Category Archives: Books and Publications

Our Time at Foxhollow Farm

Our Time at Foxhollow Farm is a remarkable pictorial history of an eminent Hudson Valley family in the early decades of the twentieth century. Illustrated with the family’s extensive collection of personal albums compiled during the nascent years of photography, it provides a fascinating insight into the regional, social, and architectural history of the era. In 1903 Tracy Dows, the son of a successful grain merchant from Manhattan, married Alice Townsend Olin, whose Livingston forebears had settled in the Rhinebeck, New York, area in the late 1600s. Dows purchased and combined several existing farms to establish his estate, Foxhollow Farm, next to Alice’s ancestral home. He commissioned Harrie T. Lindeberg, a sought-after architect trained under Stanford White, to design the family home and other buildings on the property, and the Olmsted Brothers to landscape its rolling hills. The Dowses raised their three children on the estate, and led a busy social life of tennis tournaments, weddings, dinners, and dances with such friends and neighbors as the Roosevelts and the Astors. Tracy Dows devoted himself largely to the pursuit of agricultural and civic affairs at home and in the Rhinebeck community. Olin Dows, Tracy and Alice’s son, became a notable painter active in President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. Our Time at Foxhollow Farm follows the Dows family from 1903 through the 1930s, documenting their life at home, social activities, and travels in America and Europe. An enthusiastic amateur photographer, Tracy Dows took many of this book’s photographs himself, offering a vivid and warmly intimate perspective on privileged early twentieth-century American life.

The Row House Reborn: Architecture and Neighborhoods in New York City

row house rebornThe Row House Reborn: Architecture and Neighborhoods in New York City, 1908-1929 by Andrew S. Dolkart (Author) Hardcover – August 7, 2009

Hudson River towns have (or had) an abundance of row houses. This fascinating study is the first to examine the transformation of residential architecture in New York City in the early 20th century.

In the decades just before and after World War I, a group of architects, homeowners, and developers pioneered innovative and affordable housing alternatives. They converted the deteriorated and bleak row houses of old New York neighborhoods into modern and stylish dwellings. Stoops were removed and drab facades were enlivened with light-colored stucco, multi-colored tilework, flower boxes, shutters, and Spanish tile parapets. Designers transformed utilitarian backyards into gardens inspired by the Italian Renaissance and rearranged interior plans so that major rooms focused on the new landscapes. This movement—an early example of what has become known as “gentrification”—dramatically changed the physical character of these neighborhoods. It also profoundly altered their social makeup as change priced poor and largely immigrant households out of the area. Dolkart traces this aesthetic movement from its inception in 1908 with architect Frederick Sterner’s complete redesign of his home near Gramercy Park to a wave of projects for the wealthy on the East Side to the faux artist’s studios for young professionals in Greenwich Village. Dolkart began his study because the work of these architects was being demolished. His extensive research in city records and contemporary sources, such as newspapers and trade and popular magazines, unearths a wealth of information detailing the transformation of New York’s residential neighborhoods. This significant development in the history of housing and neighborhoods in New York has never before been investigated. The Row House Reborn will interest architectural and urban historians, as well as general readers curious about New York City architecture and neighborhood development.

Little Chapel on the River: A Pub, a Town and the Search for What Matters Most

little chapel on the riverNestled along the banks of the Hudson River directly across from the United States Military Academy at West Point sits the rural town of Garrison, New York, home to Guinan’s—a legendary Irish drinking hole and country store. While searching for a place to live and a temporary haven following the September 11th attacks, Manhattan journalist Wendy Bounds was delivered to Guinan’s doorstep by a friend. And a visit that began with one beer turned into a life-changing encounter.

Captivated by the bar’s charismatic but ailing owner, Bounds uprooted herself and moved to tiny Garrison. There she became one of the rare female regulars at the old pub and was quickly swept up by its motley characters and charms. What follows is a riveting journey as her fate, and that of Guinan’s, unfolds. Told with sensitivity, humor and an unflinching eye, Little Chapel on the River is a love story about a place—and the people who bring it to life.

Along Bounds’s journey you’ll meet the people of Guinan’s: Jim Guinan himself, the stubborn high priest of this little chapel who spins rich tales of the town’s robber barons, castles and mythological swans that feed at his front door; his grown children, whose duty to their father, and the town, have kept Guinan’s up and running against immeasurable odds; Fitz, a tough-talking Vietnam vet who eventually takes the author under his wing; Tom Endres, who first rowed to the bar illegally as a cadet and who returned as a full-fledged colonel in the U.S Army; Walter, the kindhearted and neurotic next-door neighbor who torches dandelions with his lighter; and Lou-Lou, the overweight doe-eyed hound and the most faithful four-legged parishioner at the pub.

This beautifully written, deeply personal and brilliantly insightful book is as much about remembering to value the past as it is about learning to seize the present. Filled with stories of joy and sorrow, of universal family struggles with loyalty, love, betrayal and redemption, this work ultimately brims with hope as Bounds expertly captures a nostalgic slice of quintessential American life. And while chronicling the pub’s fight to endure and her own search for a simpler way of life, she shares how and why the spirit moves those who come to worship in this little chapel on the river.

Written by Gwendolyn Bounds; Published by William Morrow (2005)
ISBN-10: 0060564067
ISBN-13: 978-0060564063