Ogden Mills & Ruth Livingston Mills State Park

Mills-Norrie State Park - NY Travel Blog

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Mills Mansion

The upstream shores of the Hudson clearly had a high appeal to the wealthy New Yorkers of the past. I already wrote some log entries about the houses of former US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his neighbour Frederick Vanderbilt. Especially the latter owned a respectable mansion on the beautiful shores of the Hudson. (See here for more info).

A bit more to the North, near the village of Staatsburg is yet another big and impressive mansion, the Mills Mansion. The grounds were purchased in 1792 by Morgan Lewis, a former NY State Governor. He constructed a small house at the site which was extended with several wings in 1814. Lewis also added all kind of other buildings (barns, stables, etc.

Esopus Meadows Lighthouse with the Catskill Mountains in the background
) In 1832 his house burned down but was immediately restored with an even larger (25-room) Greek Revival Style building. His grand daughter, Ruth Livingston, inherited the estate in 1890 and began transforming the estate into a "Gilded Age Country Estate". Ruth was married to Ogden Mills, a very wealthy man, the couple hosted many high society parties at their estate which soon turned out to be not fancy enough for their "show off" parties. In 1894 the Millses hired Stanford White, a prominent architect from New York City, to design an even bigger house. A mansion that would show their wealth and importance. When the house was completed, one year later, the result was the mansion that is still standing nowadays on the site. The house has 14 (!) bathrooms and 65 (!!) rooms and was decorated with the finest furniture and rugs from all over the world.
Ice on the Hudson River shore

The Millses only lived here in the fall by the way.

In 1855 the famous architect, Calvert Vaux (Central Park), designed and added another house to the lands for Geraldine Livingstone and her husband Lydig Hoyt. The beautiful Hoyt House must have had great views on the Hudson valley.

In 1938 the estate was donated to the State of New York and became a state park Ogden Mills & Ruth Livingston Mills State Park. The mansion became Staatsburgh State Historic Site. The Hoyt House was confiscated by the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation, led by Robert Moses.

View over the Hudson River
The plan was to raze the monumental house and construct a swimming pool at the site. This plan, fortunately, was never carried out, but in the meantime the house, decayed to a ruin that is still standing up to today, heavily struck by the elements and time.  But,... in February this year, funds were made available to restore the impressive building.

And, I would not have written so much of this site if I had not been there of course. It had been a long time since I had made a decent hike. I assumed the snow would have melted away by now in the lower lands. So I chose the Ogden Mills & Ruth Livingston Mills State Park for my today's hike. I parked the Mazda, fully in style, next to the impressive mansion and started walking. The view on the Hudson and the unique Esopus Meadows Lighthouse, a small lighthouse in the middle of the river dating back to 1839, were magnificent.

The Hoyt House in its better days compared to its status a few years ago. (photos: www.buffaloah.com)
 There was still a lot of ice in the river which added to the magic of the place.

Making my way along the Hudson shore I was surprised by the incredible steep abysses next to my hiking path, into the river. During the hike I also encountered the remains of the several houses and structures that were added to the Mills estate. NY State has a lot of repairing to do. The stables were falling apart, the greenhouse is almost completely collapsed. The great Hoyt house looks really sad. I hope the 3.4 million dollars will suffice to bring back the grandeur of the past.

In the meantime, the state park is a very nice park to hike in.

More pictures below! Deze fake-tekst heb ik toegevoegd om net iets meer regels te genereren zodat deze rare website toestaat dat de bijgesloten foto ook vertoond wordt.

 

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Mills Mansion
Mills Mansion
Esopus Meadows Lighthouse with the…
Esopus Meadows Lighthouse with th…
Ice on the Hudson River shore
Ice on the Hudson River shore
View over the Hudson River
View over the Hudson River
The Hoyt House in its better days …
The Hoyt House in its better days…
In the garden of the Mills Mansion
In the garden of the Mills Mansion
Mills Mansion
Mills Mansion
Mills Mansion
Mills Mansion
Esopus Meadows Lighthouse with the…
Esopus Meadows Lighthouse with th…
Ice in the Hudson River
Ice in the Hudson River
Esopus Meadows Lighthouse with the…
Esopus Meadows Lighthouse with th…
Esopus Meadows Lighthouse with the…
Esopus Meadows Lighthouse with th…
The decaying stables
The decaying stables
The decaying stables
The decaying stables
The decaying greenhouse building
The decaying greenhouse building
The decaying greenhouse building
The decaying greenhouse building
The decaying greenhouse garages
The decaying greenhouse garages
Ice in the Hudson River
Ice in the Hudson River
View over the Hudson River
View over the Hudson River
The abyss like shores during the h…
The abyss like shores during the …
View over the Hudson River
View over the Hudson River
View over the Hudson River
View over the Hudson River
Ice in the Hudson River
Ice in the Hudson River
The ruins of the Hoyt House anno t…
The ruins of the Hoyt House anno …
The ruins of the Hoyt House anno t…
The ruins of the Hoyt House anno …
The ruins of the Hoyt House anno t…
The ruins of the Hoyt House anno …
The ruins of the Hoyt House anno t…
The ruins of the Hoyt House anno …
The ruins of the Hoyt House anno t…
The ruins of the Hoyt House anno …
View on Hudson River with Esopus M…
View on Hudson River with Esopus …
View from the Mansion on sunset
View from the Mansion on sunset
One of the many statues surroundin…
One of the many statues surroundi…
Mills-Norrie State Park - NY
photo by: mdalamers