery's 1770s mansion. The Grasmere estate, as it evolved during the nineteenth century through Livingston descendants, is an important example of the design, setting and evolution of estates in the Hudson Valley. The manor house, stone barns, outbuildings and landscaped grounds are, individually, distinctive examples of estate architecture. The 1824 manor house, erected by Peter R. Livingston, was originally an elegant two-story, five-bay, Federal period mansion. Later nineteenth century enlargements and alterations mark the transition from a manor house in the Federal period to the more monumental architecture of the industrial period. Landscape design evolved as well, from the formal eighteenth-century arrangement, through the picturesque, to the renewed formality of the English country house movement during the occupancy of the Crosby family in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Stone barns, farm outbuildings, stuccoed staff cottages and a large portion of landscaped and farmed land survive with the estate. The property is also significant for its associations with a long line of the Livingstons.
Although the land presently associated with the village was inhabited by the Low Dutchers as early as 1730, the village proper was laid out in the early 1790 in one-acre lots along the Sepasco Trail and the King's Highway. (J. Smith, p. 267.) A number of lots were purchased, subdivided and sold during the first decade of the nineteenth century and the settlement flourished and prospered. Numerous village dwellings were erected during the first quarter of the century, most of which continue to reflect the influence of the Federal style popular in America during the period. Nationally recognized forms and detailing predominate among the early nineteenth century dwellings found in the Rhinebeck Village Historic District. Five-bay, center-hall, three-bay, center-hall and three-bay, side-hall compositions are all represented in the district. All are one and one-half to two-story, gable-roofed frame buildings. Generally, the three-bay-wide dwellings are characterized by gable roofs with ridges parallel to the street, although there are several examples of gable ends oriented towards the street. A broad range of finely crafted, Federal period ornamentation is found on these buildings, including delicate and attenuated embellishment around door and window openings and along cornice lines. Particularly noteworthy early nineteenth-century Federal style dwellings found in the district include the buildings at 25 Beech Street, 72 Livingston Street, 54, 93, 137 and 139 East Market Street and 38 and 68 Montgomery Street (ca. 1810 - ca. 1820s).
The village of Rhinebeck was incorporated on April 23, 1834. During the 1830s, tremendous growth occurred in the village as evidenced by the relatively large number of remarkably intact, Greek Revival style village dwellings. Most continue to display the five-bay, center-hall or three-bay side/center-hall forms characteristic of the Federal period. However, the delicacy and attenuation associated with the Federal style has been replaced by broad and heavy ornamentation and structural elements. The Greek Revival style buildings of the 1830s and 1840s are marked by trabeated entrances with broad pilasters and full entablatures, broad corner boards and wide friezes, often pierced by eyebrow windows. Numerous substantially intact, significant examples of the period and style are located in the Rhinebeck Village Historic District, including particularly outstanding, fully developed specimens at 75, 87, 110, 115, 122 and 178 East Market Street and 82 Montgomery Street. The Third Lutheran Church at 31 Livingston Street is also an important example of the Greek Revival style. The dwellings at 9, 15, 23, 24 and 77 Livingston Street, 123, 167, 168, and 133 East Market Street, 48 and 51 West Market Street, 24 Mill Street, 52 Montgomery Street and 51 South Street, although less ostentatious than the aforementioned, high-style examples, are also significant as representative examples of Greek Revival style residential architecture.
The influence of the Greek Revival style is also evinced in the rural architecture during the second quarter of the nineteenth century in both the estate district and the eastern farm sections of the town. Ankony, the estate of William Bergh Kip (sixth generation descendant of the original patentee featured an elegant Greek Revival manor house erected ca. 1830. (The mansion was demolished ca. 1977.) The Grove underwent minor remodelling and received trabeated, Greek Revival style entrance ornamentation. These are the only examples of Greek Revival style estate architecture, indicating the relatively low level of building activity on country estates during the second quarter of the nineteenth century.
