When Franklin Hughes, a great-uncle to FDR, and Laura Astor Delano married in 1844 they were gifted Astor family land and built a new home in the then-popular Italianate style.
Designed by architect Frank Wills, it was constructed between 1848 and 1851 and became known as “Steen Valentje,” a Dutch-sounding coinage some sources translate as “stone valley” or “stone creek” that is the name of a creek in the area.
A recent listing for the 289-acre estate at 89 Martins Lane in Red Hook, N.Y., provides an awe-inspiring glimpse into the storied, historic property, which has hosted generations of Astors, Delanos and Roosevelts.
The house has been added to and altered over time, losing some of its Italianate character, and now bears the name Atalanta, after the virgin huntress of Greek mythology.
The interiors are grand in scale and dripping with historic details. The images show elaborate moldings, mantels and painted ceilings.
There are six bedrooms and baths and a wine cellar large enough for a 5,000 bottle collection. While grand, the rooms are comfortably proportioned.
In her “My Day” column of July 6, 1949, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote of a visit there and noted she thought the house, “in spite of being built in the Victorian era, has more real charm and sense of being a house where people have lived and really understood and loved their possessions than some houses where you have a feeling that a perfectly impersonal decorator was called in to hang the curtains and lay the rugs and choose and place the furniture.”
In the early 20th century, the compound hosted many a wedding, dance and party, as newspaper reports of the time reveal.
In addition to the 19th century mansion, there are five other houses on the property — enough to host friends and family without having to see them.
Beyond the multiple houses are the numerous outbuildings, including a Greek temple style pool house, conservatory, barns, and stable.
At one time, the stalls housed Norwegian Fjords. Passionate horse breeder and Industrialist Warren Delano III, who inherited the estate in 1894, imported some of the strong breed in 1906.
Unfortunately, he lost his life in 1920 when one of his horses, startled by a train whistle, bolted and pulled his carriage in front of an oncoming train at the nearby Barrytown station.
Listed by John R. Friend of Houlihan Lawrence, the estate is priced at $22 million. Running out to take a look?
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