New Paltz Historic Farmhouse Tour this Sunday

Thaddeus Hait House. Photo by Richard Heyl de Ortiz

This Sunday, June 10, the Hudson Valley’s rich agrarian history can be explored in New Paltz. “CIRCA: The Historic Farmhouse Tour” will highlight the unique architectural details and history of six privately owned homes in the area, including an artist’s studio created in the shell of a historic outbuilding and a viewing of the grand 1814 home of Josiah Hasbrouck, a successful gentleman farmer.

The event is a fundraiser for the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) organization in Ulster County, which trains and assigns volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children in foster care. According to Richard Heyl de Ortiz, executive director of CASA and a New Paltz native, “It was the bounty of the Hudson Valley and the industrious nature of our 18th- and 19th-century farmers,” he says, “that fed our young country, especially burgeoning cities such as New York.”

Farming in this area, he says, included people of all social strata, from the wealthy gentleman farmers to the hardworking tenant farmers, and the tour will include a representative sampling of that. One example is the early-19th-century home of Thaddeus Hait, who by 1828 had accrued 153 acres, some of which is still farmed today. The home features an unusual second-floor “Juliet” balcony, and is an example of how the refined Neoclassical style was reinterpreted in a rural setting.

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Another house on the tour will be the Federal-style home of Josiah and Hylah Bevier Hasbrouck, completed in 1814. Known today as Locust Lawn, it was at the center of a 1,000-acre gentleman’s farm. The couple were both descended from the earliest Huguenot settlers of the area, and the home would be lived in by three generations of their family until it was closed in the 1880s, essentially turning it into a time capsule of one family’s unique history. A preserved museum today, the home has been closed to the public for the past two years and is normally open only by appointment.

Also featured on the tour will be the humble home of Daniel A. Hasbrouck, built for tenant farmers. The simple one-and-a-half-story home sits alongside a stream with views of the fields all around it. The tour will include an artist’s studio created out of a unique stone outbuilding, as well as the Dutch-style barn that now houses Adair Vineyards.

Capping off the tour will be a reception at the Maplestone Inn, a substantial stone house built by John L. Jenkins and Mary Catherine Broadhead in the late 18th century. Innkeepers Sean and Patty Roche will open the renovated streamside barn for a reception at tour’s end.

CIRCA will be held on Sunday, June 10 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Heyl de Ortiz says that tour participants can start the tour any time between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and can drive to the sites in any order. Advance tickets cost $25, available for purchase from www.casaulster.org or by calling (845) 339-7543. Advance registrants will receive an e-mail confirmation, and names will be held at the door. Tickets on the day of the tour will cost $30 each. Registration and check-in will take place at the Elting Memorial Library at 93 Main Street in New Paltz, with volunteers available to distribute programs and directions from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants have until 4 p.m. to tour the houses at their leisure; and then from 4 to 5:30 p.m., all tourgoers are invited to a wine-and-cheese reception at the barn at the Maplestone Inn.

All proceeds will benefit CASA, which works to ensure that foster care is temporary and that children can grow up in safe, loving and permanent homes. CASA was founded in Ulster County in 1987 and is one of more than 950 CASA programs across the country. For more information about the tour and about CASA, visit www.casaulster.org.

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