A number of vernacular farmhouses, some erected by descendants of Palatine settlers, also embody characteristics of the Greek Revival style. Most are characterized by features associated with national tastes and building traditions, providing a dramatic contrast to the regional and ethnic vernacular farmhouses of the previous century. The earliest of the Greek Revival style farmhouses, the Barringer House (ca. 1830), is unique in the multiple resource area as an elegant village house form in a rural setting with a veneer of late Federal/early Greek Revival style ornamentation. The two-story, three-bay, side-hall composition and narrow corner boards reflect the persistence of the Federal style, while the wide frieze, trabeated entrance and gable roof oriented to the facade reflect the adoption of Greek Revival style design features. Located within the estate area on the river slope, the house may have achieved a degree of fashionableness by virtue of its immediate context.
The Cox Farm (a mid-eighteenth century stone house remodelled ca. 1842), the Van Vredenburg Farm (ca. 1840) and the Williams Farm (ca. 1835) are architecturally significant as representative examples of fully developed, Greek Revival style regional farmhouse types. The three buildings display balanced five-bay, center-hall compositions, wide friezes pierced by windows and entrances with deeply recessed doorways surrounded by sidelights, broad pilasters and full entablatures. All three illustrate the adoption of more generalized house forms into the vernacular. The Cox Farmhouse is particularly graphic in this instance as the brick additions to the earlier stone house form have been revealed by the removal of stucco covering. (The Cox Farmhouse appears to have originated as a mid-to late-nineteenth century, regional vernacular stone farmhouse with a balanced symmetrical design.)
The Sixteen Mile Historic District includes two significant examples of rural, vernacular Greek Revival style farmhouses comparable to, although less intact than, the Cox, Van Vredenburg and Williams farmhouses. They are the farmhouse on the west side of River Road, formerly associated with the Ferncliff Estate, and the farmhouse on Long Dock Road between the Jacob Kip House and Abraham Kip House.
Although a number of Federal and Greek Revival style dwellings survive in the hamlet of Rhinecliff, none retains sufficient integrity of design and materials to meet the National Register criteria. Rhinecliff, initially a ferry landing during the eighteenth century, developed during the first quarter of the nineteenth century as a popular steamboat landing. With the advent of rail transportation through Rhinecliff in 1851, the hamlet became an active community that rivalled the village of Rhinebeck. Only in the present century as the river corridor was replaced by a federal highway as the primary transportation route, has Rhinecliff languished behind the upland village.
The influence of the picturesque tastes of the Romantic Movement appeared at an early date in Rhinebeck, particularly in the estate district and the village. Romanticism in art and literature was introduced into the Hudson Valley during the late 1820s and 1830s with artists and literary figures such as Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Washington Irving and James Fennimore Cooper. By the early 1840s, architects and landscape architects such as Alexander Jackson Davis, Andrew Jackson Downing and Calvert Vaux began incorporating romantic ideals into their building and landscape designs, rejecting the severe and austere classicism popular in America during the first quarter of the century. Many of the wealthy elite residing along the Hudson patronized these artists and designers in their early years. Downing and Vaux received a number of commissions for buildings and landscapes in the estate district; Davis succeeded with even more commissions than his peers. The first of the many picturesque styles inspired by the Romantic Movement were the Gothic Revival and Italianate styles. As during the other periods of Rhinebeck's development, the town's wealthy, landed gentry set the standards for architecture and landscape design, exerting a great influence on the subsequent building trends that occurred in the village and rural, agrarian settings.
A number of significant examples of picturesque estate architecture and landscape design are included in the Sixteen Mile Historic District. The former Leacote manor house, destroyed by fire in the 1970s, was an outstanding example of medieval-inspired, Hudson River Gothic stone architecture. (Leacote was similar to the extant Hoyt House, designed ca. 1855 by Calvert Vaux. Hoyt House is located in Hyde Park and is also included in the Sixteen Mile District.) The original Wilderstein manor house (built ca. 1865 and remodelled in the 1880s in the Queen Anne style) was initially designed to resemble an Italian villa. The grounds of the estate were designed by Calvert Vaux. Wyndclyff (ca. 1853), the estate of Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones, includes an architecturally significant manor house executed in the Norman style. Although deteriorated, the building displays a variety of distinctive features associated with Norman and Romanesque Revival style residential architecture, including a medieval-inspired, castle-like appearance, picturesque asymmetry and elaborate, corbelled brickwork.
