Walking Horace Greeley s Farm A New Castle Historical Society Project

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1 Walking Horace Greeley s Farm A New Castle Historical Society Project

2 A Brief History of Horace Greeley s Farm Horace Greeley, publisher of the New York Tribune, and later a candidate for President of the United States, came to Chappaqua in 1852 to establish a summer home and farm for his family. He and Mary, his wife, had lost five children in infancy, at least two to childhood diseases, and they wanted a place away from the diseases of the city for their two remaining children, Ida and Raphael, to spend summers. A third child, Gabrielle, was born in Mary Greeley insisted on three requisites for the land they were to buy: a fine forest of evergreens; a peerless spring of pure water; and a cascade or brawling brook. Greeley wanted land to cultivate, and the farm to be within commuting distance of New York City. Chappaqua was to suit them both. Greeley bought 25 acres to start and later expanded his holdings to some 75 acres, including most of what is now downtown Chappaqua. His first house was the House in the Woods, always his favorite. In 1864, Greeley bought the present Greeley House for his family s use and built a third house, the Side Hill House, before his death in Improving his farm was an expensive drain on his resources. One local farmer estimated the price for draining the swamp or bog (the present Bell School field) at about $50,000, and it was never completely successful. The gentleman farmer came up to Chappaqua on Friday nights and spent the weekends working in his fields and woods. This was a great release for a man in constant demand in both the business and political arenas. He spent summer weekends on the farm until his death in In 1873, Ida and Gabrielle lived in the Side Hill House. When Ida married in 1875, she and her husband lived in the House in the Woods until it burned in When the Side Hill House burned in 1890, Gabrielle moved to a tenant house by the present Town Hall. She married the Rev. Dr. Frank Clendenin in 1891, and converted the Greeley barn to a home called Rehoboth where she lived until her death in Greeley s great-grandson, F.C. Greeley Stahl, sold the remaining lands in the mid-1950s.

3

4 Stop 1: The Greeley House Horace Greeley started buying property in Chappaqua in He first built the House in the Woods in 1853, and then bought this house in By that time, his farm was established and the lower fields (the bog) were being drained. During Greeley s day, Senter St. was an alternate entrance to the House in the Woods. View from the present Greeley House looking south over Greeley s Bog toward St. Mary s Church, (View just behind the Community Center.)

5 Directions to Stop 2 Begin at the Horace Greeley House Museum. Turn left out of the Greeley House parking lot. Continue to walk along Senter St. toward Bell Middle School. About half-way between the Greeley House and Bell Middle School, look to your left for Greeley s well-spring.

6 Stop 2: Well-Spring Greeley built this well-spring to supply both his King Street House and later the Side Hill House. The water here was pure as late as Spring on the east side of Senter Street. Greeley s Farm Road, 1922.

7 This is the well-spring in 1977, before it was restored to the condition you see it in today.

8 Directions to Stop 3 From the well, look toward the middle school. Do you see the large oak tree straight ahead? As you walk to the oak tree, notice the similarities and differences between this historic photo and today. The single large oak tree that you see in front of you today is actually the same tree pictured in the center of the next photo.

9 Stop 3: Oak Tree At this location, Greeley s farm road split into two directions. One trail went to the barn on present-day Aldridge Road; while the other went to the House in the Woods. View looking south along Senter Street, (Toward the present day Bell Middle School.) See the red arrow? That tree is the oak tree you see right in front of you!

10 Directions to Stop 4 While you are standing by the oak tree, look into the woods, slightly to the left. Do you see how the ground is leveled about halfway up the hill?

11 Stop 4: Side-Hill House The leveled area that you are seeing was once the location of Greeley s Side Hill House. Greeley built this home between 1871 and 1872; he never had the opportunity to live in it for he passed away in His daughters, Ida and Gabrielle, moved into the home in the fall of The Side Hill House burned in 1890, forcing Gabrielle and her husband, Reverend Clendenin, to move to a local tenant house. It is around this time that Gabrielle and Rev. Clendenin renovated Rehoboth (Greeley s concrete barn located on Aldridge Rd.), and turned it into a home. Side Hill House on Senter Street. Burned 1890.

12 Directions to Stop 5 From the oak tree, begin walking in front of the middle school and toward the Church of St. Mary the Virgin. As you are walking, take a moment to turn and look at the playing fields below. These fields were called the swamp or bog during Greeley s day.

13 Stop 5: The Bog The beautiful open playing fields that you are viewing today were once a major part of Greeley s farm. Greeley constantly experimented (to varying degrees of success and failure) with different methods of irrigation and drainage in these fields. One local farmer estimated the price for draining the swamp or bog at about $50,000, and it was never completely successful. Looking north from Bell Middle School over Greeley s Bog toward town.

