Monday, May 10, 2010

What's in a Name?

The question is on everyone's lips (well, maybe not everyone's): Why has Historic Hudson started calling the Hudson River estate in its care the Dr. Oliver Bronson House instead of the Plumb-Bronson House?

I have permission from Timothy Dunleavy, president of Historic Hudson, to reveal the answer to that question here.

Back in 1997, when Historic Hudson began its advocacy for the house, it was decided the name Plumb would be included in the house's name to acknowledge its connection with Hudson's New England roots and maritime heritage. Captain Samuel Plumb, for whom the house was built in 1812, was a seagoing man from New Bedford who followed the original Proprietors to their new "seaport far from the sea."

Recently, however, it seemed that to continue calling the house the Plumb-Bronson House only invited confusion. The house is of national significance because of its connection with the architect Alexander Jackson Davis, and it was Dr. Oliver Bronson who hired Davis first to "refit" the house in 1839 and then to expand it in 1849. In 1973, the house was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the Dr. Oliver Bronson House. Perhaps more important, in 2003, it was designated a National Historic Landmark as the Dr. Oliver Bronson House. Somewhere there's an NHL plaque waiting to be erected at the house that identifies it as the Dr. Oliver Bronson House, so Historic Hudson decided it was time to transition to that name.


  1. I'm calling it "Ollie's Place."

  2. I've been waiting for years for this to happen. I'm the historian on the Florida side where Dr. Bronson became the 1st school superintendent of St. Johns County, Florida. The more notice the better.