The influence of the Romantic Movement appeared in the village settings in Rhinebeck at an early date as well, inspired by the picturesque buildings and landscape designs found on the estates of the landed gentry. Several outstanding examples of the Gothic Revival style are included in the Rhinebeck Village Historic District, including the Delamater House (ca. 1844; designed by A. J. Davis; individually listed on the National Register on May 1, 1913 and subsequently incorporated into the historic district in 1919) and the dwellings at 48 and 54 Montgomery Street and 2 and 13 South Street (1840s, 1850s, 1860 and 1850, respectively). The sophisticated and ostentatious Delamater House is a prototypical, picturesque, board-and-batten Gothic cottage with decorative bargeboards.
On a more modest scale than in the village of Rhinebeck, the Gothic Revival style is also represented in the hamlet of Rhinecliff. The Riverside Methodist Church (ca. 1859) is a distinctive example of ecclesiastical architecture in the rural, picturesque taste. Its rustic stone construction, polychrome slate roof, open framed bell tower, buttresses and paired lancet windows with brick trim are characteristic of small stone church or chapel buildings in the style. The church is also historically significant for its association with the Garrettson family, whose patriarch, Freeborn Garrettson, introduced Methodism to the Hudson Valley. The church retains an intact parsonage, a modest, Gothic-inspired cottage with restrained, decorative woodwork and a picturesque, asymmetrical composition.
The Rhinecliff Hotel (ca. 1855) is a distinctive example of hotel architecture in Hudson River landings. It documents Rhinecliff's important role as a ferry and steamboat landing and railroad stop. Surviving intact with simplified picturesque detail, the building reflects the general mid-nineteenth century picturesque taste pervasive in the region. The Free Church Parsonage (ca. 1869) is an architecturally significant board-and-batten cottage. A restrained example of the style without bargeboards or porch ornament, the residence displays a distinctive use of materials and details such as arched window heads, multi-sided bays and paired window openings. The parsonage, built with funds provided by Mary Morton Miller (the Grove), is additionally significant for its association with the Rhinecliff Episcopal Church, one of the town's oldest religious organizations. (The church, formerly located on the corner lot next to the parsonage, burned in the 1970s.)
The Italianate or Bracketed style was also popular in the villages of Rhinebeck and Rhinecliff during the Romantic period. Particularly outstanding residential examples are located at 20 Chestnut Street, 45 Livingston Street, 82, 84, 86 and 138 East Market Street, 20 West Market Street, 31 Mill Street, 72, 76 and 79 Montgomery Street and 27 Mulberry Street. (All date from the third quarter of the nineteenth century and are included in the Rhinebeck Village Historic District.) Most are cubic-massed buildings surmounted by low-pitched hipped roofs with broadly projecting eaves and are distinguished by highly decorative ornamentation, particularly bracketry along cornice lines and porches. Decorative window treatments are also represented. In the commercial context, a large number of substantially intact, attached brick row buildings are located along East Market Street in the Rhinebeck Village Historic District. Most are characterized by heavily bracketed cornices and elaborate door and window lintels. The O'Brien General Store and Post Office (ca. 1863) in the hamlet of Rhinecliff is also architecturally significant as a distinctive example of Italianate style commercial architecture. It retains its original storefront and decorative detailing (bracketed cornice, segmentally arched brick lintels) as well as its frame rear wings, which illustrate the multiple functions of and divisions within a general store of the period.
The influence of the Picturesque Movement is also exhibited in the rural, middle-class architecture of the mid-nineteenth century on a smaller, more modest scale than in the estate district or village. Examples of this group include the Hillside Methodist Church (ca. 1855) and the J. W. Moore Farmhouse (ca. 1850), and the Ellerslie Schoolhouse (ca. 1860) in the Sixteen Mile Historic District. All embody distinctive characteristics of the Gothic Revival-style. The Methodist chapel, like the Rhinecliff Methodist Church, is a distinctive example of ecclesiastical architecture in the rural, picturesque taste. Its rustic stone construction, scroll-sawn ornament and open-framed bell tower are characteristic of the chapel type. The building is also significant for its association with the growth of Methodism in the Hudson Valley and for its association with Julia M. Olin of nearby Glenburn.
