The question of whether or not to remove the ornamentation that early houses acquired later in the 19th century does not have a definitive answer. Although the impulse is often to return a house to its earliest appearance, there are many who value the palimpsest quality of Hudson architecture, which has survived and evolved over time. Historic preservation advocates today usually advise against removing historic detail, arguing that doing so takes away years of architectural history. Consider the Dr. Oliver Bronson House. Returning it to its earliest appearance would eliminate the very reason the house has been designated a National Historic Landmark--the work done by Alexander Jackson Davis to "refit" and expand what was originally a Federal house in the then fashionable Picturesque style.
|900 Columbia Street, before it was disassembled|
|211 Union Street, before it was reimagined|
COPYRIGHT 2014 CAROLE OSTERINK
The image of the Dr. Oliver Bronson House is a detail from a c. 1819 watercolor by William Guy Wall in the collection of the New-York Historical Society and borrowed from The Dr. Oliver Bronson House Day Book.