Saturday, January 19, 2019

Who Knew?

No doubt everyone who has visited the Cedar Park section of the cemetery has noticed the house where the cemetery office is located. The house is owned by the City of Hudson, rented to a DPW employee, there's a DPW garage attached to it, and usually there are a few DPW trucks parked nearby. The house has seen better days. The picture below, a still from one of Josef Cipkowski's home movies, shows the house in 1939.  

Gossips recently discovered, in the inventory of the cemetery prepared by Shirley Dunn for its nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, that the house in the cemetery, known as the William Brocksbank House, was nominated for individual listing in the National Register in 1983. I don't have the nomination document for the house itself, but the document for the cemetery has this to say about the house:
Location of the office of the administrator is in a historic house, the William Brocksbank House, in the new section. This house has an individual nomination. 
. . . Italianate posts. The interior is well-preserved, with mid-century architraval molding throughout, original doors with round-headed panels, an excellent curved staircase with a period newel post and turned balusters, and a wide hall. Other round-headed windows with circular window panes in the top appear in the octagonal gate-house on Prospect Street and in a store and firehouse on Warren Street. The house has a stone foundation and paired chimneys which pierce the roof behind the ridge. . . .
The present house on the property could date from the 1850s, although whether the house is the one on the [1858 county] map is not certain. The 1873 county atlas identifies the property as W. Brooksbank's [sic] nursery. Brocksbank advertised in the city directories that he was a florist and nurseryman. He used the valuable farm lands to raise plants and flowers. The house was originally outside the city line, and was brought into the city boundaries when the line was extended in 1897, after the property had been purchased for use as a city cemetery. It has been owned by the city ever since and as a result is unusually well-preserved. When the grounds were landscaped in 1895, Frederick Law Olmstead [sic], designer of Central Park, gave assistance to local planners. The plantings and design of 1895 still surround the house.
The building attracts attention because of its size, estate setting and unusual architecture. As headquarters for William Brocksbank's nursery, it was a part of the history of the City of Hudson for about forty years. As late as 1888, Brocksbank sold his business to his partner but retained rights to the house. The nursery business was apparently profitable and gives a unique association to the house. Its use as a funeral chapel and residence and office for a large cemetery for the past eighty-five years is also an unusual historical association which sets this building apart.
The store and the firehouse on Warren Street referenced in the inventory, with round-headed windows and circular window panes, may have been 441 Warren Street, now the location of TK Home & Garden, and C. H. Evans Hook & Ladder Co., now the home of Spotty Dog Books & Ale.

The "octagonal gate-house on Prospect Street" is a mystery. Where on the three blocks of Prospect Street was it located, what was it the gatehouse for, and what happened to it?    

1 comment:

  1. Almost all Hudson by Birth Seniors will recall the greatness of the Memorial Day Parades in Hudson. The parade marchers ended at Cedar Park Cemetery as shown n the above photo followed with grand speeches regarding the respect to those that gave their lives for America and are now buried in Cedar Park.
    Although I am glad to here that the hollowed grounds of Cedar Park may become a designated historical part of Hudson I must state that by doing same it will not set rules and regulations above and beyond what exists today as to what the Citizens of Hudson may do to honor their family plots.
    The first item to be restored in our Cedar Park is the Eastern border fence along Newman Road. I trust that the repair could happen based on respect to the many thousands buried in Cedar Park.
    I trust that a tabled item to our Common Council might set a motion to seek out funds for the restoration of the fence.
    All donations to same might just be welcomed with the first from GOR.