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Boscobel

From the 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.

A House in Peril

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.

A Museum of Federal Style

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 rooms.

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.

Living Valley Panoramas
Visit Boscobel with HV/Net's 360° Panorama Images
The 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
The Rose Garden - gaze upon one of the most special gardens in the Hudson Valley, you can almost smell the roses.

Visiting Boscobel

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 p.m.

A small admission charge is collected.

Specifics on visiting Boscobel were correct at time of publication. We would suggest that you confirm dates and times prior to your visit.
 
 
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