Comments Posted by pat ratchet

strolled across the front lawn early last night...

much of the rest of Halcyon's foundation walls have been cleared away of brush and
overgrowth now. Very stark looking, but revealing.All windows accessible from the
ground floors,and a bit above,have been sealed with plywood. That is a whole lotta
windows. It does emphasize the interesting fenestration throughout, though.
It seems they are serious now about preventing entry. A responsible approach in terms of insurance,code compliance, and demonstration of intention to do things by the book

In some windows it looked like plywood is the only thing holding the window frames together!

contrastingly,i don't think they are so adamant about chasing away onlookers,
photographers, admirers, or flaneurs such as yours truly, with confidence that the site
is now [more] secure from the liability of tresspass.
In any event,i imagine Halcyon Hall as we recognize it has probably seen it's last summer.
Everyone be safe.
ha,ha...those tombstone-like peaks are the architect's signature Flemish gables, which
grace Mohonk Mountain House as well, except carved in stone. considered an
over-the-top affectation by the twentieth century, the college had them removed.

They represented the architect's intentions to introduce European details upon
what was the archetypal English Hall. The Tudor half-timbering was as well overlaid
with Swiss/Germanic motifs,and the East tower was of French derivation. As a pioneer
of the English Queen Anne style in America, the architect sought to trascend Anglo
values even as he was proffering them, with un-subtle hints of classical European

I Always thought they looked like ersatz decorations on a cake,or something.
At this point,your guess seems as accurate as anyone's on the Sub Basement.
I do know the Western Dining wing followed somewhat faithfully to the upper
story,with rooms along a corridor,but not load bearing. Much of this was changed
in 1926, though. So it is all sort of a composite of the different eras.

The support columns were fixed,likely iron, and the floors of concrete.Much of the sub basement has been filled with water for years.
the primary basement was sectioned off originally as a gymnasium and
locker rooms,beneath the front and music room / ballroom section. The
floorplan's outer footprint corresponds to the upper floors, but with load-bearing
structural columns mostly,instead of interior dividing walls. But these were
subdivided a bit as well in the 2oth century, so their is no definitive static floorplan
as it were. Their was fairly continuous renovation and conversion from 1908 onward.

In other news, all of the undergrowth,landscaping,and vegetation has been stripped away from the entire west facade,revealing a view unseen since the 1920's. This area
in front of the ugly 1950's dorm/auditorium addition, will likely be the practical staging area for demo and remediation, providiing access, and least impact upon the
condominium community adjacent.

clearing the brush also makes it harder to enter without detection,enhancing the
ability to patrol the site more effectively. It is a stark reminder of what lays ahead for
Halcyon,but really interesting deconstructively,to me. It also underscores how much
of the west facade is stone.I wonder how much can / will be preserved? It is,like
the front, built into a hillside. It looks a full story taller now!
i'd hazard a guess that further info will be slow in arriving. It will be a year before
Halcyon actually comes down,or more. As the legal dramas conclude, thankfully,or
are made redundant by the sale and progressive development projected for the
campus, things have quieted down. This is going to be a massive undertaking,but will
take some time before it can commence.

In any event, this landmark will be around for viewing another year i'd say.

Celeste,I always wondered what it was like in the guest rooms directly above the
ballroom when it was a hotel. This part of Halcyon is now also caved in, though it
doesn't appear so from the exterior. A shame.

The high chimneys at Halcyon are really amazing. Sixteen in all,they served the more
than 100 fireplaces throughout, with no two mantels the same. The tower wing's
disappeared with the introduction of central heating, and the Dining hall's chimney
met the wrecking ball in 1926 with the Tudor replacement of most of the north wing.
The kitchen's oversized chimney is quite substantial. The entire facade facing east is
practically a stone rampart built into the hillside.I am quite curious how much of this
could be practically reincorporated into the stone "terracing" that will remain,absent
Halcyon's framed upper stories.
From a design perspective it is sure to be an interesting project of re-purposing. It
is heartening to know that this time around,there will be experienced professionals
to undertake the artistic challenges as well as the practicals.
yeah,the wind-down,in reverse, as material fact disappears,reverting back to the footprint, and then finally to idea,on paper. It would have made a hell of a time-lapse film, over
the years.

