Staatsburgh State Historic Site

Staatsburgh State Historic Site Staatsburgh State Historic Site was the elegant country home of Ogden Mills and his wife Ruth Livingston Mills. The historic site is an example of a Gilded Age (1876 - 1917) estate. The elegant mansion is open for tours.
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From April 18, 2019 - October 27, 2019, Staatsburgh will be open for tours Thursday - Sunday from 11am - 5pm (Last Tour at 4pm). Click on the events tab to find the dates of special theme tours and programs. Admission: $8 Adults, $6 Students/Seniors, Children 12 and under are free Special Theme Tours: $10 Adults, $8 Students/Seniors Gilded Age Tea & Talk Series: $35/person View our Blog!! www.staatsburghstatehistoricsite.blogspot.com Join our mailing list! http://eepurl.com/bbDoB1

Social Etiquette Sunday!Visitors to Staatsburgh will learn it was the site of elaborate house parties thrown by society ...
05/03/2020

Social Etiquette Sunday!

Visitors to Staatsburgh will learn it was the site of elaborate house parties thrown by society hostess Ruth Mills. Such events were important affairs for the high-society of the Gilded Age. House parties, often held at the country homes of elites (such as Staatsburgh), could last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The duration and entertainment determined the wardrobe for guests; however an outfit for mornings, afternoon activities, and formal evening dinners was a basic starting point. In terms of activities, it was best for hostesses not to ‘over-entertain’ – allowing free time in the day to guests for their own amusement.

Attendees would typically arrive by train from the city. A good hostess paid for transportation of guests and baggage from the station to the estate. Servants were sent to greet couples and bachelors, while the host and hostess would escort any unmarried women to the estate. As with parties today, congeniality among guests was expected (as well as kindness towards servants). Transportation back to the station was again arranged by the hostess. For visits longer than a weekend, guests should write the hostess a short letter –in fact, a gift was not unheard of either. #SocialEtiquetteSunday

Sociable Saturday!One of Ruth & Ogden’s neighbors who visited and also signed the guestbook twice was Ava Willing Astor....
05/02/2020

Sociable Saturday!

One of Ruth & Ogden’s neighbors who visited and also signed the guestbook twice was Ava Willing Astor. In 1891 she married John Jacob Astor IV who was the son of Caroline Astor, THE Mrs. Astor. Their Rhinebeck estate, Ferncliff, was very close to Staatsburgh and in 1904 Stanford White designed the casino building on the property. They had 2 children, Vincent and Alice, but the marriage was unhappy, and she filed for divorce in 1909 just three years before he died on the Titanic. They reportedly had nothing in common, but could not officially separate until his mother died (which she did in 1908). It may be telling that Ava visited Staatsburgh without her husband.

After the divorce, Ava moved to Europe and married John Lister, 4th Baron Ribblesdale in 1919. He died six years later and she returned to the United States as a war refugee in 1940. #SociableSaturday

We know that many people have had all the pandemic information they can stand at this point.  But if you fall into the c...
05/01/2020
When A Flu Reined In New York

We know that many people have had all the pandemic information they can stand at this point. But if you fall into the category of finding historical context for current events helpful, we recommend this interesting article by one of our colleagues. Historic Preservation Specialist, Travis Bowman, explores a pandemic in 1872 that affected not people, but horses.
https://nystateparks.blog/2020/04/28/when-a-flu-reined-in-new-york/

As we New Yorkers endure the COVID-19 pandemic, the natural question for historians is: how did people react to epidemics in the past? By now you may be aware of the 1918 influenza pandemic, which …

Fashion Friday!What was the most essential accessory for a wealthy lady of the Gilded Age to have? Was it a statement pi...
05/01/2020

Fashion Friday!

What was the most essential accessory for a wealthy lady of the Gilded Age to have? Was it a statement piece of jewelry full of diamonds and other gemstones? Was it a parasol? Was it a shawl? Most would argue it was a hat. A hat was crucial to complete an outfit. In the spring, many ladies donned straw hats with floral and feather accents. The floral accents ranged from subtle to quite ostentatious. The colors would match those of actual colors of the season.

