The Point is an excellent example of Vaux’s application of the English picturesque marriage of architecture with landscape design to an American country estate. Vaux carefully chose the location on the grounds in the woods (see Calvert Vaux, 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 descendants owned and occupied the house until 1963.
Under the authority of Robert Moses in the early 1960s, New York State exerted pressure on Hoyt descendants still occupying The Point to surrender the property. In 1963, Parks acquired the site to create a link between Margaret Lewis Norrie Park and the Mills Mansion grounds. Regrettably, the historic Vaux-designed mansion and landscape, as well as the early 20th-century barn complex, have been left since to the ravages of time, deterioration and vandalism.
Beginning in 1993, NYS Parks began to undertake a broad range of professional studies and surveys necessary to conduct and fund major restoration and adaptive reuse. Needs and opportunities of The Point’s structures and setting were detailed in the 2013 Mills Norrie Master Plan.
Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance became the “Friends Group” for The Point in 2007 and began to work with NYS Parks to develop funding for, and complete, more than $1 million in Hoyt House stabilization and restoration projects. CVPA assisted with applications for a $320,000 Environmental Protection Fund grant, and a matching $320,000 Save America’s Treasures grant from the U.S. Dept of the Interior. NY State Parks also allocated more than $100,000 from New York Works and Hudson River Heritage helped CVPA raise the balance for the restoration phase from individual donors. The home’s slate roof was replaced, its chimneys rebuilt, gutters restored, a ramshackle 20th–century addition removed, and masonry walls were stabilized and re-pointed.
More recently, CVPA Board members with preservation training worked with NYS Parks to assess existing reports, and begin to identify new studies and research needed to guide and support ongoing restoration. CVPA is currently applying for grants to retain a historic preservation architecture firm to prioritize and plan a 10-year+, multi-million restoration and adaptive reuse project for The Point.
This is a colorized postcard circa 1908