updated March 1, 2012
Steel plate engraving and
from The Documentary History of the State of
New-York; Arranged under Direction of the Hon.
Christopher Morgan, Secretary of State. By E. B.
O'Callaghan, M.D., Vol. III, Weed, Parsons & Co.,
Public Printers, 1850.
Reported in the
Wallkill Valley Times,
Vol. 18, No. 2, January 12, 2000
Town action first
step towards preservation
by Christian Remsen
"The Colden Mansion is
now an official landmark.
"On Thursday, the
Montgomery Town Board Unanimously granted status to the
eight-acre property under provisions of Local Law 1 of
"In essence, the
board's decision enables the town's historic preservation
commission to review any action which would alter the
Route 17K/Stone Castle Road site.
"In other parts of
[the] world, people wouldn't even hesitate if
given a chance to preserve such a site," said Richard
Phelps during the public hearing. The stonework to this
day, is of remarkable quality.
"The local designation
was significant in that it was the first site to receive
it without achieving prior placement on the state and/or
"Although the public
hearing was on the issue of designation, some residents
used the forum to express fears or support of the towns
possible acquisition of the site.
"With very minimal
effort, I have seen other similar projects become
significant tourist draws," said Mike Clark. ""Given the
historic identity of the Colden family, I believe this
will be the case here."
""I can't understand
why anybody would want to put so much money into that
site?," said Fred Freer. We could spend our money on a
lot more sensible things.
"Currently, there are
about a dozen town designated sites. Indian Hill, which
is located off River Road, was added to [the]
list along with the Colden Mansion.
"With the designation decision, town
board discussions regarding the mansion site are expected
to subside. The following is a summary of events which
may lead to the town's acquisition of the site later this
- "1767-- The mansion is constructed
for Cadwallader Colden Jr. and his wife, Elizabeth
Ellison. Considered one of the area's finest Georgian
homes, the two story stone structure rests upon the
family's approximately 3,000-acre holding. It features
two bedrooms, two parlors, a large central hall, and a
- "Mid to late 1800s--The Colden
family no longer owns the site. However, the structure
- 1965 Walden
Citizen Herald News
Letter posted with permission of the American
Historical Association: "Letter of David Colden,
Loyalist, 1783," American Historical Review, 1919; xxv
Cadwallader Colden and His
and article from
ORANGE COUNTY POST
"1930's--Estate litigation results
in the mansion's abandonment. Soon thereafter, the
Metropolitan Museum of Art acquires and removes the
paneling of the west parlor to create a furnished 18th
century room setting in its American Wing. Other
various components, meanwhile, are either secured by
local agencies or plundered by private
Antiquity, Stone Disks as Treaty "Suns,"
Vol 12, No 1 (Jul 1946), pp 1-9
Before falling to ruin as pictured on page 51 of the
book, Concise History of Orange County, by
Reverend A. E. Corning, 1946. The date of the picture
isn't listed. The area known today as Coldenham, New
York. A portion of the stone walls still stand near the
intersection of 17K and Stone Castle Road.
Cadwallader Colden's stone
"The Verplanck Room comprises
elements from two sources: a collection of furniture
and other objects that belonged to Samuel Verplanck
(1739-1820) and a room from the house of Cadwallader
Colden Jr. (1721-1797) in Orange County, New York.
Both the Verplancks and the Coldens were prominent
families in eighteenth-century New York, though the
Verplanck residence was more ornate than that of the
Coldens. The marriage of elements from the two homes
has allowed the Museum to represent the Verplanck
furniture in a context generally fitting its date and
"The Colden house was built in 1767
on a three-thousand-acre family farm in Coldenham, New
York. Cadwallader Colden Sr., a noted scientist and
the lieutenant governor of New York State from 1761
until his death in 1776, gave his son the title to
five hundred acres of the family farm in 1744. In 1767
the young Cadwallader built two houses on the land.
The Museum acquired woodwork from one of these homes
in 1940. The earliest surviving image of the house is
an engraving of 1859 (shown above [at the
Metropolitan link above]). The image reveals that
the original stone house was two and one half stories
high and five bays wide. The first floor consisted of
two parlors, one on each side of the central hall.
There were two chambers above the parlors and a
basement kitchen below the east parlor. The paneling
installed in the Museum's Verplanck Room came from the
west parlor." (Source: website from the Metropolitan
Museum in New York City).
Some items about Colden and his family
(Page 51 referred to at right) PDF
Some books about
or by Cadwallader Colden:
Philosophical Writings of Cadwallader
Colden: A Figure of the American Enlightenment
(Contributions in American
Colden: A representative Eighteenth Century
of the Five Indian Nations
Colden of Coldenham, Royal Lieutenant Governor:
1999--Local officials announce the state's intent to
acquire the site, which is draped in dense vegetation
and household trash, and transfer it to the town. The
move is prompted by the state's proposed construction
of an I-84 interchange. State officials worry that
development triggered by a new interchange, would
1999-High-level representatives of the state Office of
Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation publicly
detail plans for the proposed acquisition. They say
the total cost for acquiring the site would be
incurred by the state Department of Transportation.
However, once conveyed, OPRHP officials noted that the
town would have to preserve the site as a "scenic and
historic resource" via a stabilization effort. Such an
undertaking would be eligible for grant opportunities,
they stressed, with the DOT's expenses used as the
town's matching funds.
In a somewhat
unrelated move, the town board votes to hold a Jan 6
public hearing in regards to the designation of the
site as a town landmark.
30, 1999--The town board unanimously adopts a
resolution supporting the state's proposed
acquisition. However the town clearly states its
oppositions to any expenses for items outside of
future routine maintenance or grant-related
"January 6--The town
board unanimously adopts a resolution granting the
Colden site Town of Montgomery Historic Designation.
In essence, the board's move means the site cannot be
tampered with unless reviewed and approved by the
town's historic preservation
Colden Home--photo: Historic
Houses of The Hudson Valley, Eberlein and Hubbard,
Bonanza Books, NY; 1942
Colden Home Ruin, photographed in
The ruins of Cad Colden's home,
would like to add information