Last night, after reading the news on the Hudson Community Board on Facebook that the house was to be demolished, I went to the Greenport Planning Board meeting, where TRG was on the agenda, to learn more. At the end of the meeting, after the folks from TRG had made their presentation and left and the public was allowed to speak, I asked if the proposed project involved the demolition of the Gothic Revival house. At first, Ed Stiffler, who chairs the Planning Board said, "No." My heart leapt up. Then, realizing which project I was asking about, he changed his answer and confirmed that the Gothic Revival house on Fairview and the Gothic Revival cottage behind McDonald's were both to be demolished.
|Photo: Paul Barrett|
In its earliest days, the house, then apparently known as "The Pines," belonged to Joseph S. Farrand. Biographical Review: Leading Citizens of Columbia County recounts that Farrand, "a strictly honorable and conscientious man, clean of hand, one who walked uprightly," left a successful feed store business in New York City and "relinquished the prospect of great gains, and, leaving the metropolis, removed to Greenport, Columbia County, where he bought a farm of one hundred and forty acres, with a handsome dwelling, just outside the city of Hudson." The farm was both in Greenport and in Hudson, extending to Underhill Pond and Power's Spring, at the end of Spring Street.
The Farrand who had the most impact on Hudson, however, was Joseph's youngest son, Arthur, who was born in 1868. Arthur was a developer in the first decades of the 20th century. As president of Oakdale Park Realty Co., he tranformed much of what had been the Farrand farm, as well as the Hudson Fairgrounds and Power's Woods, into building lots for houses and helped to create not only the part of Hudson we now know as "the Boulevards" but also the man-made, spring-fed Oakdale Lake.
Possibly more important than its association with local personages of note, however, is the fact that the house, if not built after a house plan from one of the pattern books of Alexander Jackson Davis or Andrew Jackson Downing, was built by someone clearly influenced by their designs and is a fine example of a significant period in 19th-century American architecture. But alas, it is being sacrificed to create a new mall of dubious architectural merit, with McDonald's as its centerpiece, Aldi's at the back, and two more buildings housing as yet unknown retail enterprises.
Here's more intel from the Greenport Planning Board. Stiffler noted that the Planning Board had received a petition from Tom Alvarez, of John A. Alvarez & Sons, regarding the Galvan Motel. Stiffler explained that the Planning Board had nothing to do with the project. Because the plan was to renovate an existing motel and did not involve a change of use, a building permit had been issued without a site plan review by the Planning Board.
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