Rokeby (Barrytown, New York)

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SOUTHWEST FRONT, LOOKING NORTHEAST - La Bergerie, River Road, Barrytown, Dutchess County, NY HABS NY,14-BARTO.V,2-9.tif
Rokeby (Barrytown, New York) is located in New York
Rokeby (Barrytown, New York)
Rokeby (Barrytown, New York) is located in the US
Rokeby (Barrytown, New York)
Location S of Barrytown between Hudson River and River Rd., Barrytown, New York
Coordinates 41°59′16″N 73°55′28″W / 41.98778°N 73.92444°W / 41.98778; -73.92444Coordinates: 41°59′16″N 73°55′28″W / 41.98778°N 73.92444°W / 41.98778; -73.92444
Area 437 acres (177 ha)
Built 1811
NRHP Reference # 75001181[1]
Added to NRHP March 26, 1975

Rokeby, also known as La Bergerie, is a historic estate and federally recognized historic district located at Barrytown in Dutchess County, New York. It includes seven contributing buildings and one contributing structures.


The original section of the main house was built 1811–1815. Construction was interrupted by the War of 1812 when John Armstrong Jr. (1758-1843), the owner, served as a Brigadier General and later as US Secretary of War. Evidence suggests that the overall plan was designed by Armstrong himself.[2] It started as a rectangular, 2-story structure with a hipped roof topped by a square, pyramidal-roofed cupola. It features a Palladian window. A 1 12-story addition constructed of fieldstone was built about 1816.

Palladian window, southeast facade.

The property was subsequently acquired by William Backhouse Astor, Sr. (1795–1875), who enlarged the house in the mid-19th century, in brick with brownstone trim, with a semi-octagonal tower on the west side, a north wing, and a third floor throughout the building. The last major addition occurred in 1895 when Stanford White enlarged the west drawing room.[3]

The landscaping was improved about 1840 and in 1911 by the Olmsted Brothers. The property also includes a pair of clapboarded wood-frame barns, additional stables (built about 1850 and destroyed by fire), greenhouse (converted to a garage in 1910, then to a residence in 1965), the square brick gardener's cottage, and a 1 12-story gatehouse. Additionally, there is a brick stable designed by McKim, Mead & White, and a private docking facility.[4]


John Armstrong Jr. lived at Rokeby following his retirement in 1814 until his death at home in 1843, and is buried in the cemetery in Rhinebeck.

The house was later home to the Astor Orphans, the children of John Winthrop Chanler (1826-1877) and his wife Margaret Astor Ward (1838-1875), both of whom died of pneumonia at La Bergerie. They left instructions that their ten children were to be raised at Rokeby. Most of them grew up to become well known in politics or the arts.[5] They included:

In 2013, former resident and Astor heiress Alexandra Aldrich (great-granddaughter of Margaret Livingston Chanler) published The Astor Orphan, a memoir set at Rokeby.[10]

The house is currently the home to various artists and writers, including Processional Arts Workshop.[3]

Heritage significance[edit]

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.[1]


Photos of La Bergerie by Mark Zeek, 1979.


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ John Poppeliers (1973) "La Bergerie/Rokeby, River Road, Barrytown Vicinity, Dutchess County, New York: Photographs, Historical & Descriptive Data; Historic American Buildings Survey, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C.
  3. ^ a b Penelope Green, Who Lives There: The House Inherited Them, The New York Times, July 21, 2010
  4. ^ Lynn A. Beebe (July 1974). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Rokeby". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2010-10-24.  See also: "Accompanying three photos". 
  5. ^ Thomas, Lately. The Astor Orphans: A Pride of Lions, W. Morrow, 1971. ISBN 1881324036
  6. ^ Donna M. Lucey, Archie and Amélie: Love and Madness in the Gilded Age. New York: Harmony Books, 2007. ISBN 1-4000-4852-4.
  7. ^ Rice, Wallace, editor. Heroic Deeds in Our War with Spain: An Episodic History of the Fighting of 1898 on Sea and Shore, G.M. Hill, 1898.
  8. ^ "FIGHTING FILIBUSTERS; Expedition to Cuba Has Several Brushes with Spaniards. GEN. NUNEZ'S BROTHER KILLED Winthrop Chanler of New York and Five Cubans Wounded. Guns of the Peoria Do Great Execution Among the Enemy; Two Shiploads of Supplies for the Insurgents Landed." New York Times, July 14 1898.
  9. ^ "Margaret Astor Chanler, Heroine of Porto Rico," Milwaukee Journal, Sept 8, 1898, p. 5.
  10. ^ The Astor Orphan: A Memoir , Publishers Weekly, 12/24/2012