Jordanville, New York

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Settlement sign for Jordanville, NY.

Jordanville is a hamlet in the town of Warren, Herkimer County, New York. Jordanville is in the northwest part of Warren, at the intersection of New York State Route 167 and County Route 155. The community was settled before 1791. It derives its name from nearby Ocquionis Creek, which was used by settlers for baptisms and thus likened to the Jordan River.[1]

Gelston Castle[edit]

This castle, with stone sourced from Little Falls, New York, was built in 1836 by Harriet Douglas Cruger. She had been inspired by Gelson Castle, owned by her uncle in Scotland, which she visited while traveling as a young woman. Harriet Douglas was described as an independent and eccentric woman, who had her marriage bed sawed in half and used as two couches after an acrimonious divorce. She was profiled in Miss Douglas of New York, a book written by Angus Davidson in 1953.[citation needed]

The property passed to her niece Fanny Robinson, daughter of Harriet's sister Elizabeth Mary Douglas and James Monroe, nephew of President James Monroe. Fanny Robinson left the castle to her son Douglas Robinson, who married Corrine Roosevelt, the sister of President Theodore Roosevelt. Their eldest son, Theodore Douglas Robinson, married Helen Roosevelt, a half-niece of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Helen Roosevelt Robinson was the last family member to live in the house, passing away on July 8, 1962.

After Helen Roosevelt Robinson died, her grandson, Douglas Robinson Jr., sold the property to Jan Blair of New Jersey, who operated a retirement home on the premises. She sold the property to the Asian Conservation Laboratory in 1974, who subsequently sold the property to Frances Kudla, who operated a retirement home there. Mrs. Kudla sold the property in 1979 to Mstislav Rostropovich, the Russian cellist and later musical director and conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra (United States). He and his wife, the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, constructed a million dollar 8,300 sq ft (770 m2) contemporary residence on the sprawling estate grounds, yards from the castle, in 1983.

The castle, largely unoccupied for most the second half of the 20th Century, fell into a state of complete disrepair with almost all of the structure now collapsed. After Rostropovich left the United States for Russia in the late 1990s, the whole estate was marketed for most of the 2000–2007 time frame as Gelston Manor. While the property amassed by Rostropovich was parceled off in 2006–2007 the castle has continued to be visited by Herkimer County Historical Society in recent years. That organization has held an annual "Weekend at Gelston Castle".[citation needed]

In 2007, Gelston Castle was purchased along with the Rostropovich Mansion and 330 acres (1.3 km2) by the Safflyn Corporation, an environmental development corporation that works with companies and individuals on reducing their carbon footprint, integrating renewable energy sources, promoting environmentally safe products, and lowering the bottom line for consumption of non-renewable resources. The Rostropovich Mansion has been renovated to be a "Green Building" and now operates as a Wedding and Event Performance Center called Chateau Safflyn. The Castle continues to remain a historical attraction and the property is open for tours on a limited schedule.[citation needed]

Holy Trinity Monastery[edit]

The Holy Trinity Monastery for men (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia - ROCOR, a jurisdiction within the Russian Orthodox Church) is located one mile (1.6 km) north of Jordanville. This monastery, which was founded in 1928, includes a cathedral, bell tower, and a seminary. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.[2]

Other historic buildings[edit]

The Jordanville Public Library was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and the Blatchley House near Jordanville in 2008.[3]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Brubaker, John H. (2002). Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 3. 
  2. ^ "National Register of Historic Places". WEEKLY LIST OF ACTIONS TAKEN ON PROPERTIES: 7/05/11 THROUGH 7/08/11. National Park Service. 2011-07-15. 
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  4. ^ "New Mexico Governor William Calhoun McDonald". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 8, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°54′53″N 74°57′06″W / 42.91472°N 74.95167°W / 42.91472; -74.95167