Thursday, September 9, 2010

A 19th-Century Guide to Hudson Architecture

The new issue of OurTown--The Architecture Issue--includes the "OurTown Guide to the Architecture of Columbia County." The reason for drawing attention to this notable issue of OurTown and to the guide is twofold. The voice of Gossips selected and commented on most of the Hudson architecture included in the guide, and mentioning it provides a facile introduction to this very selective guide to the domestic architecture of Hudson that appeared in the Evening Register on March 30, 1867. Note that the house numbers provided in brackets (after an hour spent with the 1866-67 Hudson City Directory in the History Room at the library) are the numbers used before "hundred blocks" were introduced on all the west-to-east streets. Soon to come are current addresses of the houses mentioned in the article.


Ancient and Modern.--In the first block in Union Street there are a number of handsome houses, among them the residences of M. Hoffman Philip [12], Lemuel Holmes [11], Samuel W. Harris [22] and William H. Mellen [26] and David E. Kendrick [17]--These houses are all of brick, and are considered the most substantial in the city.

On the second block, we find the residences of Robert B. Monell [53], and that of Wm. H. Clark [63]. The house of the latter is a land mark, having been built many years ago by Capt. Hudson. In front of the house stand two Norway Pines, which are considered as fine specimen of trees in this vicinity. Diagonally opposite the Clark property is to be found the house of Sherman Van Ness [70]. This house is considered very desirable, as it has the appearance of a very stylish and aristocratic mansion.

On this same block can be found many houses noted more for comfort than elegant appearance, although some of them are quite a la mode.--Among these are the residences of E. Sedgwick [69], E. H. Macy [97], Richard F. Clark [99], Mrs. Bacon [106] and Cornelius H. Evans [108].

House No. 77, now occupied by L. Higley, is one of the most ancient in the city, and is revered as the birth-place of General Worth. It is a modest structure, but deserves notice for its antiquity and early associations.

Opposite to Mr. Evans' stands the large and elegant house of George W. Gibson [111]. This is a large, old-fashioned mansion and is surrounded by ground enough to make quite a small farm. It was only a few years since that that this property was purchased for $4,500. It could not be bought to-day for twice that sum.

On the square above Third street stands the cottage of Dr. W. H. Hart [123], a neat house, built originally by Charles H. Casey. This cottage seems to be, and without doubt is, very cozy. The other noticeable houses here are those of Mrs H. Smith [184] and H. B. Van Rensselaer [177].

Although the upper part of Allen street contains some of the finest dwellings in the city, the lower part can lay claim to a number of very nice houses. Among these are the rows of houses built by John I. Gaul [65-69], and the house of Wm. H. Power [71] on the block between Second and Third streets. There are on the same block a large number of cottages, mostly owned by the occupants of them. On the Southwest corner of Allen and Second streets stands the residence of Mayor Jacob W. Hoysradt [59]. This house is a correct specimen of gothic architecture, and was built by Charles C. Alger, from whom Mr. Hoysradt purchased it. This house was built with a view to comfort and convenience, as well as looks.

Opposite Mr. Hoysradt, and fronting on Partition street, we find the dwelling and grounds of Mrs. Richard I. Wells [67]. This house was built under the strict supervision of the late Mr. Wells, and its interior as well as its exterior is quite imposing. Further down are a number of cottages, and at the foot of the street is the property of Charles Esselstyn, formerly owned by Charles McArthur. This is about the first house that strangers see upon entering the city, and it serves as a good introduction, as it is one of the pleasantest looking houses in the city.

Returning to that part of Allen street above Court House Square and above the residence of Lucius Moore [195], we find the house of A. M. Baker [205], formerly occupied by the late Killian Miller. Nearly opposite this is the dwelling of J. D. Aymar [206], a very pleasant house, and just suited to the location. At the head of Allen Street on the South side, is a house belonging to W. W. Hannah, and occupied by T. Simpson [175]. This house is decidedly the neatest and coziest in town, and was fitted up under the direct supervision of Mr. Hannah, everything about it is complete, and it is much sought after, but nothing has yet induced the owner to sell it.

On the block above Fifth street are a number of houses, the most of them set a few feet back from the street. Among the more noticeable of these is the house lately owned by John French [278], and those of Thomas Gantley [286] and Hiram Macy [309].

Directly opposite Sixth street, in Union, is the palatial residence of Thomas Best [325]. To say that this is one of the finest buildings in the vicinity would be to say only what every one acknowledges. It has been built hardly two years, and when the trees grow up around it there will be no more elegant location in the city. The view from the house is extremely fine, and cannot be cut off by the erection of buildings in the rear.

Above this mansion are the residences of Wm. H. Crapser [331], Alex S. Rowley [333] and Robert Shepard [corner of Seventh], all frame buildings, but of the best models and very stylish.

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