Historian describes historic home likely to disappear

GREENPORT–A house that faces demolition for a strip mall has architectural and historical significance, reported Paul Barrett, a sales agent for TKG Real Estate and a historian.

Speaking at the Hudson Area Library’s Local History Series session April 11, he said the house, on Fairview Avenue near McDonald’s, has been known as the Farrand House, the Pines, Fairview Gothics, and the Dusenberry Apartments. With Gothic Revival architecture including trim, it was home to a man who ran an orchard and was instrumental in creating Hudson’s Oakdale Lake. Near it stands a cottage with the same architecture and trim. Initial plans call for demolishing the Farrand House, moving the McDonald’s, and deciding later about the cottage. But State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has determined that the Farrand House is eligible for state and national historic registers and is discussing options with the developer.

The Gothic Revival style blossomed in America between about 1830 and 1860. Its significant features include steeply-pitched roofs with decoratively-trimmed gables. What is “remarkable” about the Farrand House and nearby cottage is that they have sat “unnoticed for years” and undergone interior changes, “but their exterior trim has survived,” Mr. Barrett said. Meanwhile, he added, another Gothic Revival building in the area was demolished to build Crosswinds. He also showed pictures of a Gothic Revival house on Hudson’s Allen Street where the trim was eventually removed.

Known by a number of names, this Fairview Avenue,Greenport Italianate home dating from the mid-19th century, may soon be demolished to make way for commercial development. Photo contributed

Mr. Barrett said the Farrand House probably was made by joining two houses. It was already standing on a 140-acre farm when Joseph Stevens Farrand, who was born in London and came to the US in 1835, bought it and moved there in about 1861. After he died in 1882, his son Arthur took over the house and farm.

Arthur Farrand, born in 1868, lived in the house part of the year, with his wife, Bertha, and sisters. He eventually became a cotton broker, the secretary-treasurer of Commercial Storage Company in Hudson, a director of the Hudson River Trust Company, and a real estate developer, but he also ran the farm and was recognized as a leading authority on agriculture. He wrote agricultural articles and raised a variety of farm crops, but was known for his orchards–especially the pears. Meanwhile, near his land lay fair grounds, which became the Hudson neighborhoods of Glenwood, Parkwood, and Oakwood Boulevard.

In the second decade of the 20th century, Mr. Farrand built an extension to Glenwood through 7½ acres he owned and 19½ more acres he bought, built an extension from Glenwood across lowlands connecting it with North 6th Street, and had the land east of the extension flooded, creating Oakdale Lake. Despite his successes he committed suicide in the Farrand House in 1924.

Arthur and Bertha Farrand had no children. Bertha lived in Hudson for a while until she moved to Slingerlands, where she died in 1938. That year Gabriel and Vincenza Arcuri bought the property and turned the house into Hotel Glendale. But two years later, Gabriel died of a heart attack, his successor moved the hotel up Fairview, and Vincenza moved into the cottage. The Arcuris had at least eight children, several of whose descendants attended the April 11 lecture. From the 1940s until about 10 years ago, the Farrand House became Dusenberry Apartments. In about 2009, the tenants were moved out because of anticipated development.

Despite the house’s eligibility for historical registers, SHPO might give a green light to demolition, Mr. Barrett reported, as long as the developer posts a photograph of the building and a plaque announcing it on or near the location. Such a plaque would serve two purposes: a “consolation” for those who wanted to save the building, and a boast for those who wanted it torn down. The decorative trim would go to an architectural detail warehouse. Right now, it appears as if all options are open.

“Is saving the building a possibility?” asked a man in the audience.

“That depends on the community,” answered Mr. Barrett.

“Is there any community leadership to save it?” asked the man.

“No,” answered Mr. Barrett.

“It’s not a dump,” said someone else.

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