Rosenlund Gatehouse Site

Site History

The Rosenlund Gatehouse site is located on the campus of Marist College in the midst of Poughkeepsie's urban sprawl. However, during the late 18th and 19th centuries, the landscape surrounding the Rosenlund Gatehouse site was rural, adjacent to the former Albany Post Road (NY 9), which connected villages along the Hudson River, including Poughkeepsie, with Albany. A map from 1789 shows the area north of the Village of Poughkeepsie as being primarily an agricultural center surrounded by farmsteads. The development of Poughkeepsie as an industrial and manufacturing center did not occur until the mid to late 19th century.

Following the American Revolution, relationships between patent landowners and their tenants became contentious due to the feudal nature of these land/settlement arrangements. Expressions of this conflict were more common in the frontier counties to the west. The Livingston family featured prominently in much of these tensions with tenants prior to the American Revolution (Lynd 1961). By the early 19th century, the Livingstons had divested their interest in the vicinity of the Rosenlund Gatehouse Site.

The Van Anden family, under Abraham Van Anden, acquired land piecemeal and established the family's farmstead in the early 19th century. The Van Andens named their estate "Hickory Grove." Around 1836, the Van Anden's built a Greek Revival house to serve as the main residence for the farmstead. It was later enlarged with Italianate additions and a mansard roof. The 1850 map shows the Widow Van Anden's house near the Rosenlund Gatehouse Site.

In 1854, Polly Van Anden, Abraham's wife, sold Hickory Grove; Abraham most likely passed away prior to the selling of the property. Polly then sold the estate to David and Fanny Bartlett, who owned the property until 1860. The Bartletts sold the property to Thomas Clegg in 1860 and Clegg, in turn, sold it to Edward Bech in 1863.

The Hickory Grove estate dramatically changed with Edward Bech's purchase of the property. Edward Bech was a Dutch consular who made his fortune in the iron business, among other ventures. For a short period he was a partner in the Cunard shipping line. His interests ended with the Panic of 1857, when his business losses forced him to concentrate on his iron works. According to the 1860 Federal census, Bech's real estate holdings were valued at $150,000, and his personal estate was valued at $175,000. Bech's wife was a Canadian immigrant named Elizabeth McCarty, and they had several children. After living many years in downtown Poughkeepsie, Edward Bech decided to follow the fashion of the day by building a river front estate. Following the purchase of Hickory Grove, Bech pushed to redesign the estate. He hired Detlef Lineau to design the structures in the Gothic Revival style and renamed the property, the Rosenlund Estate. The gatehouse was constructed during this redevelopment of the estate. The Bech family lived in the Van Anden's Greek Revival structure as a temporary residence. Their plan was to move into their own mansion on the completion of its construction. However, due to Edward's death in 1873, the mansion was never completed. His widow, Elizabeth, remained in the Greek Revival house until her death in the 1890s.

During Bech's ownership of Rosenlund, the gatehouse served as the residence for Bech's groom. The groom was a carriage driver, who took care of the horses stabled in the carriage house; he was on-call to drive the carriage when needed. According to the 1880 census, William Tewksbury was the Bech's coachman and probably lived in the gatehouse. He was born around 1855 and emigrated from England in 1877. In the 1900 federal census, Tewksbury was listed as living in Rhinebeck, New York and working as a coachman. A few years after her passing, Elizabeth's heir (an Austrian woman named Pauline E. B. De Mavendorff) sold the property for $100. It was acquired by the Marist Brothers shortly afterward, and became the foundation of the Marist College campus.

The Marist Brothers altered the Rosenlund Estate to fit their needs just as the Bechs had renovated Hickory Grove. The Marist Brothers were an educational brotherhood and developed the estate's buildings to serve as institutional housing or for instruction. Their descriptions of the estate at the time of acquisition described the buildings conditions as fair. They referred to the gatehouse as the "Chateau."  Their alterations to the building and its surroundings included replacing the associated outhouse in 1908 with a bathroom in the basement. Part of their renovations involved the installation of gas and waterlines throughout the house. The rear exterior door was sealed off in the 1960s. The gatehouse was used to house the community's tailor. His shop was downstairs, while his residence was on the top floor. It was later used to house summer students. In the 1970s, the gatehouse served as faculty offices, then the provincial headquarters for the Marist Brothers. Most recently it has served as the offices for Marist College's president.

Rosenlund Architectural Drawings

 

Rosenlund Excavation

Overview
Site History
Excavations
Artifacts
Conclusions

References

Last Updated: 6/16/16