Hat shops, or hatatoriums were often owned by women. For example, in Boston, there was quite a popular shop owned by Miss Clifford on Boylston Street. Another popular hatatorium was in New York City. That shop was owned by Anna Dicks, named Anna Dicks & Co. The shop was located on Madison Avenue. One wonders how many hats a lady owned, as one can never have too many hats! #FashionFriday

Photos: Metropolitan Museum of Art

While the digital influence in our lives has grown during this time, there has also been a resurgence in 19th century cr...
05/01/2020
People Have Gone Full 1800s

While the digital influence in our lives has grown during this time, there has also been a resurgence in 19th century crafts. Have you started any new craft projects?

"In the midst of quarantine, flower pressing, natural dyeing and other activities from Victorian times have made a comeback."

In the midst of quarantine, flower pressing, natural dyeing and other activities from Victorian times have made a comeback.

In today's #TheaterThursday we get to know the "First Lady of American Theatre".Ethel Barrymore was born in Philadelphia...
04/30/2020

In today's #TheaterThursday we get to know the "First Lady of American Theatre".

Ethel Barrymore was born in Philadelphia in 1879 to actor parents. Ethel made her Broadway debut in 1895 in The Imprudent Young Couple, a play which also starred her uncle, John Drew, Jr. The young actress would go on to appear in many plays including some little known titles such as A Doll's House, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet. While her brothers, John and Lionel took to the increasingly popular medium of film, Ethel would always prefer the stage, no matter how many movies she took part in.

In addition to her prolific stage career, Ethel Barrymore also found her name linked with several influential (read: rich) men of the Gilded Age. She was rumored to have been engaged to William Montagu, the 9th Duke of Manchester, actor Gerald du Maurier (father of the author of Rebecca and uncle to the Llewelyn boys who inspired Peter Pan), author Richard Harding Davis (a good friend of Theodore Roosevelt's), and even Winston Churchill (the...Prime Minister of England, famously). Eventually she went on to marry none of them and instead ended up with Russell Griswold Colt, who she would go on to divorce.

Ethel made a name for herself onstage and off. Her talent and range made her a well suited member of one of the most enduring acting dynasties of the 19th and 20th Centuries. One that continues today...her great niece is none other than Drew Barrymore.

Woman Wednesday!Elizabeth Wharton Drexel Lehr Beresford (1868-1944)The middle woman of the three in this famous 1943 pho...
04/29/2020

Woman Wednesday!

Elizabeth Wharton Drexel Lehr Beresford (1868-1944)

The middle woman of the three in this famous 1943 photograph “The Critic” by celebrated photographer Weegee (Arthur Fellig) is Elizabeth Beresford, Lady Decies (Mrs. George Washington Kavanaugh is on the left). At the turn of the century, she was Mrs. Elizabeth Wharton Drexel Lehr, a prominent member of Ruth Mills’ social circle. No love was lost between Ruth and Elizabeth. Elizabeth spitefully described Ruth as “cold, sarcastic and aristocratic.” As far as we know, Ruth, ever the lady, never shared her opinion of Elizabeth.

Today you can still see this 1905 Giovanni Boldini portrait of Elizabeth in the ballroom of The Elms in Newport, RI. For a great read, pick up the two books Elizabeth authored about Gilded Age society, ‘”King Lehr” and the Gilded Age’ and ‘Turn of the World’. #WomanWednesday

04/28/2020
Staatsburgh SHS: A Look Into Titanic History

During April we continue to commemorate the 108th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy. In this video, join Staatsburgh historic interpreter Frank Pidala to learn more about the connections between the Titanic and the Mills family. Also showcased in the video are several of the Titanic reproductions we have at the site including a life vest and an officer's jacket.

An exploration of the Staatsburgh State Historic Site and its connection to the sinking of the Titanic.

Tea on Tuesday!What is “high tea?”  To the American ear, “high” may make it sound more fancy, as in “highfalutin.”  But ...
04/28/2020

Tea on Tuesday!

