Introducing Lyndhurst

August 23, 2012 by Cindi Malinick

My name is Cindi Malinick. I'm the Louise B. Potter senior director of sites stewardship in the National Trust's Historic Sites Department. It is my honor to serve as the project manager for the next phase of National Treasures work at Lyndhurst, a National Trust Historic Site.

Located on the Hudson River just 20 miles north of Manhattan, Lyndhurst is an extraordinary historic place because, across the ownership of three families and the National Trust, all changes to the property have been deeply respectful of the exceptional quality of what already existed.

The influential American architect A.J. Davis designed the outstanding Gothic Revival manse in 1838 for William Paulding, Jr., a brigadier general in the War of 1812 and twice the mayor of New York City. Eventually the home of Cornelius Vanderbilt’s arch nemesis, railroad tycoon Jay Gould, the home and its landscape today reflect nearly 175 years of life on the river. The site's 67 park-like acres include 16 historic structures, such as a Lord & Burnham steel-framed greenhouse complex and the oldest regulation bowling alley in the United States. Also, the site contains a spectacular collection of more than 4,000 objects, including priceless furniture designed specifically for the house by A. J. Davis.

The National Trust's goal is to transform Lyndhurst into a vibrant, sustainable, and well-maintained historic site. Moving forward, we will focus on four primary values that have shaped and guided Lyndhurst throughout its history: unity, artistry, community, and rejuvenation.

Guided by these values and the corresponding principles that carry them forward into new uses and partnerships, the next chapter in Lyndhurst’s story will be one characterized by both a renewal of the site’s vitality and a respect for its history. The conservation of the buildings, landscape, and collections will exemplify mindful preservation and will inform all new uses. The exceptional quality of design, art, and craft found throughout the estate will inspire new work in architecture, landscape architecture, decorative arts, and fine arts. Lyndhurst’s historic connections with and service to surrounding communities will be celebrated and expanded by strengthening existing partnerships and developing new ones with educational institutions, other nonprofit organizations, and local governments. Finally, the property’s historic use as a retreat where people took pleasure in natural beauty, sports, and the arts will be more fully realized through new ventures.

Transforming Lyndhurst will take time and tenacity. The National Trust's team looks forward to the coming months as we continue our relentless focus on this stunningly beautiful and potential-filled historic site.

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