Chestnut Street Historic District
The Chestnut Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination documentation. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2010, The Gombach Group.
The Chestnut Street Historic District is located in a residential area of the city of Kingston, a community of 24,481 on the west side of the Hudson River, midway between New York City and Albany. The Chestnut Street Historic District includes parts of Chestnut Street, Broadway, Stuyvesant Street and Livingston Street and contains 44 contributing buildings, and six contributing structures for a total of 50 contributing features on approximately 22 acres. There is one non-contributing principal building. The majority of the 41 principal buildings in the Chestnut Street Historic District are residential with the exception of the Immanuel Lutheran Church on Livingston Street in the far northeastern end of the district, and the Bruck Funeral Home, located in a former residence on Broadway. The boundaries of the Chestnut Street Historic District, which follow rear lots lines, were established following a comprehensive survey of historic resources in the vicinity. The Chestnut Street Historic District comprises a collection of substantial nineteenth and early twentieth century residences on dramatic hillside sites. The boundaries were drawn to exclude surrounding areas characterized by modest, small scale turn-of-the-century housing on the north and west affected by the loss of architectural integrity and modern redevelopment. The Rondout-West Strand Historic District (National Register 1979) abuts the Chestnut Street Historic District on its southwestern boundary, but is separated from it physically by a steep wooded hillside. The densely built up Rondout area is also characterized by different building types. A newly constructed arterial for U.S. Route 9W follows the Chestnut Street Historic District's northeastern border. The substantial middle- and upper-class frame and masonry residences in the Chestnut Street Historic District were constructed between ca.1855 and 1919 in a succession of popular styles, including Italianate, French Second Empire, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Italian Renaissance. The Chestnut Street Historic District also contains an early twentieth century house which combines elements of the Colonial Revival and Craftsman styles. Most blocks in the Chestnut Street Historic District are typified by regular setbacks and relatively narrow lots with frontages of approximately 60 to 100 feet. The residences on the southeastern side of West Chestnut Street and on East Chestnut Street are set on broad sloping lawns. There are few street trees in the Chestnut Street Historic District; however, several residences are enhanced by landscaping which includes mature deciduous and evergreen trees.
East and West Chestnut Street are located along the crest of a ridge which runs from southwest to northeast, separating the historic centers of Rondout and Kingston. Broadway, which follows an ancient Indian trail over a saddle-like pass in the ridge, intersects Chestnut Street near the center of the district. Stuyvesant and Livingston Streets are located northeast of Broadway and parallel East Chestnut Street and Broadway, respectively.
The residences on the southeast side of Chestnut Street command sweeping views of the Rondout Creek and the Rondout section of Kingston, and unlike rows in other parts of the historic district, do not conform to a regular setback line. The larger houses here (10 East Chestnut Street and 18, 32, 60 and 70 West Chestnut Street) are situated on relatively deep lots with frontages of approximately 125 to 160 feet. One of the largest and earliest of these is the Henry Samson House (ca.1855) at 32 West Chestnut Street, a large square Italianate style residence constructed of local bluestone laid in a coursed random ashlar pattern topped by a low-pitched hipped roof with broad bracketed eaves and cross gables, and featuring round-arched second-floor windows and Tuscan order entry porches. The Dr. Abraham Crispell House (ca.1855) at 60 West Chestnut Street, originally built in the Italianate style, was expanded and remodelled as an Italian Renaissance villa in 1919. A third large residence overlooking Rondout is "Cloverly" (1895) at 70 West Chestnut Street, a large frame residence which combines the irregular massing and fenestration of the Queen Anne style with Colonial Revival style details. The remaining houses on the southeast side of West Chestnut Street are more modest examples of the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles.
