front porch of Boscobel you find before you a sweeping
view of the majestic Hudson Valley stretching
away to the south. Boscobel stands high on a bluff above
the Hudson River in a commanding location drawing you
away from the house and its extraordinary interiors
out into the picturesque landscape. In the foreground
lies Constitution Marsh and in the near distance is
West Point. Beyond lies the southern portion of the
Hudson Highlands, marching off into the distance toward
New York City.
Boscobel was begun by States Morris
Dyckman in 1804 and has been acclaimed as one of the
most outstanding examples of New York Federal domestic
architecture remaining in the US. Graceful wooden swags
adorn the two story portico, classically proportioned
windows harmoniously balance the facades and the imprint
of Palladio informs its structure.
Born in New York City in 1755 and
a descendant of the early Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam,
States Morris Dyckman was a staunch Loyalist serving
as a clerk in the British Army's Quartermaster Corps
during the Revolutionary War. In 1779, he returned to
London to continue his work for Sir William Erskine,
the retiring Quartermaster General.
After the war Mr. Dyckman started
acquiring lands near Peeksklll and along the Hudson
River, until he ultimately held nearly one thousand
acres. In 1789, after amnesty had been declared, he
returned to New York and married Elizabeth Corné, granddaughter
of another prominent Hudson River Valley Tory. In 1800,
States Dyckman returned to London to improve his financial
situation, finally returning to New York in 1804.
Heavily Influenced by London society
and culture, States Dyckman planned an elegant country
home. While in London he bought china, crystal, silver
and other household pieces in the Georgian style so
popular at the time. Shortly after his return to New
York he began construction of his home, but the foundation
had barely been laid when States suddenly died in 1806.
His widow, Elizabeth, completed the construction of
Boscobel with the help of States' cousin and master
builder, William Vermilyea.
Boscobel was originally located in
Crugers, New York, on the site of what is now the FDR
Veterans' Hospital. Mrs. Dyckman and her son Peter occupied
the house starting in 1808, and the descendants of the
family lived in the house until 1888 when it passed
out of the hands of the family.
During the early part of the twentieth
century, Boscobel faced nearly continual threats to
its existence. Finally in 1941 the US Government auctioned
off the house as surplus property with a high bid of
$35 taking it! It was partly dismantled with pieces
of its exterior decorations finding their way into homes
on Long Island. A dramatic rescue operation ensued with
the generous support from Lila Acheson Wallace, co-founder
of The Reader's Digest. Further demolition was delayed
until the house could be purchased and it was then taken
apart in sections, numbered, and stored in barns and
garages in the area. Additional funds were raised and
reconstruction of the home was completed on a site,
similar to the original, in Garrison, New York.
Boscobel was fully restored and opened
to the public in 1961.
Originally saved because of its Federal
architecture, Boscobel has become one of the finest
museums in the world showing a collection of the decorative
arts of the Federal period. Both the architecture and
the furnishings reflect the neoclassical style, popular
in the early 1800s.
In 1975, detailed research revealed
that the interiors of Boscobel inaccurately reflected
the originals as planned by Elizabeth Dyckman. Mrs.
Wallace funded a study which led to the acquisition
of a collection of New York Federal furnishings. Much
of Dyckman's English china, silver and part of his library
have been returned. Outstanding examples of New York
Federal furniture have been collected to complete the
period room settings. Pieces by Duncan Phyfe and other
leading furniture makers of the day are on display,
making Boscobel one of the nation's leading museums
of the decorative arts of the Federal period.
At Boscobel, graceful wooden swags
on the facade of the building are repeated on chair
backs, a looking glass, and a wardrobe. Swags of laurel
are incorporated in the designs of china and the base
of a Sheffield candlestick. Graceful details of this
kind, illustrated by William Pain in England and Asher
Benjamin in America, decorate the mantels and the moldings
within and without the Mansion.
Boscobel's beautiful rooms contain
examples of the finest cabinet making of the nineteenth
century. Included are pieces attributed to Duncan Phyfe,
Michael Allison, and Charles Honore Lannuier. Paintings
by Benjamin West and John Watson, English prints, and
period silver, china, and crystal are also used in the
Unusual examples of lighting fixtures
are exhibited at Boscobel. Among them are a George III
silver lucerne lamp made in England about 1800, a gilded
wood and metal English chandelier attributed to William
Holland, and a pair of glass table candelabra purchased
by Dyckman from John Blades of London in 1803.
Boscobel Restoration provides an opportunity
for visitors to see and experience the furnishings and
decorative arts of the Federal period used properly
within the correct setting.
Visit Boscobel with HV/Net's 360° Panorama
Great Lawn - stand in the middle of the
Great Lawn between the house and the river
view and experience one of the most spectacular
vistas in the Hudson Valley
Rose Garden - gaze upon one of the most
special gardens in the Hudson Valley, you
can almost smell the roses.
Since 1961, Boscobel has been open
to the public. When you visit Boscobel you are invited
into the home, your tour, led by guides versed in the
history and furnishings, takes you through the entire
house, from basement kitchen to second floor bed chambers.
As you go through the home, your guide informs and enlightens
you with information on the furnishings and the society
that created them.
Outside of the home, Boscobel is surrounded
by both formal gardens and kitchen gardens, allowing
you to wander in the landscape enjoying the outdoor
setting. Boscobel is known for its Rose Garden as well
as its vast lawn stretching away from the home toward
the Hudson River.
Boscobel is open every day except
Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and is closed during
January and February. During March it is open weekends
only and by appointment for Groups of 12 or more.
From April through October Boscobel
is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m, with the last tour
at 4:15 p.m. During November & December, the hours are
from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m, with the last tour at 3:15
A small admission charge is collected.