Wyndcliffe Mansion

The iconic Hudson River ruin known as Wyndcliffe was built in 1853 as the summer residence of Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones. So ornate and lovely was the estate, it is thought to be the subject of the phrase, “keeping up with the Joneses.” It is believed that Wyndcliffe was designed by architect George Veitch, who is also credited with designing Rhinebeck’s Episcopal Church of the Messiah. Designed in the Norman style, the mansion’s extraordinary ornamental brickwork is credited to master mason John Byrd, who would later work with Veitch on St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Rhinecliff. Originally situated on 80 acres, Wyndcliffe boasted spectacular Hudson River views and access to the river. The property now sits on a scant 2.5 acre parcel. Ms. Jones’ niece, writer Edith Wharton, was a frequent guest and may have used her time there as inspiration for her book, Hudson River Bracketed. William and Henry James were also guests. In 1886, Wyndcliffe was purchased by Andrew Finck for $25,000 and renamed “Linden Grove.” It remained in the Finck family for several generations, often being sold from one family member to another for the princely sum of $1. Hard times in 1934 resulted in the auctioning of the property for less than $1,800 to Anna Rice, who deeded it two years later to the Lesavoy family for “$100 with a $3.00 tax stamp.” The property was sold again in 1961 for $12,500, and in 1971 for $85,000. It is unclear when it was abandoned – and why. Visitors to the site can still see some of the elaborate brickwork and imposing details although time, weather and neglect have taken their toll. Wyndcliffe was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. According to Wikipedia (2013), Wyndcliffe was purchased in 2003. It is unclear what Wyndcliffe’s ultimate fate may be.