The northwest side of West Chestnut Street is typified by generally smaller scale residences which range in date from ca.1870 to ca.1915, sited on smaller lots with regular setbacks. The houses at 15, 19, 27, 35, 39, 45, and 49 West Chestnut Street were built in the early 1870s in the Italianate and French Second Empire styles; except for the modest one-and-one-half story Italianate style residence at 35 West Chestnut Street, these buildings are constructed of brick with stone trim and, except for the five-bay French Second Empire style house at 45 West Chestnut, all have L-shaped plans. The best preserved of this group, located at 19 West Chestnut Street, is an Italianate style house with smooth-dressed quoins and windows surrounds, round-arched windows, a gable oculus, semi-octagonal bay windows, and original blinds and arcaded porch. The other residences in this group remain largely intact except for the addition of early twentieth century porches. The residences at 55, 63, and 83 West Chestnut Street are substantial frame houses with hipped roofs, three-bay facades, and modest Colonial Revival style detailing. The house at 65 West Chestnut Street (ca.1915) a large three-bay brick residence topped by high hipped roof, combines elements of the Colonial Revival and Craftsman styles including exposed rafters, nine-over-one double-hung sash windows, and balconettes with urn-shaped turned balusters. The adjacent George Coykendall House (ca.1895) is a large Queen Anne style house built of brick laid in English bond which features gable shingles applied in a serpentine pattern, a conical roofed corner tower, a warp-around porch, and a frieze with garland decoration on the side semi-circular window bay.
Lining Broadway is a variety of middle-class brick and frame residences ranging in size from the modest one and one-half story brick William Bertsche House (ca.1860, 247 Broadway) to the two-story brick French Second Empire style Bruck Funeral Home (ca.1870, 261 Broadway). Other styles represented along this section of Broadway include Italianate and Colonial Revival. The buildings on the southwest side of Broadway are located near the sidewalk on relatively narrow lots. The residences on the opposite side of Broadway sit on larger hillside lots behind low retaining walls, ten to fifteen feet above street level. There are few trees in this part of the historic district; landscaping is limited to small hedges and foundation plantings.
The block-long East Chestnut Street rises from Broadway to a mid-block peak before descending to Livingston Street at its eastern terminus. The three residences on East Chestnut Street are similar in scale and setting to those on the southeast side of West Chestnut Street. The oldest of these residences is the E.B. Newkirk House (ca.1860, 10 East Chestnut Street), a rambling two-story frame residence in the Italianate style which commands a view across broad sloping lawns and beds of shrubbery to lower Broadway, Rondout, and the Rondout Creek. The two residences on the north side of East Chestnut Street (#s 7 and 11), also located on large landscaped lots, were built ca.1905 in the Tudor and Colonial Revival styles.
Livingston Street, which slopes to the north and south from the Immanuel Lutheran Church, and Stuyvesant Street, which slopes steeply to the east, are lined with residences in the Italianate, French Second Empire, and Queen Anne styles on generally narrow lots. One of the most elaborate of these is the P.J. Flynn House (ca.1865, 18-24 Stuyvesant Street) a two and one-half story five-bay brick residence in the French Second Empire style which features a concave mansard roof, a tall cupola with matching roof, iron cresting, round-arched windows in round-arched recesses and a full-front arcaded porch. The Immanuel Lutheran Church (ca.1880), a simple brick building with a central tower, broach spire, and Gothic-arched windows, is located on Livingston Street opposite East Chestnut Street flanked by its parish house and parsonage.
The Chestnut Street Historic District contains a significant concentration of intact, fashionable residences which reflect the prosperity and taste of middle- and upper-class residents of nineteenth and early twentieth century Rondout and Kingston. The Chestnut Street Historic District's period of significance spans the period between ca.1855 and 1919, which coincides with Kingston and Rondout's growth as a shipping and manufacturing center. This grouping of substantial frame and masonry residences represents the most intact collection of middle- and upper-class residences in Kingston and includes several exceptional illustrations of the mid-nineteenth century Hudson Valley picturesque taste in architectural design and placement of buildings in the landscape. The buildings in the Chestnut Street Historic District exhibit a wide range of styles popular during this period, including Italianate, French Second Empire, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival styles and one residence which illustrates the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement; the Chestnut Street Historic District also contains one modest late nineteenth century Gothic style church.