What is “high tea?” To the American ear, “high” may make it sound more fancy, as in “highfalutin.” But what Americans may picture as a fancy tea with scones and tea sandwiches is what the British call “low tea” or “afternoon tea.” High tea is a more substantial evening meal, more likely to feature meat and potatoes than scones. So what’s so high about high tea? Some think that the terms high and low tea refer to seating elevation! Tradition holds that low tea is served from a coffee table with diners sitting on low easy chairs and sofas, while high tea is enjoyed sitting at a table. #TeaonTuesday

Manly Monday!Meet Winfield Scott Hoyt (1854-1930) The grandson of the famous U.S. Army general Winfield Scott, Winfield ...
04/27/2020

Manly Monday!

Meet Winfield Scott Hoyt (1854-1930)

The grandson of the famous U.S. Army general Winfield Scott, Winfield Scott Hoyt (“Winnie”) was a lifelong bachelor, gambler and world traveler. As a young man, there was some expectation Winfield would follow in his grandfather’s footsteps with a career in the military, but at age 21, he left the West Point Military Academy to pursue the life of a bachelor.

Hoyt made lifelong friends with notable society figure William K. Vanderbilt, who regarded Hoyt as his secretary, personal representative and the finest yachtsmen he knew, often leaving him in charge of his personal crew. Society newspapers reported the two traveling the world to resorts in Marseilles France, Paris, Florida, Spain and on excursions as far as the Nile in Egypt and India. Both were often seen gambling together at the casinos. One newspaper reported Hoyt once called an “open bank” at a Paris resort with a loss of over $36,000 at a single game of baccarat. Back home, he boasted membership to organizations like New York’s Union Club, Metropolitan, South Side, Turf and Field and Manhattan Clubs as well as the Long Island Meadow Brooks Hunt Club.

Hoyt’s life as a bachelor would come to a close when at age 66 he married Isabelle E. Rutty, a department director at Vogue magazine. At age 76, he returned to his home in Connecticut where he passed away taking care of his family’s estate. In his will, Winfield would bequest his grandfather’s sword to the West Point Military Academy, which the general wore all throughout his campaign in Mexico. Ruth Livingston Mills, a cousin of W.S. Hoyt, must have held high regards for the man, as he had his very own room at Staatsburgh, acting as a secretary for the Mills family. #ManlyMonday

Social Etiquette Sunday!Snacking is inevitable under quarantine, so why not instead dine like an Edwardian? Below we hav...
04/26/2020

Social Etiquette Sunday!

Snacking is inevitable under quarantine, so why not instead dine like an Edwardian? Below we have outlined the proper etiquette for some food and drink, as well as correct silverware use from the turn of the century:

Foods:
• Soup is taken from the side of the spoon, without noise and without the plate being tipped! Special exceptions for men with mustaches (who can take the soup from the end of the spoon)
• Corn is best taken off the cob and eaten with a fork
• Bread should be served on the appropriate plate only
• Banana peels are cut off, and the fruit is sliced into bite size pieces to be eaten with fingers or fork
• Seeds accidentally eaten should be removed from your mouth with a fork, or dropped into your hand
• Fruits such as apples or oranges are to be cut into sections and eaten with a fork

Drinks:
• The proper pairing for wine service is - sherry with soup, champagne with first entrée, whites with fish, liqueurs with dessert
• Coffee is served following dinner for the ladies in the drawing room and men in the dining room

Silverware:
• Your knife is always in the right hand, and is only used for cutting
• Your spoon should be left on the saucer while drinking
#SocialEtiquetteSunday

Sociable Saturday (4/25/2020)The son of a Cuban businessman, Fernando Yznaga (1850-1901), is most frequently remembered ...
04/25/2020

Sociable Saturday (4/25/2020)

The son of a Cuban businessman, Fernando Yznaga (1850-1901), is most frequently remembered as the brother of Consuelo, Duchess of Manchester. Consuelo was very close friends with Alva (Mrs. William K.) Vanderbilt and through that connection Fernando married Alva’s sister, Jennie Smith. Though the marriage (or a second marriage) did not last, Fernando became close friends with his one time brother in law William K. Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt had helped him get a seat on the NY Stock Exchange, a lucrative job in a Vanderbilt supported brokerage firm, and Yznaga was a frequent guest on Vanderbilt’s yacht. Yznaga signed the guestbook 5 different times though he did not visit the same time as Vanderbilt. He died of diphtheria less than five months after his last signature in the guestbook.

