The historic Chrystie House (“The House”) in Beacon, Dutchess County, New York, is a relocated eighteenth-century Georgian Colonial mansion on three lots, four acres of historical grounds. The exceedingly beautiful House and garden have strong ties with some of the country’s political/cultural developments. In some ways, the history of the House is a microcosm of the history of
Beacon, Dutchess County, New York City, and the United States.
beginning of the House had been mistakenly put in 1820, which was just a date taken from a deed. The histories of the House and its owners in the colonial era, Revolutionary War, and Jeffersonian period had become non-existent until a historic restorer in 2007 took over the properties and recovered those critical pieces of history.
Nevertheless, the House officially has been holding a historic house status architecturally, as NY State historic Preservation Department stated in 2009: “ a noteworthy example for Federal-style domestic architecture, eligible for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places’’. The 4-chimneys structure featured timber frames, brick infill, and wood sidings, it’s the main house of a country home complex. The original location was part of today’s Denning’s Point State Park parking lot; the ground was 60 feet higher and provided a more than 180 degrees river view of Newburgh Bay. That view has forever gone due to the excavations done by Denning’s Point Brick Work in the late 19th century and early 20th century. In 1820 The House was renovated with Federal Style features, such as leaded transom and sidelights, oval windows, 40”X70” six over six windows. In 1927 the House was relocated from the riverfront to, half a mile away, the current ground on the south-western slope of then 25 acres Wodenethe Estate, which was one of the birthplaces of American landscape architecture, established in 1841. The House reconnected to a new foundation of poured concrete and shaped bedrock. It was turned From facing Hudson River (northwest) to facing Mt. Beacon (southeast) to share the southern entrance and the driveway with the Wodenethe Mansion. To the back of the House, a sunroom with a copper roof and five sides of expensive windows were added to provide the 180-degree distant river views. A Greek Revival Style porch with an attached garage built under was added to the side to create a stunning view from the main road.
house and its 4 acres ground had gone into dilapidated conditions before a restoration plan being executed between 2007 and 2011. Besides the works on the House, the plan dealt with the complicated problems caused by the environmental changes. A French drain system with tiers of stone drywalls had been installed around the House to control the water coming down from the higher grounds, a large flagstone patio being added to the back of the House. The 1927 foundation walls of stone, brick, and poured concrete have been repaired, reinforced, and veneered with stone.
Between 2009 and 2021, the restoration project ran into unexpected land-use problems. The right of way/easement on the remaining Wodenethe driveway, which provided the ingress/egress for Chrystie House since 1927, was challenged physically, politically, and legally by the owner of Wodenethe Gatehouse property, which is a one-acre lot subdivided in 1970. Between 2009 and 2018, the city had monitored different resolutions, which include: 1, using the land of another empty lot to create a back entrance and build a 300 feet long alternative driveway to reach the parking lot, 2, to change the lot line, 3, to permanently eliminate the right of way/easement, 4, to build a new front entrance and create a three-hundred-feet long driveway along the border.
The construction for the new driveway started in early 2020; the contractor got the excavation and prep work for the retaining wall done and stopped due to the COVID-19. The work restarted in early 2021, a 250 feet long stone wall was built to align with the historic look. Even with all the efforts to preserve the history, the results took away the presentational and practical functions of the perfectly grated original driveway, altered how the House appeared to the visitors, and drastically changed the landscape.
This website is about the restoration works done for Chrystie House for both the history and the house/ground.