For my last building feature in New York in this series, I feature the Roosa-Van Deusen House on Hurley’s Main Street village of old stone homes. This house dates to 1744 and was built upon land owned by Jan Alderts Roosa, who emigrated to New Netherland (New York) with his family on the Spotted Cow in 1660, when he was 14 years old. The house was likely built by Jan Van Deusen (Jan Roosa’s grandson), a blacksmith who worked in town. The Van Deusen House famously became the capital building of New York when in 1777, the newly formed New York state government moved here for two months while Kingston was being rebuilt after the British Army had burned it in retaliation for the creation of the state. It is thus the second of the state’s three capital cities, the present, Albany, being the third.
Built circa 1780, this old stone house is fairly new compared to some of its neighbors (it was built after the Revolution). The land upon which the house sits was originally owned by Anthony de Hooges and his wife Eva. It was purchased by Conrad Elmendorf, who likely built the home after the War. and handed down to his great-grandson Col. Jonathan Elmendorf who served in the War of 1812. The property is now home to the Hurley Historical Society, which host an Old Stone House Tour every year.
One of my favorite houses in Hurley is the Dumond House (also known as the “Spy House”), a pre-Revolutionary stone cottage built in Dutch traditions. The house is one and one-half stories high, and is built of limestone. The limestone walls are of various thickness, from a nearby quarry, with the square ends laid up in mortar made of clay, and pointed with lime mortar outside. The house was built by Jacobus Van Etten (1696-1779) and used as a Guard House during the American Revolution. In 1777, it was famous for housing the convicted British spy, Lt. Daniel Taylor after he was caught carrying a message between British Generals Henry Clinton and John Burgoyne. Lt. Taylor was arrested as a British spy, convicted in court of spying and held in the basement of the Du Mond House as a prisoner. He was hung on October 18, 1777 from a nearby tree. American soldiers encamped in the area were paraded by the body as a warning to any potential British sympathizers. The home was later owned by the Dumond Family. It has been owned by the Kent family since 1933.
Another of Hurley’s stone houses is this beauty, known as the Polly Crispel Cottage. The house was built before the American Revolution c.1700 by an Anthony Crispell, a cordwainer. The home was likely a half cape in form with the door and two windows to its right. The other half was added at a lower level later on with the floors uneven, likely in 1735 where a construction date plaque read. The home also features a dutch door, which I wish we had more of in New England.
From about 1670 to 1801, the villagers of Hurley were associated with the Kingston Reformed Church, about three miles away. In those years, the minister of the Kingston Church met with the Hurley parishioners at least once every six weeks and conducted a Sunday service in one of the local homes. In 1801, they grew tired of not having their own place of worship, and they petitioned to establish their own church in Hurley, and succeeded. The original church building was a large, single room, stone building that seated over 250 people on the main floor and in three galleries around the side and back walls. A tall steeple atop the building boasted a large brass globe surmounted by a wrought iron weathervane in the shape of a crowing rooster. A large crack in the building was unrepairable and the structure began to shift, leading to its replacement with the current building in 1854. The old white church has been occupied by the congregation ever since.
As the Elmendorf family put its roots down in Hurley, Ulster County, New York, the descendants built stone houses as a nod to their ancestors of Dutch heritage, following those building traditions. This five-bay stone house was built around 1789 and is a vernacular Federal home with Dutch and English building influence. The property exhibits shed dormers and a Colonial Revival portico, but exudes 18th century charm.
When Pieter Ostrander settled in Hurley, NY with his family in the late 1600s. Being of Dutch descent, he (and other settlers) built their homes and barns in Dutch traditions. This lot along the village’s main street was acquired by Pieter and inherited by his son, Arent in about 1710, about the time the home is estimated to have been built. It was acquired by the Elmendorf Family by the early 19th century. At that time, the property operated as the Half Moon Tavern, after Petrus Elmendorf purchased it in 1804. The addition to the east (right) was built as a weaving room. The property remained in the Elmendorf family until 2008 (that’s almost 300 years in two families!) It was acquired by the new owner who has been restoring and researching the home ever since. He runs a blog documenting the property’s rich history.