His obituary in the NY Times described him: “[He was] one of the most entertaining of men, very clever at epigram and repartee, and famous for quaint sayings. His life had been adventurous and, from a domestic point of view, somewhat of a stormy nature.” #SociableSaturday

Fashion Friday!As upper class girls of the Gilded Age grew out of toddler outfits, they graduated to clothes that shared...
04/24/2020

Fashion Friday!

As upper class girls of the Gilded Age grew out of toddler outfits, they graduated to clothes that shared characteristics of adult ladies’ dresses. Girls’ fine-quality day dresses were made of silk, and had patterns that were intricately woven into the fabric. The patterns appeared throughout the entirety of the dress, complementing the colors and pattern of the fabric itself. Such dresses also had many buttons just like dresses that ladies wore. Don’t forget to put a big bow on top of the Banana Curls!

With fine silk day dresses to wear during lessons with their tutors, would girls then change into something less refined for playtime? Perhaps the girl who wore this dress was old enough to have grown out of the phase of playing with dolls and other Gilded Age toys. And she would not dare play outside in the mud! #FashionFriday

Photo: FIDM Museum & Galleries

Last week marked 108 years since the tragedy of the Titanic disaster. We posted a new essay on our blog, by Site Educato...
04/23/2020
Dining on the Titanic - Part II

Last week marked 108 years since the tragedy of the Titanic disaster. We posted a new essay on our blog, by Site Educator, Don Fraser, discussing dining and cuisine on the ship. Today we are sharing Part II, which focuses on the 1st class dining experience!

Dining on the Titanic Part I began by saying that we talk a lot about the Titanic at Staatsburgh. Staatsburgh’s owners, Ruth and Ogden Mil...

Theater Thursday!For today's Theater Thursday we will focus on a Gilded Age operatic tenor. Enrico Caruso was born in Na...
04/23/2020

Theater Thursday!

For today's Theater Thursday we will focus on a Gilded Age operatic tenor. Enrico Caruso was born in Naples, Italy in 1873. He grew up singing at church before receiving formal training at the age of 18. By the time he was 21, he was performing professionally. Caruso was seen at many famed opera houses. In 1900 he appeared in La Boheme at La Scala (that particular opera was the inspiration for Jonathan Larson's hit 1994 musical Rent #themoreyouknow).

A poor review of Caruso's singing in Naples made the singer decide to never perform in his hometown again. Naples' loss proved to be New York's gain: in 1903, Enrico Caruso made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in Rigoletto which opened the theater's season. Caruso would go on to perform for 17 seasons at the Metropolitan Opera, playing 36 roles in total. In fact, his last public performance would be at the Met on Christmas Eve in 1920. Since Caruso performed 607 times in New York, and Ruth & Ogden Mills had box seats at the Metropolitan Opera, they certainly witnessed more than one of his iconic performances. #TheaterThursday

Woman Wednesday!Meet Jane Addams (1860 – 1935)College educated and from a prominent Chicago family, Addams embodied the ...
04/22/2020

Woman Wednesday!

Meet Jane Addams (1860 – 1935)

College educated and from a prominent Chicago family, Addams embodied the emerging ‘new woman’ in late 19th century American society. She spent her life as an activist for the poor, women’s suffrage, and global peace, becoming a pioneer in the field of social work. During WWI she was invited to preside over the International Congress of Women in The Hague to find an end to the war. Her efforts for peace earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, the first for an American woman.

