Scarborough Historic District

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Scarborough Historic District
A three-story beige Renaissance Revival mansion
Street map showing district boundaries
Map of the Scarborough Historic District
Location U.S. Route 9, Briarcliff Manor, New York
Coordinates 41°7′45″N 73°51′22″W / 41.12917°N 73.85611°W / 41.12917; -73.85611Coordinates: 41°7′45″N 73°51′22″W / 41.12917°N 73.85611°W / 41.12917; -73.85611
Area 376 acres (152 ha)
Built 1770
Architect Multiple; McKim, Mead & White
Architectural style Mid-19th Century Revival, Late Victorian
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 84003433[1]
Added to NRHP September 7, 1984

The Scarborough Historic District is a national historic district located in the suburban community of Scarborough-on-Hudson, in Briarcliff Manor, New York. The 376-acre (152 ha) district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, and contains seven historically and architecturally significant properties dating from the late 18th century to the early 20th century. Most of the properties are domestic, or used for education or religion. The most common architectural styles within the district are Mid-19th Century Revival and Late Victorian.


An old street and property map
1914 map of all district properties or their present locations except Sparta Cemetery

The 376-acre (152 ha) district contains 26 contributing buildings, two contributing sites, and one contributing structure. They are associated with three estates, a school complex, a pre-Revolutionary War cemetery, and two religious properties. They include Beechwood, The Clear View School, Rosemont, Saint Mary's Episcopal Church, Scarborough Presbyterian Church, Sleepy Hollow Country Club, and Sparta Cemetery.[2][3] All properties stand in much the same condition as when first nominated, except Rosemont, which was demolished in the mid- to late-1980s.

The district has distinctive examples of popular American Revival-style architecture, including Greek, Gothic, Renaissance, and Neoclassical styles. The properties' formal landscape reflects extensive turn-of-the-century estate development. The historic and architecturally significant properties are primarily the result of a small group of prominent local land owners, many of whom established country seats and churches along the Albany Post Road (now U.S. Route 9) in Scarborough. The district, which remains generally rural and sparsely developed, borders the Hudson River and lies within the towns of Ossining and Mount Pleasant, between the villages of Ossining and Sleepy Hollow.[2]

Most of the district's buildings are set on large parcels of land, and many are clearly visible from Route 9, the district's major thoroughfare. Stone and brick walls line Route 9 within the boundaries of the district. The district achieved State Register status on August 6, 1984, National Register district status on September 7, 1984, and local landmark status on January 5, 1988.[1][2]


Part of a large white house

Beechwood is an estate built in the late 1700s and notably the home of Frank A. Vanderlip and his family. The mansion has gone through a number of expansions and renovations; the most recent involved dividing the mansion into three segments for use as condominiums. Beechwood is known for being a filming location of the 1970 film House of Dark Shadows,[4] and a filming location and the primary setting of Savages, a 1972 Merchant Ivory film.[5][6]

Robertson designed the expansions in the Colonial Revival style, to be compatible with the neoclassical Federal style of the original but more ornate.[7]

The Clear View School[edit]

A two-story white Neoclassical school building
Vanderlip Hall

The Clear View School was built in 1917 by Frank Vanderlip on his Beechwood property as the Scarborough School, the first Montessori school in the United States. In 1978, the school closed; The Clear View School purchased the property in 1980 and opened in 1981.[8] It runs a day treatment program for 83 students.[9]


A white Neoclassical mansion surrounded by trees

Rosemont, also known by the names Scarborough House and Hillside, was a mansion built around 1840. Rosemont was John Lorimer Worden's birthplace. It was later known as Scarborough House of Stein and Day, and was demolished some time after 1985.[10]

The mansion was used by Frank Vanderlip as a dormitory for Scarborough School boarding students. Rosemont stood opposite Vanderlip's Beechwood, at the corner of Route 9 and Scarborough Road.[8]

Saint Mary's Episcopal Church[edit]

A Gothic church of stone
Saint Mary's

Saint Mary's Episcopal Church, founded in 1839 by William Creighton and incorporated in 1883 as Saint Mary's Church, Beechwood, is Briarcliff Manor's oldest church; it was reincorporated in 1945 as Saint Mary's Church of Scarborough. Its first service was in 1839 in a small schoolhouse on an acre of Creighton's Beechwood property, at the corner of Albany Post and Sleepy Hollow Roads. It was led by Creighton's son-in-law Reverend Edward Nathaniel Meade.[11]

The granite church was built in 1850 by local stonemasons and paid for primarily by Creighton and Meade,[11] but also by Creighton's wealthy neighbors, including Commodore Matthew Perry, James Watson Webb, William Aspinwall, and Ambrose Kingsland.[8][12] The first services there were held on September 21, 1851. The church is in near-original condition, with a design based on the 14th-century Gothic St. Mary's parish church in Scarborough, England and is the only church with a complete set of John Bolton (brother of William Jay Bolton) stained-glass windows.[11]

The church's rectory was built in 1931 as a memorial to its first two rectors Creighton and Meade. Notable parishioners included Commodore Matthew C. Perry and Washington Irving. Irving, author of "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", brought and planted the ivy surrounding the church. He had received it from Walter Scott, from Abbotsford. The ivy of the parish house was brought from the Argonne battlefield, after World War I, by Narcissa Vanderlip.[11] The 200-acre-plus (81 ha) Sleepy Hollow Country Club surrounds the church grounds on three sides.[13]

Scarborough Presbyterian Church[edit]

