Wilderstein, a Hudson River estate with scenic mountain views, began in 1852 when Thomas Holy Suckley purchased the land which was originally a sheep meadow of the adjoining 18th-century Wildercliff estate. Thomas and his wife, Catherine Murray Bowne, built the Italianate villa designed by John Warren Ritch. "Wilderstein" is German for "wild man's stone" in reference to a nearby Indian rock carving.
In 1888 the house was remodeled and expanded by their son, Robert Bowne Suckley and his wife, Elizabeth Philips Montgomery. It was then that the villa was redesigned by Poughkeepsie architect, Arnout Cannon, into an extraordinary Queen Anne style masterpiece. A third floor and multi-gabled attic was added as well as a five-story circular tower affording a spectacular view of the landscape designed by Calvert Vaux. Further additions included a sizable verandah and grand porte-cochere. Outbuildings included a turreted carriage house, Shingle style gate lodge, and a Colonial Revival style potting shed.
Three generations of Suckleys lived at Wilderstein. Margaret Lynch Suckley, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Suckley, was the last resident. She was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's distant cousin and a close companion. (He called her "Daisy.") Margaret died at Wilderstein in 1991 at the age of 100.
Margaret Lynch Suckley donated the house and grounds to the Wilderstein Preservation, a not-for-profit educational institution. Wilderstein is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a major feature of the Hudson River National Landmark District.
Morton Road • Route 85