Members of the Historic Hudson Board of Directors gathered with advisers and friends on Monday afternoon at the Plumb-Bronson House to celebrate the completion of their first restoration project and to revel in the light. The Plumb-Bronson House--notable in the past for the absence of intact windows--now has forty-one meticulously restored, repaired, or replicated windows, admitting light and reestablishing the relationship of the interior spaces with the landscape.
The window project was a long time in being realized. It was funded back in 2003 with an Athens Gen grant matched by Historic Hudson funds, but the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which administered the grant program, would not release the money until Historic Hudson had its lease in place with the State of New York making the not-for-profit the legal steward of the house and giving it an ownership interest. Although the enabling legislation for the lease was passed by the State Assembly and Senate in June 2003, it took another five years before the lease was negotiated and signed.
Restoring windows is not a typical first step in stabilizing buildings, but Historic Hudson decided it was the right first step for the Plumb-Bronson House. With the original window sash all but missing, heavy wood covers over the window openings protected the house from the ravages of weather and vandals, but they also kept the interior of the house dark and the exterior looking desolate and bleak. There was also the laborious task of removing them whenever Historic Hudson opened the house for tours or events. Restoring the windows, it was thought, would bring light to the interior and help people understand the architectural achievement of the house. And it has.
Everyone will get the chance to experience the house transformed by windows and light sometime in June when Historic Hudson is planning a gala event at the Plumb-Bronson House.