The village of Rondout, originally Ronduit, was established as a trading post by the Dutch in the seventeenth century; furs brought overland from inland areas via the Rondout, Walkill, and Esopus Creeks were transferred to boats and shipped down the Hudson River to New York City. The village of Kingston, also known at various times as Esopus and Wiltwyck, located a few miles inland on the fertile flood plain of the Esopus Creek, was a stockaded agricultural settlement which dominated the area in the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Kingston served briefly as the seat of New York State's government until it was burned by the British in October of 1777. The completion of the Delaware and Hudson Canal in 1828 inaugurated Rondout's growth from a small hamlet to an important shipping and manufacturing center. The canal was constructed by entrepreneurs William and Maurice Wurts to carry coal from their mines in northeastern Pennsylvania to the Hudson River and New York City. As the Hudson River terminus of the canal, Rondout prospered as a transshipment center for coal and other commodities shipped on the canal. Rondout's growth was further spurred by the completion of the Delaware and Hudson Plank Road in the 1830s, which enlarged the village's hinterland. In the 1840s and 1850s, Rondout continued to grow as a processing and shipping center for locally quarried cement and bluestone. The discovery of clay deposits near the Hudson River led to the development of the brick-making industry at Rondout. Two other major industries were ice-cutting and the manufacture of patent medicine. A natural outgrowth of Rondout's importance as a canal and river port was the development of the local boat-building industry; local yards turned out a variety of vessels ranging in size from ice and coal barges to sloops, schooners, and steamboats. By the mid-nineteenth century, Rondout had surpassed Kingston in population; in 1855, Rondout had a population of more than six thousand, while Kingston had slightly fewer than four thousand inhabitants. Although separate entities, the two communities were interdependent; while Rondout grew as a shipping and industrial center, Kingston remained as the primary local banking and commercial center. In 1872, following unsuccessful bids to be incorporated as separate cities, the two villages merged to become the city of Kingston.
The Chestnut Street neighborhood developed between ca.1855 and 1919 as a home of the middle and upper middle classes during Kingston's period of late nineteenth and early twentieth century prosperity. Residents of the neighborhood included bankers, small independent merchants, and physicians as well as entrepreneurs and managers who prospered with the development and expansion of the local transportation and building materials industries. The substantial residences in the Chestnut Street Historic District illustrate the range of architectural styles popular during this period, including Italianate, French Second Empire, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, and Italian Renaissance. In the 1840s and 1850s, development began to move up the side of the ridge separating the historic centers of Rondout and Kingston. In the 1840s, James S. McEntee, the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company's superintendent at Rondout, bought fifty-two acres of farmland at the top of the ridge, overlooking Rondout. McEntee, a surveyor for both the Erie and Delaware and Hudson canals, built the large island dock in Rondout Creek where coal was transferred from canal to river boats and claimed to have suggested the name of Rondout for the village when it was incorporated in 1849. Maps indicate that McEntee laid out Chestnut Street by 1853. An 1858 map indicates that four houses had been built on the street by that date. Two of these houses stand in the Chestnut Street Historic District: the General Henry Samson House at 32 West Chestnut Street and the Dr. Abraham Crispell House at 60 West Chestnut Street. One of the other two of these early houses is extant outside the historic district, surrounded by modern residences and older residences which have been substantially altered. Samson, who acquired a fortune from a tannery which he owned with Zadock Pratt at Samsonville, built his large Italianate style residence of coursed random ashlar local bluestone with a low-pitched hipped roof, cupola, very broad bracketed eaves, oculus windows in the cross gables, round-arched second-floor windows, and Tuscan order entry porches; the house is reminiscent of the Italian Villa style designs of James McEntee's son-in-law, prominent architect Calvert Vaux. Crispell, who served as surgeon of the 20th Regiment of the New York State Militia during the Civil War, also built a home in the Italianate style with a hipped roof, cupola, and bracketed eaves. In 1919, the Crispell House was enlarged and remodelled to resemble an Italian Renaissance Villa. The new two-story five-bay front block of the house features a hipped roof, broad bracketed eaves, smooth stuccoed walls, floor-length round-arched first floor windows and a pedimented central-entrance vestibule with Ionic pilasters. Both of these early houses were sited to take advantage of picturesque views of the Rondout Creek and the village of Rondout. In the 1860s, local banker and real estate developer E.B. Newkirk built his large Italianate style residence at the corner of Broadway and East Chestnut Street. The house was later occupied by Dr. David Kennedy, manufacturer of "Dr. Kennedy's Favorite Remedy" and other patent medicines. Composed of two off-set gabled blocks with a wrap-around verandah, the house originally featured a three-story tower with balcony which was reduced to a two-story projection ca.1900.
