Staatsburg, (formerly known as Mills Mansion), is
an elegant example of the great estates built by America's
financial and industrial leaders during the Gilded Age.
This period, also known as the American Renaissance,
lasted approximately from 1876 to 1917, and was marked
by America's rapid economic growth and emergence as
a world power.
Ogden Mill's father, Darius Ogden
Mills, established the family fortune in California
in the decades following the Gold Rush, by investing
in the banks, railroads and other businesses associated
with the gold and silver mines of California and Nevada.
Ogden Mills, like his father, became a noted financier
and philanthropist, and a director of many charitable
Ruth Livingston Mills, his wife,
was a member of the Livingston family, prominent landowners
in the Hudson Valley since the seventeenth century.
The 1,600 acre estate at Staatsburg was purchased in
1792 by Mrs. Mills's great-grandfather, Morgan Lewis.
Lewis was married to Gertrude Livingston of Clermont.
Lewis was quartermaster general of the northern Continental
Army during the American Revolution. In 1804, he became
the third governor of New York. During the War of 1812,
he served as quartermaster general of the United States
In 1895, Mr. and Mrs. Mills commissioned
the prestigious New York City architectural firm of
McKim, Mead and White to remodel and enlarge their Staatsburg
home. At its completion in 1896, the house was transformed
into a Beaux Arts mansion of sixty-five rooms and fourteen
bathrooms. Its exterior was embellished with balustrades,
pilasters, floral swags and a massive portico. The rooms
were furnished with elaborately carved and gilded furniture,
fine oriental rugs, silk fabrics and a collection of
art objects from Europe, ancient Greece and the Far
East. The completed mansion retained many architectural
features of the earlier Livingston home, and so preserved
its memory. Pride in family heritage was also demonstrated
in the prominent display of portraits of Mrs. Mills's
ancestors. It is this combination of a taste for European
grandeur with a reverence for American heritage that
makes Staatsburg a quintessential American Renaissance
The Millses used their Staatsburg
residence primarily in the fall, as a setting for numerous
house parties, balls and dinners. On the estate grounds
and the Hudson River, the family and their guests enjoyed
golf, tennis, horseback riding, yachting, ice skating,
and ice boating. From midwinter through the summer, the
Millses resided and entertained at their other homes in
New York City, Paris, Newport, and Millbrae, California.
Ruth Livingston Mills died in 1920.
Upon Ogden Mills's death in 1929, the house passed to
the couple's son, Ogden Livingston Mills. Active in
Republican politics, Ogden L. Mills served as Secretary
of the Treasury during the Hoover administration. After
his death in 1937, the house reverted to his sister
Gladys Mills Phipps. The following year Mrs. Phipps
gave the mansion and 192 acres to the State of New York
as a memorial to her parents.
Staatsburg is a New York State Historic
Site located within the boundaries of Mills-Norris State
Park. In 1938, the house and 192 acres were given to
the State of New York by Gladys Mills Phipps, daughter
of Ruth and Ogden Mills. Tours of the mansion are offered
from mid April thru Labor Day on Wednesdays thru Saturdays
from 10 to 5, Labor Day thru October on Wednesdays thru
Sundays from 12 to 5, with special programs and hours
Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park
was donated to the state in 1934 by sister of Mrs. Norrie.
In 1933 a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was established
at the park. CCC projects in the park include construction
of the road system, parking lots, the railroad underpass
and the Norrie Inn (now the DCC Environmental Museum).
Staatsburg is open from the beginning
of April through Labor Day on Wednesdays to Saturdays
from 10am until 5pm, Sundays noon to 5pm. It is open
Labor Day until the last Sunday in October on Wednesdays
to Sundays noon until 5pm.
Hours and exact opening dates may
vary from season to season. Phone ahead for current
hours and information regarding fees.
The mansion is open by Guided Tours
only. Last tour starts at 4:30pm daily.
The park and grounds are open daily
Visitors to Staatsburg will notice
that the restoration of the mansion and its environs
to their turn-of-the-century appearance is underway.
Ongoing work on the estate wall is directed at restoring
the wall's structural integrity and original appearance.
A landscape report funded by the Friends of Mills Mansion
will provide guidance for future work on other areas
of the estate grounds.
Restoration of the exterior of the
mansion will require the removal of the gray gunite
finish and the replacement of the deteriorated cornice
and many precast decorative elements. When completed,
the mansion's exterior will be faced with white stucco,
as it was originally.
Ongoing interior restoration work
will include the repainting of walls, the cleaning of
marble and wooden surfaces, the conservation of the
mansion's collections, and the reproduction of the site's
extraordinary turn-of-the-century furnishing fabrics.
Recognizing the importance of these fabrics to the overall
interpretation of the site, the Friends have taken a
leadership role in identifying and securing the funds
necessary for the reproduction and have established
a special Textile Reproduction Fund.
Restoration efforts at Staatsburg
are expected to continue for many years. Site staff
is knowledgeable about ongoing work and will be happy
to answer visitor's questions. Financial support for
restoration work is provided by the Office of Parks,
Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Friends
of Mills Mansion. Donations to support restoration work
may be sent to the Friends of Mills Mansion.
The Friends of Mills Mansion was organized
in 1988 to support the educational and preservation
goals of Mills Mansion. Funds raised by the Friends
have been used to purchase reproduction fabrics and
trims, acquire objects for the Butler's Pantry, produce
school curriculum materials, purchase research materials
and support the work of landscape and curatorial consultants.
Membership in the Friends of Mills
Mansion is open to all interested in the preservation
of the site. Information regarding membership may be
obtained by writing:
Friends of Mills Mansion
PO Box 416
Staatsburg, NY 12580