A church with a tall bell tower
Scarborough Presbyterian

The Scarborough Presbyterian Church congregation was founded on October 13, 1893 in a temporary chapel established by Woodlea owner Colonel Elliot Fitch Shepard.[14] The chapel was at the church's current location, and the first meeting had nineteen charter members. The church building and manse were donated by his wife Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt Shepard. It was dedicated on May 11, 1895 in memory of the Colonel, who had died in 1893.[15](p165) It was the first church in the United States with an electric organ.[16] The Spanish Renaissance-style church was completed in 1895 and designed by Augustus Haydel (a nephew of Stanford White) and August D. Shepard (a nephew of Elliot Shepard and of William Rutherford Mead).[15] It was built of pink granite rubble with limestone trim, with a steeple supported by flying buttresses. The interior has fluted pilasters with gilded capitals, a coffered ceiling made of redwood, and stained-glass windows.[15](p165) The two nephews later designed the 1899 Fabbri Mansion in Manhattan.[11] The 3-acre (1.2 ha) church property also contains the church's carriage house, used for offices, and the parish house.[13][17]

Sleepy Hollow Country Club[edit]

A three-story beige Renaissance Revival mansion
Woodlea at Sleepy Hollow Country Club

Sleepy Hollow Country Club was founded in 1911. The main building of Sleepy Hollow Country Club was known as Woodlea, the 140-room $2 million ($52.5 million today[18]) mansion of Colonel and Mrs. Shepard.[11] The building, with Beaux-Arts and Georgian Revival features, was designed by McKim, Mead & White and built from 1892 to 1895.[16][19] In 1910, Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt Shepard sold the estate to Frank A. Vanderlip and William Rockefeller, who converted it into a country club. Current members include Bill Murray, James Patterson, and several members of the Rockefeller family.[20]

Sparta Cemetery[edit]

The cemetery is a burying ground dating to 1764, making it the oldest cemetery in Westchester County. It is the only contributing property outside of Briarcliff Manor; the Ossining Historical Society has maintained the cemetery since 1984. The grounds are about 2 acres (8,100 m2) and hold 34 known Revolutionary War veterans.[21] Many of the area's earliest residents are buried in the cemetery.[12]

In September 1780, the HMS Vulture fired a cannonball into the gravestone of Abraham Ladew, Jr., who died in 1774, at the age of 7 years.[22] The Vulture was traveling south from Croton Point to pick up Major John André, a rendezvous that never occurred; Andre was captured in Tarrytown on his way to the vessel.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b c "Historic Properties Listing". Westchester County Historical Society. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 
  3. ^ Austin O'Brien (August 1984). "National Register of Historic Places Registration:Scarborough Historic District". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2010-12-24.  See also: "Accompanying 64 photos". 
  4. ^ Stafford, Jeff. "House of Dark Shadows". Turner Classic Movies. Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ Ivory, James (1973). Savages, Shakespeare Wallah: Two Films by James Ivory (1st ed.). New York: Plexus Publishing Ltd. pp. 7–9. ISBN 0-394-17799-1. OCLC 810779012. Retrieved July 14, 2014. 
  6. ^ Madsen, Krista (February 19, 2014). "Movies Made Here: Recapping the Reviews of 2011". Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow Patch. Retrieved July 14, 2014. 
  7. ^ Williams, Gray (2003). Picturing Our Past: National Register Sites in Westchester County. Elmsford, New York: Westchester County Historical Society. ISBN 0-915585-14-6. OCLC 53180357. 
  8. ^ a b c Cheever, Mary (1990). The Changing Landscape: A History of Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough. West Kennebunk, Maine: Phoenix Publishing. ISBN 0-914659-49-9. LCCN 90045613. OCLC 22274920. OL 1884671M. 
  9. ^ Klein, Alvin (June 17, 1984). "A Small Playhouse Is Returned To Use". The New York Times. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  10. ^ Bryant, Nelson (June 9, 1985). "Outdoors; Worth the Work". The New York Times. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Our Village: Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. 1902 to 1952. Historical Committee of the Semi–Centennial. 1952. 
  12. ^ a b Brenner, Elsa (June 30, 2002). "If You're Thinking of Living In/Scarborough; Where Plutocrats Enjoyed a River View". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination form - Scarborough Historic District". National Park Service. United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  14. ^ Pattison, Robert (1939). A History of Briarcliff Manor. William Rayburn. OCLC 39333547. 
  15. ^ a b c Foreman, John; Stimson, Robbe Pierce (May 1991). The Vanderbilts and the Gilded Age: Architectural Aspirations, 1879-1901 (1st ed. ed.). New York, New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 159. ISBN 0-312-05984-1. LCCN 90027083. OCLC 22957281. 
  16. ^ a b Gelard, Donna (2002). Explore Briarcliff Manor: A driving tour. Contributing Editor Elsie Smith; layout and typography by Lorraine Gelard; map, illustrations, and calligraphy by Allison Krasner. Briarcliff Manor Centennial Committee. 
  17. ^ "The History of Scarborough Presbyterian Church". Scarborough Presbyterian Church. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  18. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  19. ^ "Our Village: a family place for more than a century". Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  20. ^ Rogers, Paul (August 7, 2011). "Carrying the Clubs, and Using Them". The New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b Reynolds, William Joseph (June 4, 2011). "Ossining's Sparta Cemetery, Rich in History". Ossining Daily Voice. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  22. ^ Scharf, John Thomas (1886). History of Westchester County, New York... 2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: L. E. Preston & Co. p. 337. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 

External links[edit]