Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Round-House in the Hill

The "round-house" on Promenade Hill was one of several details that helped identify the primitive watercolor painting auctioned this week at Sotheby's as a depiction of Hudson. A reader reminded me that the round-house also appears in the decorative detailing of a settee, dated 1810 to 1820, in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery.  

The painted panel at the right depicts the round-house and South Bay beyond.

Images of the settee were featured in the exhibition Seeing South Bay, which opened at the Hudson Opera House in February 2001.

Yesterday, when talking about the painting misidentified as Fort Lee or Hoboken, New Jersey, we quoted part of what Franklin Ellis had to say about the round-house in his 1878 History of Columbia County. Today, we'll quote that passage from Ellis in its entirety.
After the hill was donated [in 1795] to the city (but we have been unable to ascertain how long after that time) there was built upon it a house of octagonal shape, two stories high, the upper one being used as a lookout or observatory, and the lower one as a refreshment-room, which latter was never a desirable addition to the "attractions" of the place. Upon the erection of this structure the "Mall" received the name of "Round-House Hill," and continued to be so known until about 1835, when the ground was improved by the erection of a fence, the laying out of graded walks, and the removal of the "roundhouse"; after which the name, being inappropriate as well as inelegant was dropped. . . .

1 comment:

  1. would love to put that round house with observatory back on the hill