Historic Cherry Hill Mansion
Touring Historic Cherry Hill
is an exploration of the story of Catherine Bogart Putman
Rankin (1857-1948), the
great-granddaughter of Philip and Maria Van Rensselaer,
and fourth-generation owner of Cherry Hill.She was the
most responsible for the preservation of this Albany landmark
and its contents through her deep and abiding love for
her 200 year old ancestral home, an affection that she
passed on to her children.
will be swept up in Catherine's absorbing chronicle:
Her arrival at Cherry Hill as a three-year-old after
her mother's death; a young adulthood ending in the
threat of losing Cherry Hill because of financial troubles;
her loving and serendipitous marriage to Edward W. Rankin;
her loneliness as a young bride awaiting her husband's
return from distant trips. Through her words, and those
of family and friends, you will learn of her joys in
raising three children, and her grieving heart for the
promising son buried at sea during World War I.
Each room, each object, evokes a poignant
story as you tour the Rankin home. You will view the
formal parlor where Catherine entertained Albany groups--many
of her most treasured family pieces were displayed here.
Family personalities will emerge as a family relative
recalls her early childhood visits to the Rankin home--
Edward's wry sense of humor; Catherine's colorful commentary
as she supervised from the head of the table the meal
prepared by household servant Lottie; Emily's gentle
nature, and Edward Elmendorf's dapper way in dress and
demeanor. Scratch marks just outside the dining room
entrance are evidence of the frustration that "Sandy,"
the family's Airedale, must have felt in not being allowed
into the dining room to beg for scraps.
While it is true that many of the
styles of furnishings and decorations at Cherry Hill
can be found in other historic house museums, it is
the intact nature of the site's collections that make
them unique, and the family stories of everyday life
that are so special. The family kept detailed records
-- today their 30,000 manuscripts include personal and
business correspondence, bills and receipts, legal documents,
inventories, maps, school records, diaries, recipes,
and a good deal more.
Because these records and the rest
of the collections were kept in the family through the
generations, Cherry Hill is one of the few house museums
that has survived to the present with so much -- the
manuscripts and 20,000 objects including 7,500 textiles,
1,500 pieces of ceramics, 750 pieces of furniture, 3,000
examples of silver and decorative arts, 600 paintings
and other fine art, 2,500 household implements, 5,000
books, and 3,000 photographs -- all associated with
April-June and October-December: Tuesday-Friday, tours
at 12, 1, 2 & 3; Saturday at 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, &
3; Sunday at 1, 2, & 3.
July-September: Tuesday-Saturday, tours at 10, 11, 12,
1, 2 & 3; Sunday at 1, 2, & 3.
Closed January through March, Mondays and major holidays
$4 for adults, $3 for senior citizens, $2 for college
students, and $1 for children 6-17.