Pieter Pieterzen Ostrander (1657-1706) was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands by 1657. His father died in the East Indies and soon after, Pieter, his mother, his stepfather Arent Teunissen, and older sister Tryntje Pieters immigrated to New Netherland (New York), arriving in 1661. Initially the family settled on Coney Island in Brooklyn and were eventually forced out by English settlers. The family removed to Wiltwyck (present-day Kingston, in Ulster County, New York. In Kingston, Pieter married Rebecca Traphagen Ostrander (1662-1720) in the Reformed Dutch Church of Kingston, New York, on 19 January 1679. Some time after their marriage, Pieter and Rebecca moved southwest to the nearby village of Hurley, where in 1687 he was one of several villagers to take an Oath of Allegiance. They built a small, single-room cottage here and lived there until it was expanded around the time Pieter passed away. In 1715, the house was deeded to Pieter’s son, Arent. During the time of the American Revolution, the home operated as a tavern. In October, November, and December of 1777, this house is said to have been the military headquarters for General George Clinton’s Continental forces and the town was the temporary capital of New York State. In 1782, the home was later believed to be where a reception was held in front for George Washington as he rode through town in 1782. In the 19th century, the left (northern) half of the house was added on by owner Abe Houghtaling, who operated that side as a wagon making shop. Whew! That’s a lot of history!
Highlighted by the establishment of the Catskill Mountain House in the 1820s, and furthered by the construction of subsequent resorts and boarding houses, the Catskill Mountains enjoyed a lively seasonal tourist industry that continued largely unabated throughout most of the nineteenth century. Mead’s Mountain House was representative of the smaller, less ostentatious boarding houses that sprang up in the region to serve a more middle-class clientele of tourists. This church, the Church of the Holy Transfiguration was originally constructed in 1891 in association with Mead’s Mountain House as a modest place of worship for guests of the Mead family’s boarding house and those of the nearby Overlook Mountain House. The chapel was constructed in 1891 and modestly built, constructed with a wood balloon frame above a fieldstone foundation with detailing reminiscent of the rustic aesthetic, popular in the Adirondacks to the north. In the 1960s, Father Francis, the much-beloved “hippie priest”, here welcomed hippies who had congregated in town during those years that culminated in the famous art and music festival. Fr. Francis began the practice of this lesser known branch of Catholicism, which acknowledges the Pope as an earthly spiritual leader but, unlike classical Roman Catholicism, does not consider the Pope to be supreme or infallible. The small chapel remains as a quirky and important piece of local history.
As Woodstock New York surged in popularity as a retreat for American and European artists, savvy businessmen from Manhattan could not help themselves but to envision ways to make a little extra money. Morris Newgold and his son, Gabriel of New York City who purchased the Overlook Mountain House in 1917, sought to expand their upstate lodging empire and built a secondary establishment in the village of Woodstock, the Colony Hotel. The Colony Hotel serve as a more modest establishment to the grand Overlook Mountain House atop Overlook Mountain and would be a staging area and a stopover point for guests coming up the Hudson River by boat or train. Guests would spend the night at the Colony and eat at its fine restaurant before making the arduous trip up the mountain to the Overlook Mountain House the next day. The Colony Hotel appears to have been Gabriel’s idea who prided himself on the new building being “pretentious” as it was much more substantial than the more modest, vernacular buildings around the village. Gerald Betz of nearby Kingston was the architect for the Colony Hotel. Construction began for the Colony Hotel in 1927, and it opened to guests the summer of 1929. Morris died in 1940 and Gabriel continued to manage the Colony until his son took over from 1945 until the 1960 but as event space for arts and antiques fairs. It became known as the Colony Arts Center. The Colony’s website goes on to state that the building sat empty almost entirely through the next forty years. It was recently restored by artists Alexia and Neil Howard who converted it to a music venue and beer garden, it is pretty amazing and a must-see for history buffs visiting Woodstock.