Northgate Presentation & New-old Photographs

On Saturday September 15 at 2:00pm at the Foundry School Museum in Cold Spring, NY, Thom Johnson and I will reprise our standing-room-only presentation of this past February about the history of the Northgate estate and its ruins. Following the presentation we will lead a hike to the ruins.

Our September presentation will feature newly uncovered historic photographs of the estate. We have already seen photographs from the Collection of Victoria Rasche, grand-daughter of Joel O’Donnell Cornish, the last owner of the estate. Joel was a nephew of Edward and Selina Cornish who owned the estate from 1917 until their deaths in 1938. Now we have photographs that show the estate as it was owned by Sigmund Stern, including photographs of the mansion under construction and even photographs that show the site before the mansion was built!

These photographs come from the Collection of Robin Huntington, a great-grand-daughter of Sigmund Stern. In late 2008, Connie Bloom, a great-great-niece of Sigmund Stern contacted me with information about Stern, of whom we previously knew very little. She also had family photographs but they did not show the Cold Spring estate. She later found out that Northgate photographs existed with her relative Robin, who did an excellent job scanning the photos. A small sample of the “newly-found” Stern photographs appears below, and we will show more of these images in the September presentation.

Several of the photographs show a farmhouse immediately north of the Northgate mansion. From studies of maps and from our observations of the landscape, we felt certain that several farms existed at the estate prior to its development by Sigmund Stern. We did not expect to see a house situated right next to the mansion that stands in ruins today. This farmhouse was likely demolished after Sigmund Stern completed construction of the Northgate mansion. A small farm structure associated with this farmhouse actually survived into the 1990s; it’s roof has since fallen in and only its stone foundation remains today.

We are continuously learning more about the history of the estate and we hope that each new discovery of information and photographs leads to answers for questions that we still have. Who was the architect of the mansion and grounds? What buildings were constructed at what dates? How late did each building survive before falling into ruin or before demolition?

Northgate mansion with grounds still under development. Farmhouse visible in background.

Northgate mansion with pergola, flower bed and unidentified child.

Mansion porte cochere with view of a barn that stood just north of the present greenhouse ruins.

View of mansion from one of two gazebos or “summer houses,” foundations of which remain today atop an overgrown but evident trail network.

We ask that you please do not copy these images for hosting on any other website nor should the images be reprinted without permission from Robin Huntington. Please, however, feel free to link from your website to

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7 Responses to Northgate Presentation & New-old Photographs

  1. nailhed says:

    Love the view from the gazebo! you can actually see Storm King

  2. Richard Cunningham says:

    Awesome stuff. Nice to see it as it was.

    • HV-Rob says:

      Thanks guys! Yes, the views of the river, of Storm King, and of Breakneck were amazing.

      I forgot to mention that we are doing another cleanup effort on Saturday August 25 in the morning. If anyone can offer help via raking/weeding/chainsawing/etc, please email me.

  3. Tom says:

    I cannot get over how great these photos are! So exciting.

    • HV-Rob says:

      I cannot get over how real these photos are. I keep thinking these are realistic-looking paintings that someone imagined the estate to look like.

  4. Mary F says:

    I was up there the other day with my husband and daughter and we were just amazed at the beauty of the ruins. We could count at least 9 fireplaces that were dotted up and down the chimneys. What a magnificent home it must have been! Would be so nice to see it restored or at least stabilized…what a shame it was destroyed by fire.

  5. Greg Millere says:

    Currently (8/4/17), tree companies are clearing all of the trees on 9-d below the estate. Now visible are the remains of what must have been magnificent granite stone walls along the highway. Are there photographs of the highway when the walls were intact? Just curious. One of my favorite locations in Cold Spring.
    Thank you

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