The Chestnut Street Historic District developed rapidly during the late 1860s and 1870s, probably as a result of prosperity generated by the Civil War and a demand for new housing. It was during this period that the Italianate and French Second Empire style residences on the northwest side of West Chestnut Street, Broadway, Livingston Street and Stuyvesant Street were constructed.
These houses were constructed for prosperous managers of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company and other large concerns and for small independent businessmen. Among these are the John A. Larter House (49 West Chestnut Street), the Peter Phillips House (45 West Chestnut Street), the Jansen Hasbrouck House (39 West Chestnut Street), the Francis M. Hoystradt House (35 West Chestnut Street), the first George Hutton House (27 West Chestnut Street), the John Gill House (19 West Chestnut Street), the Hiram Roosa House (15 West Chestnut Street), the Bruck Funeral Home (261 Broadway), Charles Bray House (262 Broadway), and the P.J. Flynn House (18-24 Stuyvesant Street). John A. Larter was Paymaster of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company; Peter Phillips was variously a superintendent of shipping and a boat inspector for the Delaware and Hudson Canal company; Jansen Hasbrouck, grandson of Abraham Hasbrouck (on whose farm Rondout expanded), was partner with his brother Conrad (who resided at 26-30 Stuyvesant Street) in a hardware business in Rondout; Francis M. Hoystradt was a clerk and later a foreman with the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company; George Hutton inherited the lumber and brick-making business of his father William (who resided at 32 West Chestnut Street) in 1897; John Gill was a local builder who may have been responsible for many of the residences constructed at this time (many of the early 1870s residences on West Chestnut Street are similar in form and detail); Hiram Roosa was a prominent real estate and insurance agent in Rondout; Charles Bray was Cashier of the First National Bank of Rondout; P.J. Flynn owned a "groceries, provisions, and liquors" business on Union Avenue in Rondout. Among these, two substantial middle-class examples of the Italianate style are the John Gill House (ca.1870, 19 West Chestnut Street), constructed of brick with smooth-dressed stone trim, and the Jansen Hasbrouck, Jr. House (ca.1875, 39 West Chestnut Street), also constructed of brick; simpler three-bay frame examples of the style with gable roofs and bracketed eaves were built at 249 Broadway, 31 Livingston Street, and 34 Livingston Street, the parsonage of the adjacent Immanuel Lutheran church. The residence at 251 Broadway (ca.1875), although detached and set behind a small front yard, is a modest example of rowhouse form executed in brick with segmentally arched openings and a panelled and bracketed cornice. The P.J. Flynn House (ca.1875) is a two-story, five-bay French Second Empire style residence of brick with a cupola, concave mansard roof, and elaborate iron cresting.
By 1870, several members of Rondout's large German-American population had purchased property on Chestnut Street and adjacent portions of Broadway and Stuyvesant Street; names on an 1870 map include Hoystradt (Heustradt), Larter, Bertsche, Dorfeldecker, and German (Deutsch). The Immanuel Lutheran Church, a simple brick building with a central facade tower, broach spire, and Gothic arched windows, was constructed on Livingston Street ca.1880. The church is one of four constructed in Rondout in the mid to late nineteenth century to serve the local German population.
