CVPA is working to reopen the Hoyt Carriageway Bridge that serves as the historic main entry to The Point from Old Albany Post Road in Staatsburg. For more than a century, this bridge provided a gateway to the iconic picturesque experience designed by Calvert Vaux for Lydig and Geraldine Livingston Hoyt. It also gave visitors and hikers access to Mills Norrie State Park and the Hudson River Shoreline. With broad community support, CVPA raised more than $18,000 to complete a Hudson River Valley Greenway grant for an engineering study, the first step in designing needed repairs for the bridge.
We have been working with engineer Peter Melewski PE to design rehabilitation of the bridge, expected to fall somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000. More on this soon; our goal is to have the bridge back in service to pedestrian traffic in 2022-3 and we will need your support!
CVPA’s historic bridge project began when we worked with Scenic Hudson and Preservation League of New York (PLNY) to develop a Cultural Resource Survey for 12 historic Dutchess County bridges that provide railroad crossings, including The Point’s entry bridge. This year, Scenic Hudson has nominated a grouping of five of the 12 bridges to PLNY’s Seven to Save list of endangered historic structures in New York state.
In 2022, CVPA showcased The Point’s iconic picturesque, Calvert Vaux-designed landscape through two important volunteer projects for I Love My Parks Day. We cleared brush inside the original entry to The Point on Old Albany Post Road on both sides of the Hoyt Carriageway Bridge. The project will serve as a first step toward a volunteer component for rehabilitation of the Bridge. A second project cleared overgrowth around the Hoyt mansion to make the property presentable for tours that were part of our May Symposium weekend.
On May 21 & 22, 2022, CVPA presented a symposium overlooking the Hudson River, “Designing the Landscape That Made America: Calvert Vaux and His Peers in the Hudson Valley.” The weekend included introductions to the Hudson Valley’s historic landscapes by Francis Kowsky, Emily Cooperman, Harvey Flad, Judith Major, Sean Sawyer and Kyle Toth, and tours of The Point, Olana, Wilderstein and Springside.
- CVPA’s pro bono landscape consultants Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects recommended a Cultural Landscape Report for The Point as the next step toward designing site restoration and sharing the crucial role played by both Vaux and The Point in the development of American Picturesque design with the public. A generous grant from Marcia Brady Tucker Foundation supported preparation of the Historic Narrative component, written by PS&S Integrated Services. Findings of the PS&S report were presented at CVPA’s symposium on May 21 & 22, 2022.
We received a 2022 Parks & Trails New York grant for $36,000 to support a $48,000 Communications and Outreach Project that will build support for restoring and sustainably re-deploying The Point’s 80 acres and nearly 20,000 square feet of interior space. We are pleased to have hired veteran communications specialist Jeffrey Kosmacher, who is optimizing the value of this critical project for CVPA!
A previous Parks & Trails New York grant completed in 2020 supported:
~ A phased capital plan for The Point by historic preservation architecture firm Jan Hird Pokorny Associates
~ A plan to build Board capacity to conduct capital projects and the extensive business development needed to sustainably redeploy The Point by Hone Strategic LLC
~ A timeline of steps to restore Calvert Vaux’s picturesque landscape vision for the site from Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
~ Preliminary landscape research from TR Revella-Hamilton
A William G. Pomeroy Foundation grant supported installation of an orange and blue NYS historic marker at The Point. David Byars, author of Our Time at Fox Hollow Farm and recently retired Managing Editor of Vogue magazine designed outdoor information panels for display at the site as well. Together, the marker and panels describe the connection of the site to Calvert Vaux, American Picturesque design and the Livingston Family for the thousands of hikers who pass by on the Mills Norrie Blue Trail each year.
- Last winter, CVPA installed timbering to stabilize the South Portico that serves as the main entry to The Point’s mansion, the country seat of Lydig and Blanche Livingston Hoyt. Protecting the original hand-tooled stones will help keep costs down when full restoration can be undertaken.
- In 2020, with support from NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuaries Program, CVPA restored one of The Point’s historic views to the north. The project also developed protocols for viewshed management that CVPA can now deploy to restore the remaining view corridors. In 1855, Calvert Vaux sited The Point on a promontory with views designed to showcase the Hudson River, Catskill Mountains and Esopus Lighthouse from the home’s grand entry hall, public rooms, porch and carriage road. Vaux’s masterful statement made The Point a pivotal example of American Picturesque architecture and landscape design compared by his biographer Francis Kowsky to Vaux’s siting of Belvedere Castle in New York’s Central Park two years later.
- We plan to offer a second Boston Architectural College (BAC) Historic Preservation Field School at The Point when the school lifts Covid travel restrictions. CVPA and BAC hosted a Field School serving nine graduate students and one undergrad at The Point in 2017. A 2017 Field School alumna serving as NYS Parks Intern in 2018 completed a conditions assessment for
outbuildings throughout Mills Norrie State Park, including The Point’s barn complex.
In 2020, CVPA hosted a second Hudson Valley Historic Architecture & Landscape Design Photography Exhibition. We hope to make the photo exhibit an annual event once the pandemic is behind us.
Thank you for helping Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance build momentum to save the point!