The Hoyt House (“The Point”) is probably the best example of Vaux’s application of the English picturesque movement; the marriage of building architecture with landscape design. Vaux carefully chose the location on the grounds in the woods (see Vaux’s book, Villas & Cottages, Design No. 31) and designed the house in 1855 for Lydig Monson Hoyt, a wealthy New York merchant, and his wife, Geraldine Livingston Hoyt. In his design scheme, Vaux succeeded brilliantly in merging the asymmetrical design of the house with its wooded landscape overlooking the Hudson. Hoyt descendents owned and occupied the house up until 1963.
In the early 1960s, under the authority of Robert Moses, New York State Parks acquired the house, dependent buildings and 92 acres of grounds. After negotiations with the Hoyts, New York State paid the Hoyt descendents still occupying the house $300k while exerting pressure to surrender their ancestral home. Parks acquired the site with the intention of creating a link between Margaret Lewis Norrie Park and the Mills Mansion grounds. New York State would regrettably leave the Hoyt House to the ravages of time, deterioration and vandalism for more than five decades. Efforts to implement restoration were largely ineffective over that time but only more recently, after Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance became the friends’ group of the Hoyt House in 2007 and thanks to reinvigorated interest from New York State Parks, restoration work has begun in earnest.
The restoration completed early in 2015 was an approximate $1 million phase. $320K of that amount was provided by Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance, with the award of a New York State Environmental Protection Fund grant. That has been applied toward matching a $320k Save America’s Treasures grant from the U.S. Dept of the Interior awarded to New York State Parks. Parks has allocated the balance from New York Works funds for the total amount.
This restoration phase covered necessary work on the entire roof, gutters and chimneys. Desperately needed restoration of the exterior stonework masonry has also been completed – in some cases stones were removed from entire exterior wall sections and reinstalled with restorative masonry. The dilapidated twentieth century kitchen addition that had been dangling from the house in disrepair has been removed, replaced by a restoration of the original masonry scheme. Despite the troubled history of the site, CVPA gratefully applauds New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for this recent restoration work, diligently executed. As friends’ group to the site, CVPA looks forward to continuing its work with Parks to carry forward additional restoration on the main house, its dependent buildings and grounds for future generations of New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy.
This is a colorized postcard circa 1908.