Searching for Hudson River views, 19th century housing stock, proximity to cultural institutions and easy train access to the city? You may not think of Yonkers, but the Westchester County city has some rather grand digs worth a look.
With 17th century roots, Yonkers grew from a small farming and trading community into a center of commerce, industry and invention by the 20th century. Amongst the game-changing inventions born in the town in the 19th and 20th centuries were the safety elevator by Elisha Otis, the FM radio by Major Edwin Howard Armstrong and Bakelite by Leo Baekeland.
North of the downtown core, Yonkers was dominated by country estates in the mid 19th century, with houses perched to take advantage of the amazing Hudson River Views. The proximity of Glenwood Station meant an easy commute to the city, and by the late 19th century many of the estates were being carved up into smaller development plots. The homes that replaced the grand manors were not exactly modest little dwellings themselves.
One such house is on the market — 101 Hudson Terrace, built circa 1893 on land that was once part of the Shonnard Estate. From at least 1895 until 1920, the house was the home of Duncan and Charlotte Smith. Duncan was a lawyer in Manhattan, but quite active in Yonkers — he was elected the first president of the consolidated Yonkers Board of Education in 1881.
Hopefully the pair took maximum advantage of the stunning views to hold elegant soirees in the roughly 3,885 square foot house. They certainly had plenty of rooms to fill with guests. Despite the space, it was not brimming with full-time residents — the 1900 census shows just the two of them in the house with one live-in servant. Duncan died in 1919, and after Charlotte’s death in 1920, the house was sold to another family.
While the house now has clapboard, a historic image taken within a decade of construction shows it was originally shingled. The architect is unidentified, but clearly embraced the Colonial Revival movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, designing a home that includes swan-neck pediments, Palladian windows, fanlights and pilasters.
The revival theme continues inside with an impressive foyer with keystoned arches, ionic columns and dentil molding.
On the main level, there’s plenty of entertainment space brimming with historic detail. The dining room has one of the eight fireplaces found in the house as well as leaded glass windows and original moldings.
There are two parlors — now living and family rooms — and a sunroom for year-round enjoyment of the Hudson River views.
The kitchen has been modernized, but the white cabinets — some with leaded glass fronts — wood floors, white subway tile and built-ins fit with the historic details elsewhere in the house.
There’s a half bath tucked under the staircase that’s decked out with more leaded glass, panelling and enough bookshelves to keep plenty of reading material at hand.
The main staircase has a dramatic two-story bay-window with softly colored stained glass open to the second floor landing.
Upstairs you’ll find four bedrooms, including a master with an en-suite bath. Each of the bedrooms has a fireplace.
There’s a total of three full and two half baths in the house. Like the kitchen, they’ve had some upgrades in keeping with the spirit of the house.
On the third floor there’s now a playroom, bedroom, kitchen and another full bath. The setup could be used as a guest suite but was probably originally the servants quarters for live-in help like Bella Dixon, the Irish servant who worked for the Smith family in 1900.
Outside there’s a two-car garage, a patio, kitchen garden and a pool with its own impressive views of the river.
The house is listed for $1.65 million by Hilary Levy of Coldwell Banker.
If the pool and view are not enough to keep you entertained, the house is close to Untermeyer Gardens, a public garden on the former Samuel Untermeyer estate. While the house, Greystone, was demolished, the city owns 43 acres of land with a walled garden, wooded trails and amazing vistas of the Hudson.
Also within easy distance is the Hudson River Museum, with art and history exhibitions as well as a planetarium. There’s also a period house on the campus, the impressive 1877 Glenview Mansion.
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