Saturday, February 2, 2019

A Building with a Past

I thought I knew almost everything there was to know about this building located at 216-220 Warren Street, part of which is now undergoing renovation to become a boutique hotel.

I knew that the building was originally constructed in the late 18th century as the residence of Thomas Jenkins, said to be the richest of the Proprietors, the founders of Hudson. I knew that when Thomas Jenkins died in 1808, at the age of 67, his brother Elisha, who inherited the house, divided it into two houses, and Thomas's widow lived in the east half.

I knew that in 1848 Elizabeth and Sophia Peake established the Hudson Seminary for Young Ladies in the west half of the building. I knew that in 1881 George Power, the richest man in Hudson in his time, moved into the east half of the house. I knew that in 1894 the west half of the building became a hotel called Graceland, and I knew that sometime in the 20th century the name was changed to Howard Hotel and remained so until 1944.

But it wasn't until I discovered this little item in the Columbia Republican for January 28, 1919, that I knew when the building transitioned from being Graceland to being the Howard Hotel or that it was ever claimed the eighth president of the United States had lived in the house.



  1. Before this 18th c mansion was split in half it must have been like the governors mansion in williamsburg va.

    All that grandure, with Nantucket severity must have been most impressive.

  2. This is a great find, Carole. I've always found it odd that the Van Buren folks wouldn't have uncovered a residence and/or office in Hudson that they could attach a plaque to. Looks like you've found one. Congratulations!

  3. As a history nerd, I've been trying to find the addresses of MVB's house and office. He looks ved in Hudson fro 1807 to 1815, so unless he rented from Jenkins I don't think he lived there. Biographer John Nivens states that he bought a house on Warren St, but gives no number. Byrne Fone puts his office on Columbia. I seem to recall that in his autobiography, MVB claims to have had an office on Warren and a home on Union. I'd love to know where he actually lived and worked, just in case any of the buildings remain

    1. i believe his office was on the block that is now the parking lot where the farmers market is held. the whole block of historic buildings was torn down.

  4. It would be marvelous to see the facade unmuddled and given a cohesive look. Interesting tidbit, Carole.

  5. Wasn't the early house that the hospital tore down a few years ago also a MVB property?