(As written ca. 2000)
Luckily this building is still in fairly good shape on the outside. Most of the basement entrances are boarded up, and most ground floor accessible windows are boarded up as well. That’s nice, as it will deter most folks from trying to get in, and more importantly, keep out the weather. But unfortunately the current owner seems more interested in keeping people out than protecting the building from the elements. This building is obviously in good shape and poses no danger to anyone who would walk inside. There is vandalism inside, most of the offending damage being done to the many windows in the building. But the broken windows on the upper floors aren’t being replaced or boarded up. Keeping the rain out of these floors is the most important thing about preserving this building. But the current owner must not think so. If the company can tear the building down and build homes, they’ll be just as happy.
Foreshadowing the key of constructing megamalls today, Briarcliff Lodge is a rambling building, full of angles and extensions. The point is to not let a person know how far they have to walk to get to the other side. Otherwise, a person will complain about how far a walk it is when they see the distance to the other end. (Although this factor is probably more due to the siting of the building, and its having been built in stages). But unlike the boxes being built today, the roofline at Briarcliff Lodge is in the pointed style, full of dormers and gables. This style is a personal favorite, as opposed to some of the more classical designs being constructed at the same time as the Lodge.
The Lodge has four floors, and features a seven floor wing in the rear. The rear wing was added in 1912, and underwent interior renovation in the early 1980s. The north wing was also an addition, but dating to the days of the original hotel. All in all, the Lodge features approximately 225 rooms, plus 132 bathrooms, many more closets, approximately 49 fireplaces, and 2 elevators, one of which is strangely frozen between floors.
The main front of the building is the east side. The porte cochere was once connected to a balustrade walkway, but that has disappeared. The first floor features brick construction on a stone foundation. The first and second floors are flush with the exterior wall, and the roofline slopes up from there. The third and fourth floors have many dormer windows, although there are gables on the west and east side that are four floors. On the east side is a port cochere and a one floor projection known as the “Oak Room.” The south end of the building once had a pergola, but that was enclosed, and a modern library was added next to it. Next to the library is water tower maintained by the Briarcliff Department of Public Works. Also of note is a small concrete shelter east of the Lodge, buried in the hillside. Today it is surmounted by a metal railing, with benches nearby (and a few old bicycles laying about), but in the days of the Lodge, this bunker was actually the first tee of the golf course.
Of special note is the proliferation of wildlife at the campus since The King’s College has closed. Being at one of the higher points in the area, the campus must have been home to hawks for a long time. Today they nest above the water tower, next to the cellular phone antennae, and swoop just a few feet above the head of a visitor walking up the fire escape at the south end of the Lodge. A sharp scream lets the visitor know whose territory he is in. Turkeys have been seen in groups, wandering about the hillside below the Lodge. The campus can be quite a peaceful and beautiful place, despite the sad and neglectful conditions of the buildings.
All photographs taken February 9, 2000.
The abandoned guardhouse and south entrance gate.
"The King's College" has been blacked out with spray paint on the sign at left.
Briarcliff Lodge, east front showing porte cochere.
Briarcliff Lodge, at the north end.
Briarcliff Lodge. This one floor extension on the east side contains the "Oak Room."
Briarcliff Lodge, showing the 1912 addition (men's dorms) on the west front.
Briarcliff Lodge, gable on west front.
Briarcliff Lodge, west front.
Briarcliff Lodge, west front. Broken windows in the "Game Room."
Briarcliff Lodge, west front, north wing.
Gallery 2 - For interior photos of Briarcliff Lodge.
The Briarcliff Lodge book
Yaz’ Hudson Valley Ruins and Abandoned Buildings, etc.
This page copyright © 2000 by Robert J.Yasinsac.
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