Tioronda demolitions, Beacon, NY

For the last couple of months, demolition has been occurring at the Tioronda Hat Works on the Fishkill Creek in Beacon. The c. 1879 mill became a warehouse in 1949 and was purchased by real estate developer William Ehrlich and his company Beacon Terminal Associates in the late 1990s. I’m not certain what will happen to the site in the immediate future. Ehrlich had seemed intent on creating an artists’ haven in Beacon, but properties such as the Beacon Theater and the “Roundhouse” remained vacant until other developers took over the sites much more recently.

Tioronda Hat Works, from the demolished Tioronda Bridge. Ca. 2005 or earlier.



Tioronda Hat Works, October 24, 2011.

Photograph by Matthew Kierstead.

Click here for more photos of the mill from 2005 and 2007.

Across the creek and uphill is the Tioronda estate. Frederick Clarke Withers designed the house, built in 1859, for Joseph and Eliza Howland. Richard Morris Hunt designed an addition built in 1872.

Tioronda mansion, April 2011.

It seems that in 1911, the estate became property of the University Settlement, a social services program for immigrants and low-income families, which later kept land east of present-day Route 9D while the mansion and primary estate grounds became Craig House Sanitarium, a private psychiatric hospital founded By Dr. C. Jonathan Slocum in 1915.

An institution known as the Putnam Center acquired the estate in the 1990s and closed down just a few years later. A 2003 auction emptied the house of its fine furnishings and antiques. Investor and art collector John L. Stewart bought Tioronda that same year and in this time the property has remained disused. Stewart’s company Tioronda, LLC, plans a “small residential development” on the estate. The mansion will be a single-family residence. In October 2011, two buildings, the carriage house and a workshop, were demolished.

Tioronda carriage house, April 11. Demolished October 2011.



Craft shop, April 2011. Demolished October 2011.

BONUS: “The dam fool.”
While conducting research for Hudson Valley Ruins, the book and the website, we’d often find accounts of accidents, mishaps, murders, and unusual occurrences related to our subject buildings and the people who occupied them. These vignettes as they may be, didn’t further the topics of history, architecture and re-use of buildings, but on their own might make an interesting collection of stories. One article that came up in a search on mills in Beacon was a 1925 New York Times piece entitled “Had to Drown Him, Says Hold-Up Note.” Mr. Isadore Weiss, president of the Weiss Straw Hat Works in Beacon, left his New York City home on a February morning with $1,500 dollars to pay the employees of his factory. Seems he never made it home but his wife did receive a note stating “We have been waiting for the payroll for the last three weeks. The dam fool put up a fight and we had to throw him in the river.”

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7 Responses to Tioronda demolitions, Beacon, NY

  1. Ric Ronveaux says:

    I was a close friend of Julie and Jack Slocum, brother and sister, Julie was my first love. The family lived on the estate then. A very special time. Any info how to find them would be very appreciated.

  2. BarneyFyfe says:

    Major fire at the Craig House on March 20, 2013.

  3. Linda Raymond says:

    Hi Rob!
    I met you through volunteering at Bannerman Island. Any new information on what is in store for main house at Tioranda? I would personally love to see that whole “hospital” building removed and the home restored to her former glory!

  4. I was hoping someone has pictures of the inside of the Tioronda Carriage house went to go take a peek at it a couple weeks ago and it was gone … very sad.. need ideas for my second story of my garage. thanks
    WRErichson.Const@yahoo.com
    Bill Erichson

  5. max says:

    I’m interested to contact the owner/s of Tioronda
    Without deal with any Real estate agent.

  6. D.R. says:

    I worked at Craig House, during its last days at a psychiatric hospital. I worked second shift at my position. I also worked weekends. I actually meant Peter Fonda who wanted to take pictures of the estate. Peter and Jane Fonda’s Mother, was rumored to have committed suicide by hanging herself from the balcony that overlooked the music room, across from the built in pipe organ. While in my office on the first floor there were many nights I would hear walking on the second floor,also the sounds of a rocking chair. When I would investigate there were no personnel on either the second floor or third floor. The hall ways on the second and third floor had sections of reinforced glass to allow light to pass thru so all floors of the hall could be better monitored.
    I was told about a very wealthy, New York Shipping magnates wife that also took her own life on the second floor. Jackie Gleason had donated a large pool table to the recreation room. On the first floor there was a room called the pub room. From my understanding liquor was served there in step down doses to detox alcoholics, before there were medications available for detox.

    Along with Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Gleason, Truman Capote, there were many other very rich clientele. I was told during the 1970′s and the Water Gate Scandal, Martha Mitchell was a guest held in one of the out cottages, just before her death from cancer.

    During the period from 1957 to 1960 the Kennedy Daughter which had the lobotomy was housed in the small cottage on South Avenue, not far from Doctor Slocum’s home for treatment from time to time. Neighbors along South Avenue would see up to three black Cadillac limos drive past their homes and park in front of the cottage. The last I knew it was sold to a private party, but still had the original bars on the windows. Some of the old staff wold tell stories of how Truman Capote would get out of a second floor window of the main house, via a thick metal drain pipe and walk the White House Bar and Hotel. Marilyn Monroe also used to attend sessions at Moreno’s Psycho Drama Work Shop, which was also another estate that was located exactly where the River Knowles housing development is now built. In fact the original pillars to the gate were used at its entrance.

    I am glad to hear the hat factory was being torn down. During the 1950′s & 1960′s the building was leased by chemical rubber, now (Chem-Prene) which moved to Fishkill Avenue. across from Grove Mills. There was a lot of chemical waste dumped straight in to the fishkill creek by both chemical rubber and the former tuck tape factory, not to mention the Texaco Labs. I know a lot of people that worked at chemical rubber back in the day, who contracted various forms of cancer. When we were children we would cut thru there and you could see the open pits across from the parking lots filled with chemical drums and bottles. You could not stand the smell that came out of that place when it was in operation. As a teen when I was able to drive, thru there all those pits covered over and over grown. I hope no one still fishes there.

    There were so many large estates in that area, and down near dutchess junction that went to ruins. including one that burned down in on September 1st, 1960. If you are headed to cold spring and pass the old copper quarter bar, which is on the right, the drive way to the estate is located on the left about one half mile past the bar. I don’t know who lived there but the house was an exactly duplicate of Dutchess Manor minus the new wing. I remember it burned on the day sister got married. Her wedding reception was being held at Dutchess Manor and there was a traffic back up due to the fire. I remember it so well because my mom and dad had bought a 1960 Chrysler Imperial Le baron, it was the first car we had with air conditioning. My dad locked the power windows out because I was intent on opening the window to hear what the fire men were talking about.

    The Ebert estate on South Avenue went to ruins and was set on fire. The estate was called Rose-neath. A friend of mine has pictures of the home when it was in its hey-day. What views of the Hudson River, the lawn was cut all the way down from the house to the rock wall on south avenue. Last I knew there was still a gate house left.
    I’d like to go back in time just to see all the homes in their original condition, and the trolley car that ran from the ferry on the Hudson River up to bottom of mount Beacon.

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