GREENPORT–Thousands of visitor marvel at Frederic Church’s idiosyncratic Persian style home each year and remark on the majestic views of the Hudson River below the bluff and the front wall of the Catskills just to the west. Less evident, perhaps, is how similar the view remains today compared to what Church preserved on canvas in the second half of the 19th century.
It is no accident. The region has been spared any cataclysmic event that indelibly altered the terrain, but there has been development, yet its impact is muted by the presence of farms, forests and wetlands, and not least, by limited growth along the riverbanks, all of which are part of what is now referred to as the Olana viewshed. Apart from the 250-acre Olana State Historic site, over a thousand acres have been willingly preserved by landowners with the help of Scenic Hudson, the Columbia Land Conservancy and the Olana Partnership.