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Parsonage Road Historic District


The Parsonage Road Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2010, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Parsonage Road Historic District is a residential area including dwellings and associated buildings along a narrow street dominated by natural landscape. The buildings represent nineteenth century architectural styles, with a high level of architectural integrity.

The Parsonage Road Historic District is a single, short street, branching off from County Road 114 (the old Turnpike route). It overlooks the railroad to the west and is backed by wooded hillside to the east. Little more than one lane in width, with mature forest growth along much of the road's east side, it has the feeling of a country lane. The buildings are irregularly set back, ranging from Selina Riley's barn (ca.1875), which nearly protrudes into the roadway, to the Timothy Burr House (ca.1878), located on the brow of the hill with an extensive yard between it and the road. This area is residential, with the commercial area of the hamlet to the west beyond the railroad tracks and to the south surrounding Cochecton Mills.

The dwellings feature nineteenth century architectural styles, including the Federal style B.T. Mitchell House (ca.1820), the Greek Revival Irvine House (ca.1840), and the Queen Anne Dr. William Appley House (1892). A number of the dwellings, including the Timothy Burr House (1878) and the Parsonage (ca.1900) exhibit design characteristics identified with Queen Anne style: multiple-story bay windows, porches with turned posts and spindle work, and decorative shingling. All dwellings in the Parsonage Road Historic District are two-story wooden buildings with clapboard siding. With the exception of the Mitchell and Appley houses, all are painted white.

In addition to the dwellings, there are several outbuildings of similar vintage associated with the Parsonage Road Historic District. The largest of these is Selina Riley's Barn (c.1880), an unpainted, vertical weatherboard sided building.

The only non-contributing building within the Parsonage Road Historic District is White's garage/workshop, built in 1989. It is a one-story, five-bay building, which can only be seen from the north end of the district.

Significance

The Parsonage Road Historic District is a rare and unusually intact rural residential enclave characteristic of housing development in the small hamlets of the Upper Delaware Valley during the nineteenth century. Reflecting the turnpike and railroad era of development in Cochecton, it is associated with Upper Delaware Transportation, 1614-1942, coinciding with active periods of these transportation systems. The Parsonage Road Historic District's ca.1820-1902 period of significance reflects the construction dates of its contributing buildings.

Cochecton's nineteenth and early twentieth century history and architectural development were strongly influenced by the construction and operation of two historic regional transportation systems: the Newburgh-Cochecton Turnpike and the Erie Railroad. Begun in 1804, and completed as far as Cochecton in 1810, the turnpike represented an early and important overland route linking the Upper Delaware Valley with established commercial centers in the Hudson Valley. The turnpike became a significant route for westward migration and business prior to the development of canals and railroads. Intersecting local north-south river traffic and providing a permanent, all-weather crossing of the river, the turnpike reinforced the local commercial prominence of Cochecton on the New York side of the Delaware River, and Damascus on the Pennsylvania side, and led to the development of small but diversified communities consisting of roadside taverns and inns, stores, trades shops, and residences. Buildings constructed in Cochecton between 1804 and the arrival of the railroad in 1848 reflected the New England architectural traditions prevailing in Newburgh and other communities along the east-west trade and westward migration route. After 1848, architecture in Cochecton began to reflect the influence of the Erie Railroad as the region's principal economic and cultural force. Architecture related to this second period in Cochecton illustrates the rapid absorption of popular national styles, standardized plans and construction techniques, and the increased availability of mass produced building materials. Both turnpike and railroad eras are reflected in the buildings comprising the Parsonage Road Historic District.

Parsonage Road developed early in Cochecton's history as an offshoot of the turnpike. It is clearly defined on the earliest published maps of the town (Gates, 1856). The Mitchell House (ca.1820), noted on the Gates map, remains as one of the oldest houses in the river valley. With the coming of the railroad, the station (ca.1850) was built nearby and the area immediately adjacent to Parsonage Road became more developed. The railroad spurred the valley's most intense period of economic and population growth. That is also the period when most of the properties on the street were developed. Nearly all of the buildings in the Parsonage Road Historic District were built between 1875 and 1902. The succeeding period of economic decline left Parsonage Road largely unaltered.

The Parsonage Road Historic District includes vernacular examples of Federal, Greek Revival, and Queen Anne architecture. These buildings have a high level of integrity and give the entire district a strong sense of nineteenth century design. At the north end of the Parsonage Road Historic District, the B.T. Mitchell House (ca.1820) offers an example of the vernacular Federal style, which is rare in the river valley. Dr. William Appley's House (1892), at the south end of the district, exemplifies the Queen Anne style, with its distinctive gabled tower and fish-scale shingling.

The overall integrity of the Parsonage Road Historic District is of special significance. Only one non-contributing building — a garage/workshop built in 1989 — intrudes upon the Parsonage Road Historic District's historic character. Few nineteenth century residential enclaves in the river valley retain the level of architectural integrity, and integrity of historic scale and setting.

Part of the Parsonage Road Historic District's special nineteenth century rural quality stems from its narrow road, wooded surroundings, and scattered buildings. Although the properties are visually connected, there is no sense of the compact village. Its residential nature is accented by rural features including a wooded hillside, a barn and natural landscape. The spatial arrangement of these natural and cultural features remains essentially unchanged from the period of significance.

There is considerable continuity of fabric and design. Six of the seven dwellings within the Parsonage Road Historic District are clapboard sided; five are painted white. Five of the seven dwellings feature decorative shingling of the Queen Anne style.

The Parsonage Road Historic District retains a high level of overall integrity.

References

Beers, F.W. Atlas of Sullivan County, New York. New York: Walker & Jewett. 1875.

Gates, C., and son. Map of Sullivan County, New York. Philadelphia: Gillett & Huntington. 1856.

State University of New York at Binghamton. Cultural Resources Survey of the Upper Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River. Philadelphia: National Park Service. 1983.

  1. Mary Curtis, National Park Service, Parsonage Road Historic District, Sullivan County, New York, nomination document, 1992, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Parsonage Road Historic District Map

Street Names
Parsonage Road

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