Shadyside, Tarrytown

Up the hill from where I grew up in Tarrytown was an old estate whose mansion was demolished about 1980. The property was left undeveloped and it reverted to woods, though traces of the estate could still be found. Actually my entire neighborhood was surrounded by old estates, all which left some kinds of ruins. That’s how I got into this hobby, having first explored these properties in the 1990s.

Scott Periodicals. Magazines to the Trade:
Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, and Water Systems. Martling Ave.
Tarrytown Centennial 1870-1970

A few of these old estates are now being redeveloped, now thirty-forty years later. This week I saw for the first time that work is occurring at the Tarrytown estate known as Shadyside (perhaps a play on the name of the nearby home of celebrated author Washington Irving). The mansion was a 22-room brick structure built in 1875 by E. C. Spofford. It went through several different owners throughout the 1900s, eventually ending up with a publishing company who set up offices inside the old house. It seemed to be in great condition as recently as 1970, but the house was gone a decade later, and not even replaced by anything.

Although the mansion disappeared, estate remnants survived including two cold frames (low greenhouse-like structures) and these gate pillars. Gate pillars for the old estates often remain, though sometimes they are repositioned or repurposed. So far, these pillars have been left in place, as have the Broadway entrance pillars which now serve an apartment complex on what had been the estate’s front lawn.

These gate pillars can still be viewed from Martling Avenue.

As much as I like exploring abandoned buildings, I also enjoy exploring the sites where something once was. Although it may first appear that “nothing remains”, these abandoned properties have left behind plenty of treasures for those who look.

Looking uphill along the brick-lined estate drive.

The estate drive is not the least bit overgrown and pachysandra has kept neat borders near the house site.

THis interesting site is an old tree near what was the northwest corner of the house site. Blocks of stone inside this tree, perhaps placed in more recent times to prop up an older but favored landscape element. Also one long metal rod extends, horizontal to the ground, at top and two smaller rods protrude from the blocks in the middle of the tree.

A close up view of the blocks.

Although the old houses are long gone, I still find it sad to see the woods, and the relics they contain, be destroyed for new projects. Usually it is for houses, but the Shadyside property is being developed for office buildings and the woods have already been cleared and new roads are being put through.

This was behind the mansion. Once it was probably gardens and service buildings. I remember that there were two cold frames back here.

The orange snow fencing marks the old tree visible in the historic image of the house, at page top. I guess that tree, at least, will be saved, though a new road has been cut pretty close to its root system.

It had been quite a while since I explored Shadyside, since I don’t live in Tarrytown anymore, but for so long I counted on it to always be there. Now it too will be erased. To the sounds of birds, I walked down the estate drive, still lined by bricks, through the gate pillars, back to “civilization.”

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9 Responses to Shadyside, Tarrytown

  1. Rebecca Elise says:

    Great post Rob. I grew up in Chappaqua and my first experience was similar. My mom took my brother and I for a walk along Route 172 by Fox Lane high school near Sarles road at a nature center. Suddenly a massive abandoned mansion appeared half decayed but beautiful and glorious. I was maybe 7 or 10 years old and from that moment on I was obsessed with abandoned buildings and as you said, sites that contained remnants of abandoned buildings. I am sure in my various local travels I also visited Tarrytown area old homes sites. I always enjoy your posts and this blog.

    • HV-Rob says:

      Thanks Rebecca! I would be interested to know more about the abandoned house that was at Sarles Road. That street has some impressive houses today!

  2. Rebecca Elise says:

    Rob that house which I mentioned is long gone (in subsequent years when we walked at that nature center it was demolished). The driveway still exists although it’s been well over a decade (or more) that I have even walked in that area. The location was very close to Fox Lane high school and adjacent to Sarles road. There is a small nature center right off Route 172. My memory of the abandoned house could be from 1987 or so. The driveway remained for years. Definitely as late as the early and mid 2000s the old posts at the foot of the driveway as it came down to route 172 existed. For all I know a new home exists on this old plot of land. I have several areas that I explored closer to Tarrytown in the late 1990s of abandoned homes. I bet some of those areas overlap with some of the ones you’re familiar with. It was nice this morning to reminisce on this. :-)

  3. Rebecca Elise says:

    Sorry meant to say parking for the overall area was at the nature center which was off Route 172. The abandoned home was adjacent to the nature trails. Sandwiched between Sarles road and the nature trails. Anyway have a good day. :-)

  4. Richard P. Cunningham says:

    Great post. I wish I could have been there before the construction. Some intriguing artifacts.

  5. Etienne says:

    Great post! Very interresting.

    Rob, are you familiar with Worthington Estate Area too? I live here now and there are some ruins too.

  6. David Rose says:

    Rob, I live in Gracemere and I’m hungering for more historic photos of the house I live in as well as the other three Browning daughters homes. I also may have more information for you about Gracemere and the Brownings. Would love to share with you. Please contact me.

  7. Sarah J Williams says:

    My father grew up in that house, and yes you are right: my grandfather named it as a little joke against Washington Irving.

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