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Hillsdale Tour of 19th-Century Rural Houses

Rural Intelligence StyleThis Saturday, the Hillsdale Preservation Committee will sponsor a pedestrian-friendly tour of historic houses.

Some of the houses on the tour originally had been home to farmers, others to farmworkers.  But, though all have grown and changed over the years, their 19th-century character has been retained and all, miraculously, still overlook broad green fields. 

The largest house on the tour, from the early 19th-century Federal period, was built by the Van Deusen family and remained in Van Deusen hands for several generations.  The building, which started as just a kitchen was added to gracefully over the centuries.

The next house up the road is a colonial style farmhouse that was, in the Van Deusens day, their “tenant house” for a hired hand on their farm. Although it has been expanded, it retains the characteristic steep staircase and it oldest rooms still have their original floors. 

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This elegant Italianate Victorian with floor-to-ceiling windows and a graceful center stairway probably started out as a one-room house.  Expanded at least three times, it now has an inviting porch with a balustrade above, added in about 1860.

Two of the properties also have small barns, both of which were restored by Michael Carr, a local timber-frame carpenter who will be on hand to answer questions

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Greek columns frame the front door of a country federal with small rooms, original floor and interesting woodwork and architectural detailing throughout.  Modern improvements include a big screened porch off a large country kitchen.

The tour culminates with the 1860 eyebrow colonial, once home to a wagon maker.  Several additions have masked some of the original architecture on the outside, but the upside is a sunny interior that still reveals its old bones. Speaking of which, visitors may also explore an historic cemetery, where some of the original owners of these houses are buried.

On Sunday evening, the owners of the houses on tour will be honored guests at a patron’s cocktail party to be held at a house that is among both the oldest and the newest in Hillsdale. Its core, a Dutch timber frame built in 1780, was extended in 1801, then again just recently. Now the broken-back saltbox has an open plan, original wainscoting that has been re-purposed, and old posts and beams, well marked by the original builder with how-to diagrams, that have been left exposed.. 

The Hillsdale Historic House Tour
Saturday, August 13, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Tickets/$35, includes box lunch.
For advance tickets visit Tour website; day of tour, at Passiflora and B&G Wine, both in Hilllsdale on Route 23 just west of Route 22.
Patron’s Party
Sunday, August 14; 5 - 7 p.m.

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 08/06/11 at 06:29 AM • Permalink