Historic Estate Homes
Two Remarkable, Landmarked Homes
Wave Hill House at the north end of the property, and Glyndor House at the south end, add interest--and amenities—to Wave Hill's property. Both homes have been either rebuilt—Glyndor three times—or significantly expanded and transformed since the mid-1800s.
Today both buildings are as central to the character of Wave Hill as its gardens, offering evidence of the rich interaction of humans with this site in modern times. While neither reflects the site's long history as a home to Native Americans, there is a growing awareness of the long, mostly unrecorded history of their presence here in the Hudson Valley. Exhibitions, educational and other programs seek to support our understanding of their importance.
Wave Hill House
William Lewis Morris and his wife Mary Elizabeth Babcock acquired land in Riverdale in 1836, and built what we know as Wave Hill House in the early 1840s. Built in the Greek Revival style, its elegant design, executed in gray fieldstone, was heavily influenced by the work of the architect Minard Lafever. This first stage in the history of the house was completed in 1844.
The internationally known publisher William Henry Appleton bought Wave Hill in 1866. By then, the areas was easily accessible to New York City by rail, and had become a fashionable location for summer houses. The Appletons transformed the house into a Victorian villa, calling it Holbrook Hall. They added a third floor and a mansard roof, as well as a small clerestory.
Between 1893 and 1911 George W. Perkins acquired several pieces of property in Riverdale, including Wave Hill House in 1903. He and his family settled in Glyndor, leasing Wave Hill House to a number of notable residents, including a young Theodore Roosevent, Arturo Toscanini, Mark Twain and his family, Queen Mother Elizabeth's visit in 1956 and, of course, Bashford Dean, an unusual scholar, scientist and expert on armor. Perkins leased Wave Hill House for life to Bashford Dean, who lived there with his wife Mary Alice Dyckman, and his sister Harriet. Perkins agreed to let Dean build a hall, based on a medieval prototype, to house his extensive armor collection.
George W. Perkins's daughter Dorothy moved into Wave Hill House in 1933 with her husband Edward Woolsey Freeman and their children. They hired architect Oliver Perry Morton, who removed much of the Victorian detail and added a service wing to the south in order to create the current, English-style country manor house.
Today the home of Glyndor Gallery and some administrative offices, Glyndor House is the third to stand on the southern end of the property.
Nonesuch, built in high Victorian style by Oliver Harriman in the 1860s, was bought by George W. Perkins in 1895. Perkins hired C. Grant LaFarge, the son of the painter and stained glass designer John LaFarge, to rebuild the house. LaFarge supervised the rebuild in partnership with George L. Heins.
...and a fine porch, or veranda, on the northern side of the building, in addition to the Nonesuch porch on the south side of the house.
In 1926, six years after the death of George W. Perkins, Glyndor was struck by lightening and severely damaged. Rather than restoring it, Mrs. Perkins commissioned the architects Butler and Cross to build a new home, known as Glyndor II, reusing the site and some of the foundation walls for a much smaller residence. Completed two years later, Mrs. Perkins lived there for the remainder of her life.