Infobox Historic building

caption=House in 2007
location_town=Rhinebeck, NY
architect=John Warren Ritch, Arnout Cannon, Joseph Burr Tiffany
client=Thomas Holy Suckley
style=Queen Anne

Wilderstein is a 19th-century Queen-Anne-style country house on the Hudson River in the Town of Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York, USA.


In 1852, Thomas Holy Suckley, a businessman and real-estate investoras well as a member of the wealthy Beekman and , purchased the river-front property, whichuntil then had served as a sheep meadow for the adjacent Wildercliffestate.

Suckley and his wife Catherine Murray Bowne chose the property as abuilding site for their mansion, because they considered the landscapea good match for their picturesque aesthetic ideal. The name"Wilderstein" ("wild stone" in German) was chosen by Suckley to alludeto an American Indian petroglyph found nearby and reflect the site'shistorical significance.

The mansion commissioned for the site was a two-storey Italianate villa designed by architect John WarrenRitch. In 1888, Thomas Suckley's son Robert Bowne Suckley and hiswife, Elizabeth Philips Montgomery, undertook a remodelling andenlargement of the house. This work was carried out by the localarchitect Arnout Cannon from Poughkeepsie. The style of themansion was changed to a Queen Anne style country house. A thirdfloor, a multi-gabled attic, a circular five-storey tower, a
porte-cochere, and a verandah were added in the process. Thenew interior of the building was designed by Joseph Burr Tiffany, acousin of Louis Comfort Tiffany. The rooms of ground floor weredone in Historic Revival Style and in the aesthetic movement styleusing materials such as use mahogany, leather, stained glass, andlinen.

In parallel to the redesign of the mansion proper, the grounds of theestate were transformed by landscape architect Calvert Vauxaccording to the American Romantic Landscape style. Vaux's designcomprised the creation of a network of drives and trails, thepositioning of specimen trees and ornamental shrubs as well as theplacement of an eclectic set of out buildings such as a carriagehouse, a gate lodge, and a potting shed. Gazebos and garden seatswere positioned at carefully chosen vantage points.

In total, three generations of the Suckley family inhabited themansion. The last family member was Margaret (Daisy) Suckley, acousin of Franklin D. Roosevelt for whom she trained his famousterrier Fala. Margaret (Daisy) Suckley died in the Wilderstein mansion in 1991 in her 100th year.

Margaret (Daisy) Suckley was instrumental in forming WildersteinPreservation, a private society; she opened the house to the public atChristmas 1984. Although very little restoration work was carried outduring her lifetime, efforts have since been undertaken such as therenovation of the tower in 1994, replacement of the main roof in 1997,restoration of the siding on the second and third floor in 2001,repairs on the porte-cochere and the north porch in 2002, andrestoration work on the verandah in 2006.


The address of the mansion is 330 Morton Road, Rhinebeck, NY 12572,New York. It is a contributing property to the Hudson River Historic District, a National Historic Landmark.

References and external links

* [http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/09/07/travel/escapes/07daisy.html?ref=travel "At the Home of FDR's Secret Friend"] , September 7, 2007 by Barbara Ireland, The New York Times - Travel section feature covering Wilderstein as well as Top Cottage.
* [http://www.wilderstein.org/about.html official web site]
* [http://cityguide.pojonews.com/fe/DayTrips/stories/dt_wilderstein.asp online article in the Poughkeepsie Journal]

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