Addams co-founded Hull House in 1889, the first settlement house in the nation. Located in a run-down mansion on the Near West Side of Chicago, it aimed to bring privileged, educated women (like Addams) together with the poorer classes of urban society. Volunteers provided education, job placement and child care for working poor families, as well as language classes and acculturation lessons to newly arrived immigrants. In return, Addams hoped to foster a sense of compassion in the well-to-do women for the less fortunate and build meaningful relationships to improve both groups. At its height, Hull House saw over 2,000 people a week! This experience contributed to Addams co-founding the ACLU in 1920.

In addition to her ground breaking work with Hull House and peace efforts, Addams is remembered today as an LGBTQ icon. Her same-sex relationships throughout her life were overlooked by contemporaries and ignored by scholars for decades, yet are memorialized as part of Addams’ story today by many in the LGBTQ community. #WomanWednesday

Staatsburgh Grounds Scavenger HuntWe know many folks and families are enjoying the grounds outside of the mansion.  Park...
04/21/2020

Staatsburgh Grounds Scavenger Hunt

We know many folks and families are enjoying the grounds outside of the mansion. Parks provide a wonderful space to appreciate the outdoors while still abiding by social distancing guidelines. For folks who are visiting our grounds, we have created this scavenger hunt as a fun activity to do with your family!

Tea on Tuesday!Today, most tea drinkers infuse their tea in bags. But it wasn’t always that way. Most relied on metal in...
04/21/2020

Tea on Tuesday!

Today, most tea drinkers infuse their tea in bags. But it wasn’t always that way. Most relied on metal infusers to brew their tea.

Enter New York merchant Thomas Sullivan, who in 1908, thought a good way to promote his product was to ship samples of his tea in silk bags. Little did he know, instead of recipients emptying the bags into infusers, they simply put the bags of tea leaves into their tea cups! Thomas eventually improved the process of infusion by changing the material of the bags from silk to gauze. The rest is tea history. #TeaonTuesday

Address

75 Mills Mansion Drive Rd 1
Staatsburg, NY
12580

Metro North to the Poughkeepsie Station, taxi to Staatsburgh State Historic Site Amtrak to Rhinecliff station, taxi to Staatsburgh

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From January through late April, Staatsburgh is open for special tours and programs only, but due to COVID-19 all programs have been suspended indefinitely. Special Theme Tours: $10 Adults, $8 Students/Seniors Gilded Age Tea & Talk Series: $35/person

Beginning TBD through Saturday, October 31, 2020, Staatsburgh will be open for tours from Thursday - Sunday, 11am-5pm (Last tour at 4pm). View our Blog!! www.staatsburghstatehistoricsite.blogspot.com Join our mailing list! http://eepurl.com/bbDoB1

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Comments

I was at the car show today and saw this picture of an unidentified car. I have it narrowed down to a 1905-1910 Renault. I hope this helps you. I had a wonderful time there
Thank you so much for the wonderful afternoon and presentation on Art Collecting in The Gilded age. Well planned and presented.
Mansion in the Mist...
When the Victorian Chrismas arrived in the Hudson Valley, New Yorkers were still in the grips of the "little ice age." The Hudson River froze solid every winter and in the earlier part of the century you could skate across to New Jersey. A warm Christmas room in the Victorian style was only for the rich, the rest of the poor New Yorkers shivered!
I just bought this photo this past weekend. This is the dealers poor quality scan. I should have a sharp hi-rez scan by next week.
Oh my goodness, this place looks amazing!
Recently I had a renewed interest in the social history of the Old Post road in Staatsburgh, including Hoyt, Mills, Dinsmore and Huntington. I did a deep search and found so much new material I had to start a website for it and lo and behold staatsburgh.com was available. All my discoveries are from period sources. Anyways, some of the things I found were really great, like an 8 page in depth article on Inderkill Farm., the possible murder of a Dinsmore maid by the Dinsmore butler. Yes, I know it sounds like the game of CLUE. The entire story is on my website staatsburgh.com, you will love it BUT the most incredible find was a picture of Gladys and Beatrice taken when they were children. Here it is for the first time. I know this picture was unknown when I worked at Staatsburgh 20 years ago but don't know if anyone there found it since then.
Why wasn't Staatsburg named Staatsburgh?
I recently took this picture of the mansion and wanted to share.