14 Directions to Stop 6 Continue walking along the sidewalk toward the church.

15 Stop 6: Church of St. Mary the Virgin This church was built in 1905 by Gabrielle Greeley Clendenin and her husband Rev. Frank Clendenin in memory of their daughter Muriel. You may also visit the small family burial ground in the rear of the church. Gabrielle and Rev. Frank Clendenin were very active members of the town s community. Much of downtown Chappaqua is located on land that Gabrielle donated to the Town of New Castle. The current Chappaqua train station, Bell Middle School, Town Hall, the Chappaqua Library, the Community Center, and the old Chappaqua Firehouse are all located on what was once Greeley s farm. St. Mary s Church- built by Dr. Frank Clendenin and Gabrielle (Greeley) Clendenin in memory of their daughter, Muriel, in 1905.

16 Directions to Stop 7 While you are facing the front of the church, look for the row of pine trees to your right. Walk toward the pine trees to find the walking path.

17 Stop 7: Greeley s Grove Here you will see a lane of pine and hemlocks heading back toward the woods. The trees were likely planted as a windbreak for Greeley s greenhouse, which was located just to the right of the lane. Greeley s Grove is famous for the political rally that Greeley held here prior to the election of 1872 when he ran for president for both the Liberal Republican and the Democratic parties.

18 Inside the Greeley Grove, 1922.

19 The farm road through Greeley s Grove, with Greeley or his farm manager in the photograph. Photo looking toward the House in the Woods (upper left).

20 Directions to Stop 8 Continue along the path through the pine trees and toward the woods. This was the road to Greeley s House in the Woods. Continue walking until you see the leveled clearing on the left.

21 Stop 8: The House in The Woods The Greeley Family lived their summers here from 1854 until Why did they move? Mrs. Greeley found the house isolated, dark, and potentially dangerous. During the Draft Riots of 1863, local legend suggests that several rioters threatened to walk in the woods and burn Greeley s house. Horace was not home during this occasion, and Mary Greeley successfully protected her children and home from the potentially dangerous situation. Upon Horace s return to home, Mary requested that they find a home closer to town. Horace always preferred this house to his new home and kept it as his library and study. Horace Greeley s House in the Woods, built It was considered Greeley s favorite house, and he continued spending time here after buying the house on King Street. The House in the Woods burned in 1876.

22 Directions to Stop 9 Continue along the path and over the wooden bridge. Please be careful as you walk through this area. There is a steep cliff that drops to the brook below.

23 Stop 9: Lover s Leap and Glen Take a moment to take in the beauty of the brook and glen. Remember, Mary Greeley had asked Horace to find a place that contained a fine forest of evergreens; a peerless spring of pure water; and a cascade or brawling brook. Horace was able to find all of these natural features on the land he purchased in Chappaqua. You have now seen all three of these features along your walk of the former Greeley Farm! One of several bridges built over the glen by Greeley s daughter, Gabrielle.

24 Directions to Stop 10 Continue walking along the trail and keep looking toward the brook. Please watch your step!

25 Stop 10: Greeley s Dam To the right of the path you will notice the remnants of Horace Greeley s Dam. The small pond created by this dam provided a water source for cattle in the summer, and an ice source to be harvested in the winter. Greeley s Dam.

26 Directions to Stop 11 Continue along the trail until you enter the parking lot of Temple Beth El. Please proceed, quietly and respectfully, to the far side of the parking lot (completely opposite from where you just entered the pavement). On the far side of the parking lot, you will notice a few stairs that climb the slight embankment. Follow these stairs through the short wooded trail to the left. You will now enter the cul-de-sac at the end of Aldridge Rd. From the cul-de-sac continue by walking to the right along Aldridge Road. In a few houses, you will notice the distinct Rehoboth House on the right.

27 Stop 11: Rehoboth House Horace Greeley created this concrete and stone structure in Greeley designed the barn using concrete, one of the first structures of its kind in the United Sates, to protect against potential burning. The structure also provided a space that protected his livestock from the natural elements (rain, drafts, etc.). Three Stages of Greeley s Barn

28 Greeley s Barn in its earliest stages, around It was the first concrete building in the United States.

29 Rehoboth after its 1891 remodel, probably taken in the early to mid 1900s.

30 Rehoboth as you see it today, after its 1954 remodel. The house was restored to its original 1856 outlines.

31 Directions Back to the Historical Society To walk back to the New Castle Historical Society from the Rehoboth House, continue along Aldridge Rd. until you see Prospect Dr. Make a left on Prospect Dr. Walk down Prospect Dr. until it intersects with King Street. Make a left at King St. and walk down the hill until you see the Horace Greeley House and the New Castle Historical Society on your left. (Please continue onto the next page for some reflection questions and a thank you from us at the New Castle Historical Society!)

32 Questions to think about on the way back: Why do you think that so many of Horace Greeley s houses were lost to fires? Do you think that you d like to live in the 1800s? What was your favorite part of the tour? What part of Chappaqua looks the most different from the way it looked in the 1800s? What part looks the most similar? When did you move to Chappaqua? How has the town changed since then?

33 Thank You! You have now completed the Walking Tour of Horace Greeley s Farm. Thank you for taking the time to walk in the footsteps of history! If you took a physical copy of our walking tour, please return this booklet to the New Castle Historical Society and Horace Greeley House, or where you picked it up from. If you have any additional questions or comments, please contact us at or

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