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?
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