Westchester County Historic Arts Trail
A selection of some of the artistic history of Westchester County
The Will Low House and Studio, built in 1891, was originally owned by famous artist, muralist, and designer of stain glass, Will Hicok Low. After buying the home in 1896, he made additions, added large scale canvases, and turned the house into his art studio. This site is part of the Lawrence Park Historic District, which contains 94 buildings that were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Until the 1960s, a variety of famous artists owned this home.
This sculpture commemorates “the First Lady of Jazz,” Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996). Fitzgerald, raised in Yonkers, overcame a difficult childhood to become one of the most recognizable jazz singers. Her impressive vocal range and ability to master the "scat" technique, along with her creativity and perseverance fueled her success in the music industry. She grew up near Harlem, known as the heart of jazz, allowing her to make connections with producers who helped launch her career. She performed from the mid-1930s until the early 90s, recording 200 albums and winning thirteen Grammy awards along the way. She is known for her voice in more than one respect, as she overcame many obstacles from a turbulent childhood and persistent racial discrimination to become one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.
Glenview (also known as the John B. Trevor House) was built by John Bond Trevor in 1876. New York City architect, Charles W. Clinton designed the home in the style of High Victorian Gothic which is similar to the French Second Empire style. Construction on the home was completed in 1877 and the home remained in the possession of the family until Mrs. Trevor's death in 1922. The city of Yonkers purchased the home and transformed it into the Yonkers Museum of Science and Arts. In 1948, it was renamed the Hudson River Museum. By the late 1960s, a more modern museum was built in front of it, majority of the home's interior has been restored to the period of the Trevor's residency.
Originally part of a 150 acre estate known as Greystone, the now 43 acre Untermyer Park has served as a residential estate and now a public a park/garden. The formal gardens created by the famous William Welles Bosworth, and amphitheater are in the Neo-clssical style. Located overlooking the Hudson River, it features seasonal plantings and fountains. The park is a pleasant visit for all who wish to take in scenic views and beautifully landscaped spaces.
The Capitol was one of some 300 theatres, designed by Thomas White Lamb, one of the field's leading architects. From the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin in the 70s to David Bowie and the Rolling Stones in the 90s, the Port Chester-based theatre has featured many notable acts. The market for a venue of that scale gradually slackened. Starting in 1997, The Capitol Theatre served as a catering hall for special events, until December 2012, where music entrepreneur, Peter Shapiro, would purchase the theatre. The Capitol Theater was put into the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
Percy Grainger was a famous composer, pianist, and inventor of Free Music, which is a prototype of a synthesizer. Percy Grainger Home and Studio is where he lived and gave performances from 1921-61.
Nestled in a residential neighborhood in the Town of Greenburgh is an unusual home made of stucco-covered concrete block. Unique among the buildings in the neighborhood, this house was actually constructed by Riccardo Bertelli in 1908 as a home and studio for sculptor Henry Merwin Shrady. Bertelli was the founder of Roman Bronze Works, one of the most prominent sculpture foundries in the United States. The building was later occupied by two other sculptors, Karl Illava and Leo Friedlander. As Friedlander owned the building the longest among the three sculptors, the structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places under the name Leo Friedlander Studio.
The Episcopal Church of St. Joseph of Arimathea was originally built as the private chapel by Sara Newton Worthington, widow of Henry Rossiter Worthington. Mr. Worthington was a mechanical engineer who was an inventor and successful manufacturer of steam pumps. Mrs. Worthington decided to build this memorial chapel on their estate as a burial place for her late husband and three of their children who died at young ages. The Worthington Memorial Chapel, which is believed to have been designed by Richard Michell Upjohn, was completed in 1883. Mrs. Worthington bequeathed the chapel to the Episcopal Diocese of New York, which established the Church of St. Joseph of Arimathea at the chapel in 1896.
Jennie Prince Black, a prominent citizen of Irvington, began to push for the establishment of a public memorial to Washington Irving in 1909. At the time, Irving's home, Sunnyside, was still owned by the Irving family and was not accessible to the public. Mrs. Black formed a committee to plan for the monument, and her persistence paid off in 1924 when enough funds had been raised to pay for it. Designed by Charles A. Platt and featuring sculptures by Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial, the monument was not completed and dedicated until 1927 due to construction problems and financial difficulties. The monument features as bust of Irving as well as two characters from his stories, Rip Van Winkle and Boabdil. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.
In 1835, upon his return to New York following a 17-year stay in Europe, notable statesman, historian, and author Washington Irving bought an 18th-century farmhouse on the Hudson River, and transformed it into the historical literary haunt he would call "Sunnyside." On the border of Tarrytown and Irvington, the home was sometimes referred to by Irving as "Wolfert's Roost," after the Dutch tenant farmer Wolfert Acker who built the stone farmhouse. With the help of artist George Harvey, Irving transformed his new home into a "fanciful embodiment of an old Dutch mansion," though it brought together several different influences such as the architecture of Scotland, Spain, and colonial New York. He lived the rest of his life at Sunnyside, with the exception of his four-year stint as the United States ambassador to Spain.
In 1838, Lyndhurst Mansion was designed for New York City Mayor William Paulding by Alexander Jackson Davis. This Hudson River villa is considered one of America’s finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture. In 1880 railroad tycoon and speculator Jay Gould bought the estate from its second owner George Merritt, a merchant and banker who doubled the size of the house and added numerous buildings and landscape features. It is now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and open to the public for tours and events.
Tarrytown Music Hall first opened in 1901 as a multi-purpose entertainment center. As the town of Tarrytown slowly became more affluent in the 1880s, local chocolate manufacturer, William L. Wallace, commissioned architect Philip Edmunds with designing a multipurpose building that would contain stores, offices and apartments, as well as a large auditorium with a stage. The architectural style of its exterior is in the Queen Anne style. It continues to serve the community as an entertainment center today.
The home for four generations of the Rockefeller family, Kykuit was built for John D. Rockefeller, Sr., scion of Standard Oil and richest man in the world during his lifetime. The house and extensive gardens are the design of architect William Welles Bosworth, who worked collaboratively with John D. Rockefeller Jr.on the construction. Completed in 1913, the estate contains several outbuildings including a Coach Barn, Playhouse and an Orangerie. The home contains collections of Asian ceramics, fine furnishings and 20th century art. The last family occupant, Nelson Rockefeller, bequeathed his portion of the estate to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. His two brothers David and Laurance did the same at their deaths.
St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Scarborough, NY was completed in 1851 and based on the design of the English St. Mary's church in Scarborough, North Yorkshire which was constructed in 1180. It has a simple and austere design but is adorned with a large stain glass windows by John Bolton. John and his older brother William were pioneers in the production of stain glass in this country. St Mary's Church, unfortunately, shut down in 2015.
The Copland House, also known as Rock Hill was the studio and home where famous composer Aaron Copland lived from 1960 till 1990. Aaron Copland is regarded as one of America's most eminent composers who adapted traditional folk music and gave it a distinctly American voice. Along with Aaron Copland's own contributions to music he also started a program in his studio to encourage young composers to continue their work in music.
The Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts began as the private estate of Walter and Lucie Rosen, both of whom were keenly interested in music and art. The Rosens purchased the estate in 1928 and gradually enlarged it over the following decade into a Mediterranean style mansion and outbuilding by architect Christian S. Rosborg. The couple began hosting musical events for their friends in 1940 and in 1946, they established the Center and began offering events to the public. The estate is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.