The J. W. Moore House is a distinctive example of board-and-batten, cottage architecture in the Picturesque taste. Its asymmetrical plan, cross-gable roof and informal appearance are characteristic of the type. It is an unusual example in that it blends features associated with both the Gothic Revival and Italianate modes. The Ellerslie Schoolhouse, originally a one-room schoolhouse associated with the Levi P. Morton estate, is also a distinctive example of board-and-batten cottage architecture in the rural, picturesque taste. Other significant mid-nineteenth century properties included in the multiple resource area include the Salisbury Turnpike Bridge and the Pilgrim's Progress Road Bridge. The stone arch bridges, spanning the Landsman Kill as it meanders through the Grove and Robert Sands estates, are historically significant as mid-nineteenth century engineering and transportation structures in the town of Rhinebeck. Both are distinctive examples of traditional masonry bridge design and construction.
As the Victorian era progressed during the late nineteenth century, architectural trends grew increasingly eclectic and picturesque. Architectural styles popular in America during the Civil War era and last quarter of the nineteenth century, including the Italian Villa, Second Empire, Queen Anne and Eastlake styles, are all represented in the town's historic resources. The most outstanding, purest examples of the various styles are found in the Sixteen Mile Historic District and Rhinebeck Village Historic District. Wilderstein, the ca. 1853 Italian Villa style manor house of the Thomas H. Suckley family, was extensively remodelled in ca. 1887-89 into a Queen Anne style mansion and is distinguished by its picturesque, asymmetrical composition, multi-gabled roof, prominent tower and decorative half-timber and shingle woodwork. (Sixteen Mile District.) Architecturally significant examples of the Queen Anne/Eastlake style included in the village district include the dwellings at 15 South Street, 153 East Market Street, and 19 and 31 Chestnut Street. Outstanding examples of Second Empire style residential architecture are located at 46 Livingston Street and 54 West Market and, on a smaller, more modest scale, at 140 East Market Street.
A variety of picturesque, eclectic architecture appears in the rural township as well during the late nineteenth century. Two particularly noteworthy examples are found in the German farming community of Wurtemburg, both of which illustrate the evolution of German vernacular building traditions. They are the John H. Traver Farmhouse (ca. 1870s) and St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Parsonage and Cemetery (ca. 1802; 1832; 1861). It is unknown whether this decorative theme appeared in the local vernacular through the influence of the architecture of the estates or was derived from European elements incorporated into the building tradition by the scores of new German immigrants seeking homes in established German-American communities like Wurtemburg. Many found construction jobs on the estates and influenced the late nineteenth century designs there. (See Grasmere stone barns, Ferncliff stone barns, stone arch bridges, and outbuildings on estates such as the Locusts.) Whatever the origin of the stylistic transformation or the nature of the social interactions, the rural vernacular in the historic German communities of the Hudson valley adopted an ornate architectural style that does not directly correspond to the American Picturesque but incorporates many of the same European sources. Further study is necessary to analyze and document this subtle but important visual distinction.
A number of historic resources included in the multiple resource area are architecturally significant as early, often more modest buildings which were enlarged, remodelled and aggrandized in the late-nineteenth century with the addition of elaborate decorative features associated with the Picturesque Movement. They are the Jan Pier House, the J. E. Traver Farmhouse, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, the Heermance House and the Maples. The Jan Pier House, whose earliest section was a vernacular stone house erected ca. 1761, was aggrandized ca. 1881 with Second Empire style design features, including a polychrome slate mansard roof, decorative lintels above windows and a verandah with ornamental woodwork. Although significant features of its eighteenth-century plan and construction detailing survive, the primary significance of the Pier house is derived from its remodelling in 1881.
The J. E. Traver Farmhouse, initially a restrained, Federal style building with a standard two-story, five-bay, center-hall composition and simple, classically inspired detailing, was remodelled in the 1870s with the addition of a picturesque cross gable and verandah with decorative woodwork. St. Paul's Lutheran Church, the focal point of the German agricultural community at Wurtemburg, was built ca. 1802, enlarged ca. 1832 and extensively remodelled in 1861 in the Baroque Italianate taste popular in the community during the Civil War era. The Heermance House, originally a two-story, three-bay, side-hall building in the Federal style, was upgraded in the 1870s with the application of vertical, flush-board siding, a heavily bracketed cornice and front and side porches with elaborate woodwork. The Maples, erected in 1833 as an elegant, early Greek Revival style village residence, retains its balanced, five-bay, center-hall composition and sophisticated, Greek Revival style entrance ornamentation. However, the current overall appearance of the Maples, dominated by the late Victorian era verandah with elaborate woodwork, places its significance in the Picturesque period.
