Near Hudson in Columbia County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Conceived as the dramatic main entrance to Olana, the North Road was laid out by Frederic Church in 1869. Just before he built the main house, he purchased a narrow, wooded corridor that extended from this point north to the public road. Today, Route 23 crosses through the original splayed North Entrance. The uphill section (on your left) climbed to the hilltop over a moderate grade achieved by incorporating a series of switchback curves that wound through an old, dark, hemlock forest described by Church as a "splendid woods.” Storms in the 1970s and 1980s took down these ancient trees, and now a disease that attacks hemlocks delays the replanting of the grove.
Nineteenth-century visitors' comments testify to the success of Church's carefully planned approach. Caroline Atkinson wrote of "...the wonder and beauty of the mile-long avenue where we wound up around hairpin turns, and the breathtaking sight when we reached the house and looked off and away at the Catskill Mountains in the distance and the Hudson River winding its way at their feet." Visitors today have the same amazed reaction as they approach the house and
The Church family used the carriage roads for drives and walking. The donkey cart seen in this ca. 1880 photograph of Emma Carnes and her granddaughter Downie (Isabel) Church, was pulled by one of the white donkeys imported by the Churches from Syria.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Roads & Vehicles. A significant historical year for this entry is 1869.
Location. 42° 13.036′ N, 73° 49.557′ W. Marker is near Hudson, New York, in Columbia County. Marker can be reached from Olaa State Heritage Site. Marker is in Olana State Historic Site. Marker can only be reached on foot. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hudson NY 12534, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Studio and Viewshed (approx. 0.2 miles away); Frederick Church and Olana (approx. 0.2 miles away); Ridge Road (approx. ¼ mile away); Cosy Cottage (approx. ¼ mile away); Brezie Farm (approx. 0.3 miles away); Barnyard (approx. 0.3 miles away); Kitchen Garden (approx. 0.3 miles away); Columbia County (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hudson.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 26, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 20, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 86 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 20, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.