Historic Treasures: Ulster County’s Locust Lawn


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Locust-Lawn HABS/HAER Library of CongressGardiner, New York, located in south-central Ulster County has some real historical gems within its borders. One of those gems is Locust Lawn which is situated on what used to be known as the Newburgh-New Paltz Road (now Route 32).

This frequently overlooked Federal style mansion, constructed by Josiah Hasbrouck, is a must-see, not only the magnificent federal-style mansion, but also the property’s scenic beauty. There is also the Evert Terwilliger house, perched on the banks of the Plattekill Creek which cuts through the property. Built in the 1730s, it’s an example of an early stone house, and is also connected to the history of the mansion.

Josiah Hasbrouck was born to Jacob J. Hasbrouck and his wife Jennetje DuBois on March 3, 1755, in New Paltz. He was the great-grandson of Jean Hasbrouck who founded New Paltz along with his brother Abraham and other Huguenot families.

Josiah spent most of his life living in the home known today as the Hasbrouck House. There, Josiah ran a store and became accomplished relatively early in life. He served in Ulster County’s Third Regiment of Militia in the 1780s, and later as New Paltz Supervisor, State Assemblyman, and was elected to the 8th Congress, serving there from 1803 to 1805.

Jean (Jacob) Hasbrouck House-HABS/HAER Library of CongressWhen Josiah’s father died in 1806, Josiah inherited his home in New Paltz. He purchased the Terwilliger home, farm, and mills and moved his family in. Already considered a wealthy man, the 1810 Federal Census listed Josiah as owning thirteen slaves. Hasbrouck did not intend on living in the “cramped” Terwilliger house for long.

According to tradition, Congressman Hasbrouck was struck by the mansions near Washington, D.C. and wished to replicate the architectural style in his new residence. In Ulster County New York; The Architectural History & Guide, William Rhodes writes that “the new house’s stylish facade resembles a design published by New England architect Asher Benjamin.” It is believed that Josiah hired Hendrick Schoonmaker to construct the home in 1814. Eventually the farm encompassed over 1,000 acres including a saw mill Hasbrouck also purchased from the Terwilliger Family. Josiah Hasbrouck named his new estate Locust Lawn for the abundance of Locust Trees that grew on the property.

Hasbrouck lived in the mansion until he died in March 182, but Locust Lawn remained in the Hasbrouck family for over a century. It was the family’s primary residence until the 1880s when Josiah Hasbrouck, Jr. died and the home was rented.

In 1958, the mansion, outbuildings, and Evert Terwilliger House were gifted to the Huguenot Historical Society by the great-great-granddaughter of Josiah Hasbrouck. It remained part of Society until 2010 when the Locust Lawn and the Terwilliger House were transferred to Locust Grove Museum in Poughkeepsie.

Today, Locust Lawn is filled with the furnishings and possessions of five generations of the Hasbroucks. It is currently undergoing restoration. For information about touring the site call (845) 454-4500 x 211 or email k.snodgrass@lgny.org.

Photos: Above, Locust-Lawn; and below, Jean (Jacob) Hasbrouck House (photos courtesy HABS/HAER Library of Congress).

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