Rhinebeck continued to prosper in the early twentieth century as evidenced by the wide variety of properties included in the multiple resource area which date from ca. 1900 to ca. 1936. The hamlet of Rhinecliff and the village of Rhinebeck flourished, lucrative farming and dairying continued to play an important role in the local economy, the eighteenth-and nineteenth-century seats continued to prosper, and new estates were erected for descendants of the Livingstons and Beekmans as well as for middle and upper-class families unrelated to the wealth, history and status of the founding families. Rail transportation continued to play an important role in the community and, in 1910-1914, a stylish and sophisticated depot was erected in Rhinecliff in the heart of the Hudson River estate region. (The depot is included in the Sixteen Mile District.) The architecturally and historically significant Morton Memorial Library (ca. 1905) also reflects the growth and prosperity of Rhinecliff during the early twentieth century. Designed by the New York City firm of Hoppin, Koen and Huntington, the library is a distinguished example of village public architecture of the style and period and is an excellent representative example of library design. Of particular note is the education wing, built in the form and style of an eighteenth-century, regional vernacular house. The library is historically significant for its association with Levi P. Morton, who built it as a memorial to his deceased daughter Lina.
Tremendous growth also occurred in the village of Rhinebeck as illustrated by the numerous substantially intact Colonial Revival and Neoclassical style buildings included in the Rhinebeck Village Historic District. Dozens of representative examples of Colonial Revival style residential architecture are scattered throughout the district, including sophisticated, high-style buildings as well as modest and restrained cottages. A number of Neoclassical style commercial buildings survive as well, including several commercial row buildings on East Market Street and the Rhinebeck Savings Bank at 23 Montgomery Street. The Rhinebeck Post Office (ca. 1939; 14 Mill Street), a replica of an eighteenth-century stone house, reflects the renewed interest in the region's historic, vernacular building traditions both in its form and in its use of local, rusticated stone as a building material.
The continued importance of farming is represented by scattered examples of early twentieth century farm building architecture included as support structures associated with earlier farmhouses. Post-dating the farmhouses themselves, the outbuildings illustrate the evolution and living patterns through time on rural, working farmsteads.
A number of country seats, including Grasmere, the Grove and Glenburn and Wildercliff, Catherine Livingston and Reverend Freeborn Garrettson's estate in the Sixteen Mile District, underwent additional phases of expansion and remodelling. The Grasmere manor house received interior and partial exterior remodelling in the Neoclassical style. In addition, a highly significant stone barn and stable complex and stuccoed tenant houses were erected on the estate during the occupancy of the Crosby family. The deteriorated remains of the formal gardens, reflecting the renewed formality of the English country house movement, also date from the early twentieth century. The Grove manor house also exhibits restrained, Neoclassical style remodelling. The estate was enhanced with the erection of the turn-of-the-century McKim, Mead and White carriage house. McKim, Mead and White were also responsible for the design of the Casino in 1902 on the Astor family's Ferncliff Estate. (The Ferncliff manor house no longer survives; see Sixteen Mile District.) Wildercliff, a late eighteenth century Federal style manor house, received extensive remodelling in the formal, classically inspired Colonial Revival style.
Glenburn, architecturally and historically significant as the estate of the Olin-Dows family also achieved its final form during the early twentieth century. The history of Glenburn dates back to 1837 when the first section of the present structure was erected. It was built as a picturesque cottage by James Lynch of New York City for his daughter, Julia Olin, granddaughter of General Thomas and Margaret Livingston Tillotson. The cottage was enlarged and remodelled in 1907 by Harrie T. Lindeberg, who, in 1907, also designed Fox Hollow for Tracey Dows. (Alice Olin, Julia's great-granddaughter, was married to Tracey Dows.) ([at time of writing]Fox Hollow appears eligible for the National Register, but due to restricted access, sufficient information to document its significance is currently unavailable). In 1915 Stephen H. Olin commissioned Henry Bacon for major renovation work to Glenburn's east wing. Bacon's distinguished drawing room interior survives intact in the present house, introducing a classical taste in contrast to the house's overall informal, English cottage style. Glenburn was again remodelled ca. 1937 when Alice Olin Dows returned from Fox Hollow to her childhood home at Glenburn. Theodore Dominick of Washington, D.C. was commissioned to restore a cottage quality to the house. Dominick designed interior renovations as well. The estate was augmented by Alice's son Olin Dows's renovation of the carriage house into a studio and apartment. Olin Dows, a graduate of Harvard and the Yale Art School, was instrumental in the organization of the WPA art program. He administered the government's art projects, was a confidante of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and, as an artist, created murals for the Rhinebeck and Hyde Park post offices, whose designs had been directed by Roosevelt. During World War II, Dows continued his association with art and the government as one of three war artists in the European theater. After the war, Dows returned to Glenburn to live and continue his career. At this time, the estate was divided between Olin and his sister Deborah Dows who presently operates a horse farm on the property.
