She had with her a copy of Life Magazine for May 13, 1966, the issue that contained a photo essay about Olana entitled, "Must this mansion be destroyed?" Heyl explained that in June 1966, when the New York State Legislature considered the bill authorizing the State of New York to acquire Olana, a copy of this issue of the magazine was placed on the desk of every state senator and assemblyman.
The Life article that helped to persuade the State Legislature to save Olana turns out to have also been an early example of crowd sourcing. The text of the article contained this appeal:
. . . today Olana is in imminent danger of destruction. In 1964 the artist's heirs decided to dispose of the 327 acres of land, the mansion and its entire contents, including several hundred paintings and drawings by Church himself. Alarmed at this news, Professor David Huntington, a Church expert and enthusiast, rounded up a distinguished committee to preserve Olana as a museum and park. They have raised $160,000 toward the purchase of the property, but they must obtain $310,000 more before June 30 when their option expires. Only the interest and contributions of many Americans can save this unique and splendid domain of an artist's fancy.
May your committee raise the necessary money or we may surely be classed as the "Ugly" Americans.The sheriff of Multnomah County in Oregon had this to say in the letter that accompanied his contribution:
I read with interest the article in LIFE Magazine regarding the F. E. Church estate and the effort to save it from destruction. I feel very strongly that we should save the best of the past to provide for the excellence of the future.Among the letters, too, was one from a nine-year-old boy in West Nyack, who sent a dollar he had saved along with fifty cents from his six-year-old brother. In his letter, he wrote:
In the latest issue of life they had an article on Olana. They told about the mansion where the Famous artist Frederic Edwin Church lived.
In the mansion it holds 100's of Churches Pictures and drawings and its lovely furniture.
But I was disappointed when the article said the artist's heirs planned to tear down it all, 327 acres and all. . . .
I hope that the mansion that overlooks the Hudson river will be saved and be turned into a park and a museum so many people could see what it was like when the mansion was built.