This rather humble looking ruin on Grand Street is actually one of the most architecturally significant buildings in the Hudson Valley. It is one of very few extant buildings whose design is even partly attributable to A.J. Downing, a Newburgh native who became perhaps the foremost figure in American landscape and architectural design in the 1840s. Downing designed the building with Calvert Vaux around 1851, as a home for Dr. William Culbert. Vaux included it in his book Villas & Cottages. Later it housed the City Club, an association of Newburgh's most prominent businessmen. The building narrowly survived demolition during urban renewal in 1970, and was undergoing restoration when a suspicious fire gutted it in 1981. Its brick walls have stood in ruin ever since. A stone's throw away stands the Dutch Reformed Church, a ruin whose signifigance has been recognized internationally.


© T.E. Rinaldi, 2006