Sunday, March 6, 2011

Poughkeepsie (3 of 3)

Garfield Place and Academy Street have the most consistent upscale nineteenth century streetscape, but fabulous houses are scattered elsewhere. This one is on South Hamilton, a street that has otherwise not fared so well. Across from the house above is a rambling old manse that has been stripped of its porches and detail work, slathered with awful new siding and retro-fitted with ill-proportioned replacement windows. Such has been the fate of many Poughkeepsie houses.

This old Queen Anne pile is on Market Street, a block from the eastbound arterial. The location is just about the bulls-eye center of town. I'd date it somewhere in the 1880s or '90s, built for some nineteenth century Poughkeepsie big bug who liked being noticeable.

Hooker Avenue, presumably named after the Civil War General, marks an imprecise dividing line between beat-up Poughkeepsie to the north and architecturally distinguished residential areas to the south. Hooker itself has a number of exceedingly fine old places, like this early twentieth century Georgian Revival manse on a spacious wooded lot.

The area south of Hooker Avenue is a tangle of tree lined subdivision streets, dating mostly from the first decades of the twentieth century. Parts of this neighborhood are simply pleasant; others are quite distinguished. The Arts and Craft and Tudor Revival houses above are good examples of the latter. The streets on which they stand are beautifully maintained and, now that the trees and plantings are fully mature, probably look better than they did in 1920. I can't help asking myself who lives in these houses? Old families? Newcomers? And if the latter, why are they here in Poughkeepsie?


  1. In the 1990s, I had a friend who lived in Poughkeepsie but worked in a more picturesque but expensive Hudson River town. The commute to Manhattan is tolerable. At that time, $200,000 went a long way in buying an interesting house with potential.

  2. I have enjoyed the " big old houses" tour of Poughkeepsie .
    My son lived there while attending the CIA. Like you, I am enamoured with these houses and like you I wonder about the rooms, the history and persons who originally lived in them.

    I very much enjoy your blog.

  3. You were right on target with your dating of the red brick house. It was designed by Frederick Clarke Withers and built in 1885. Here is its Wiki page:,_New_York)

  4. John,

    Thank you for displaying such nice views of Poughkeepsie.

    As a current resident of Academy Street, I can say that our neighborhood consists of both families who have lived here for many years and like myself, newcomers.

    This Sunday, May 15, 2011 the Academy Street Area Partnership is hosting a Realtors Workshop at the Poughkeepsie Tennis Club, here in the City. The purpose of this event is to showcase the beauty, benefits and historic city lifestyle that come from owning one of these homes.

    All Realtors, Prospective Buyers and Current Residents are welcome to attend this free event.

    For more information please visit

  5. Thank you for this series. I lived in Poughkeepsie on what was Baker Street (when it was still lined with silver maple trees) and I remember these houses. I'm pleased to see that some of them are still there.

  6. Just found this wonderful blog today (Oct 20) As I commented on another one of your postings, I went to Vassar in the 1960s and studied Art History. Po'keepsie was on a downward slide evident even then. The Planner's Delight, ie lots of one-way thoroughfares designed to speed traffic thru town & out of town just killed the place. I saw this with sadness as I returned for reunions every few years.

    We did have a fun reunion banquet at the Hudson River Canoe Club a couple of years' back and everyone was fascinated to be so close to the River; it was catered by a Millbrook woman who did a great job! Understand the old bridge is now a "high line" walkway of some kind.