In the 1890s, several examples of the Queen Anne style were constructed in the Chestnut Street Historic District. The largest and most elaborate of these are the George Coykendall House (ca.1895, 77 West Chestnut Street), a large brick residence with a corner tower and wraparound porch, and "Cloverly" (ca.1895, 70 West Chestnut Street) which combines Queen Anne style massing and Colonial Revival style detailing. "Cloverly" was apparently built for James VanDeusen, a partner in VanDeusen Brothers, a wholesale drug firm. Subsequent occupants of the house included Frederick D. Hibbard, General Passenger Agent in Rondout for the Hudson River Day (steamboat) Line, and James Dwyer, president of the Rondout National Bank. The relatively modest Queen Anne style house at 34 Stuyvesant Street was built by Absalom Etlinge Anderson, second captain, 1885-1913, of the Mary Powell, one of the largest and most famous of the Hudson River passenger steamboats. Anderson's father, Absalom Lent Anderson, was the builder, owner, and first captain of the Mary Powell and lived for a time in the house which preceded the present residence at 65 West Chestnut Street.
Also during the 1890s, the Henry Samson property on the southeast side of West Chestnut Street was subdivided for residential development. Between ca.1893 and ca.1905, new houses were built at 241 Broadway and at 12, 18, 44, and 48 West Chestnut Street. All of these, except for the second George Hutton House (ca.1905, 18 West Chestnut Street), are relatively simple rectangular residences built of brick with cut stone trim, hipped roofs, and simple Neoclassical style detailing. The Colonial Revival style Hutton House, constructed of rock-faced bluestone with smooth-dressed quoins and trim, features a central projecting pavilion, swan's neck dormer with Palladian window, a center-bay tripartite window with fan transom, and an elaborate bowed Ionic porch.
During the early twentieth century, several substantial middle-class residences were constructed on the northwest side of West Chestnut Street, East Chestnut Street, and Broadway primarily for businessmen and professionals who provided local goods and services and who were not directly involved in Kingston's industrial and shipping concerns. They included the homes of Peter E. Schoonmaker (ca.1900, 83 West Chestnut Street), treasurer of the Kingston City Railroad; John Hiltebrandt (ca.1915, 65 West Chestnut Street) J.T. Johnson (ca.1900, 63 West Chestnut Street) owner of a Rondout hardware store; Henry S. Crispell (ca.1899, 55 West Chestnut Street), son of Dr. Abraham Crispell and owner of a wholesale drug business in Rondout; prominent physician Dr. George Chandler (ca.1905, 7 East Chestnut Street); and Grove Webster (ca.1905, 11 East Chestnut Street), proprietor of a large Rondout livery stable and one-time sheriff of Ulster County. Except for the Chandler and Hiltebrandt houses, these are large American Foursquare residences with Colonial Revival style detailing. The Chandler House is an example of the Tudor Revival style, while the brick Hiltebrandt House combines Arts and Crafts and Colonial Revival style decorative elements on a five-bay center-entrance form with a high hipped roof. The completion of the Italian Renaissance style addition to the front of the Dr. Abraham Crispell House (ca.1855) at 60 West Chestnut Street in 1919, marked the end of the Chestnut Street neighborhood's development as a district of middle- and upper-class housing.
During the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries, several factors led to the decline of Kingston's importance as an industrial center. Because rail transportation was faster, more flexible, and more economical, the Delaware and Hudson Canal declined in importance and was closed in 1899. The loss of Kingston's function as a major transshipment point and the decline of Hudson River shipping led to the demise of the major Kingston boat yards. The development of Portland cement, hard brick, and other new building materials dealt a fatal blow to the local bluestone, cement, and brick-making industries. By 1932, except for two dress-making factories, the few local manufacturing plants produced goods for local consumption.
The Chestnut Street Historic District today appears largely as it did upon the completion of renovations to the Dr. Crispell House in 1919. With its cohesive collection of largely intact middle- and upper-class residences dating from the second half of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth century, the Chestnut Street Historic Districts recalls Kingston and Rondout's period of prosperity as a major Hudson River port and manufacturing center.
Albany, New York, New York State Division for Historic Preservation Field Services Bureau Research Files.
† Robert T. Englert, New York State Division for Historic Preservation, Chestnut Street Historic District, Kingston, Ulster County, New York, nomination document, 1985, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.