New construction of country estates occurred as well, including the continued development of land along the Hudson by immediate descendants of Rhinebeck's foremost families and new development of in-land property by distant relatives of the leading families and the nouveau riche. Valeur, an architecturally significant Palladian inspired, Georgian mansion, designed by Mott B. Schmidt, was erected in 1926 for Alice Astor Oblensky, daughter of John Jacob Astor of the Ferncliff estate. Whispering Pines, an elegant Mission style manor house, was erected in 1906. (Both are included in the Sixteen Mile District.) Rural, secluded in-land estates include Mansakenning (ca. 1902-3), Evergreen Lands (ca. 1932) and Stonecrest (ca.1905).
Mansakenning, erected for Eugene Tillotson Lynch, is architecturally significant as a distinctive example of turn-of-the-century estate architecture in a picturesque, vernacular taste. Evergreen Lands, a distinctive example of Tudor Revival style architecture influenced by the local taste for stone construction, was designed by John Russell Pope for Laura Delano, a cousin of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Stonecrest is a distinguished example of early twentieth century Shingle style architecture in Rhinebeck. Built by George D. Beatty of Brooklyn, Stonecrest represents a second wave of country house architecture in Rhinebeck: smaller scale, on smaller grounds and built by middle-and upper-class people unrelated to the wealth, history and status of the Livingston families. Stonecrest is distinctively finished in terms of trim and workmanship but, while substantial, is not as ostentatious as the elite houses of the period.
The final property included in the multiple resource area, the Astor Home for Children in the village of Rhinebeck, is significant both as a distinctive example of its type and period and for its historical associations with the philanthropy of the Morton and Astor families and their early contribution to human services in the town and state. Designed by McKim, Mead and White, the institutional building is a distinctive example of the Jacobean Revival style. Historically, the institution was founded by Helen Morton in the nineteenth century in Rhinecliff as a convalescent house for children. Helen Morton was the daughter of Levi P. Morton. (The Ellerslie Estate, most of which no longer survives, was the country seat of the Morton family.) In 1914, due to the largess of Vincent Astor, the present structure was erected and the facility was moved to Rhinebeck. The building continues to serve as a human service institution.
The town of Rhinebeck remained a predominantly rural, agrarian community throughout much of the twentieth century. Modern suburban development began to occur along the major thoroughfares by mid-century, reflecting the emergence of Rhinebeck as a popular bedroom community for New York City and Albany commuters. Development pressures are intensifying in the late twentieth century as Rhinebeck continues to attract new year-round and summer residents. Although in some areas, modern development is encroaching upon Rhinebeck's historic resources, many sections of the town continue to reflect the historic character of both the village and rural settings of the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Albany, New York. Division for Historic Preservation. Research files.
Smith, Edward M. History of Rhinebeck, in Dutchess County, N. Y. Rhinebeck: 1881; reprint ed., Rhinebeck, N.Y.: Palatine Reprint, 1974.
Smith, James H. History of Duchess County, New York. 1683-1882. Syracuse: D. Mason & Co., 1882; reprint ed., Interlaken, N. Y.: Heart of the Lakes Publishing, 1980.
Withey, Henry F. Biographical Dictionary of American Architects. Los Angeles: Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc., 1970.
Preliminary research compiled by:
Corwin Sharp Historic Architecture and Decorative Arts Consultants and Rhinebeck Historical Society P.O. Box 150A, RD 2, Rhinebeck, New York 12572