Reporting this morning that Don Pollack, who is retracing the route of Lincoln's inaugural train trip from Springfield to Washington, visited Olana while here in Hudson yesterday got me wondering if Frederic Church would have been in residence at Olana when Lincoln passed through. The answer, I've discovered, is "no," or more like "not quite."
In February 1860, Church purchased a 126-acre farm, now part of the grounds of Olana, but it wasn't until the early summer of 1861 that he commissioned Richard Morris Hunt to design a home where he and his wife, Isabel Carnes, whom he married in June 1860, could live and raise a family. The board-and-batten cottage Hunt designed is Cosy Cottage, now the headquarters of The Olana Partnership. In 1867, Church purchased the hilltop above the farm, and in 1872, he and his family moved into the Persian-inspired mansion, designed by Calvert Vaux, that he built on that hilltop, which we now know as Olana.