Barrytown, New York
Barrytown is a hamlet within the town of Red Hook in Dutchess County, New York, United States. It is within the Hudson River Historic District, a National Historic Landmark, and comprises four of the Hudson River Valley estates: Edgewater, Messina, Rokeby, and Sylvania. The Messina Property, at the northern sector of the hamlet was purchased in 1929 by the New York District of the Roman Catholic religious institute, the Brothers of the Christian Schools, who established on that site the St. Joseph's Normal Institute as a teacher training facility for their Junior and Senior Novices. In 1975 the property was bought by the Unification Church, where its Unification Theological Seminary is located. The majority of the houses in Barrytown were built in the mid to late nineteenth century, often with the purpose to house workers at the local estates and accompanying farms. Barrytown was named in honor of President Andrew Jackson's Postmaster General, William Taylor Barry, who served in that capacity from 1829 to 1835.
Cultural references and current activity
- In the song "Barrytown" recorded by Steely Dan on the 1974 album Pretzel Logic, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, Steely Dan's leaders and songwriters, are alumni of nearby Bard College, The lyrics, although not referencing the Unification Church directly, describe an encounter with a Church member and the songwriters' reaction to the Church member's proselytizing methods.
- Barrytown is directly linked to the Livingston family, the Roosevelt family, the Astor family, and the Rockefeller family, all having long ties and common relationships to Barrytown.
- John D Rockefeller bought the historical Barrytown Massena estate in 1929 as part of a land exchange deal with the De La Salle Christian Brothers church of the Magdalene which owned property adjacent to the Rockefeller estate in Tarrytown. On the historical Massena property, Rockefeller built a large Novitiate school complex for the Christian Brothers named the Saint Joseph Normal Institute. The school eventually closed this location and in 1975 sold the property to the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity which opened a theological seminary in September 1975.
- The Astor family resided at Rokeby Estate during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The so-called "Astor Orphans", the children of John Winthrop Chanler (1826-1877) and his wife Margaret Astor Ward (1838-1875), included politicians, artists, soldiers and philanthropists.
- Key early works of artist Gary Hill were created while living on Station Hill Road (1977-1984), initially as a tenant of artist/poet George Quasha and artist Susan Quasha, where Hill's award-winning works were filmed in their Stained Glass Studio: Why Do Things Get in a Muddle? (Come On Petunia) (1984) and, returning to Barrytown, collaborating with poets George Quasha and Charles Stein, Tale Enclosure (1985) and Figuring Grounds (1985/2008): works viewable at Gary Hill Video.
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