Celeste,I believe the east tower wing could possibly be preserved in part? Perhaps not.
Conditions vary wildly.But the East Wing, as it does not share a contiguous basement
[hint!] seems spared much of the toxic horror that befell the main building. It is
technically a seperate cottage, for the original hotel caretaker'superintendant, as well
as a Nursery annex for guests children. Much of it's exterior's blight is deceptive,
mostly filled in verandah space that has collapsed, naturally sooner than the original

And what of the plans for the remainder of Halcyon?If the Stonework is to be preserved, which has
been mandated by State decree, then I envision the rampart-like stone foundation
would serve as an attractive terrace, perhaps with the loggia below intact.Chimneys
will come down,naturally.

The vista that will open will be quite flattering to the Colonial Revival Exmoore
mansion that perches on the hill above the sight. It is by the same architect,
almost 30 years after Halcyon Hall,and his final house design in Millbrook. So there is
some symbolic symmetry there that is apropos for the longterm future here.
As well as the 1926 chapel, removal of both sets of ugly dormitories, and conversion to
parkland, I am optimistic about the potential for the campus.

Familiarity with the serpentine map leads me to conclude that this park will be
connected to the village along a hidden strip between Bennett and the golf course,
comprised of the old railroad line. It is this path through the woods,just sitting there,
waiting exactly for this scenario! No view would have to be altered in any way,really.
It terminates exactly at the village green across from the park, restoring the historic
original entrance to the village in a low impact manner.

It has not been announced that this is what will happen, and I have no inside
knowledge specifically that is part of this plan; But i bet you good odds and real
money that that is exactly what is going to happen here! It takes a certain kind of eyes
to read the map this way, but I am certain the principals involved see what is obvious
right beneath their eyes when they survey the map of Millbrook. This is the icing on the cake that links the long, semi -detached Bennet campus to the village at large,in a way
that is suitably ceremonial,yet still largely rural and low key.

If any real estate deal could be termed genius, this it certainly it. Brilliant work,
gentlemen. I applaud this plan wholeheartedly, and especially as an alternative
to the previously planned development[s].
hola amigos. great hearing from all the.. uh... what are we called? Halcyon-ites?
Bennet-ettes? Bennet-etos?

I am still stunned and amazed at the recent news about Halcyon / Bennet, and it's
environs "at large". I am also wildly Wrong about when it will be torn down,and
obviously,[from the drone footage that i have been enjoying and watching till my eyes
roll back in my head] my prediction of heightened security there.

gotta love this drone footage.Going where no man has gone before,kinda.
Drone As Concept terrifies me,like we are in a Tom Cruise movie...[actually,I think we
kind of already ARE all living in a Tom Cruise movie,if you think about it...]

But Drone As Electronic Product /Fun Toy is pretty awesome, and these guys are
all going to the cool places you wanna see,and postin that shit!

But the recent footage walking through the building was fantastic, eerie, I have not
been there inside in SO long.It is so wrecked inside,to the point of abstraction,
you can see through 3-4 floors in some parts of the main west wing,light coming through, rivlets of water,moss everywhere. If people see how internally collapsed
alot of the interior is, you realize the outer frame exterior is the only thing holding any
of it up,and is arguably in much better shape. You kids are all freakin crazy goin in there!
Demo?how about wait about one more year and let the place fall the hell down on itself,
let Gravity Pay to get it all started. Mother Nature is doing a fine job so far.What a wreck.

It's what I would do.
And it's what Millbrook is going to do as well. It will be a year, at least before Halcyon Hall is finally torn down, my rush to remediate being once again shot down in flames;
They keep proving me wrong. Those bastards...

I it's a huger [huge-er? is that a word?]...anyway it's a bigger FR#
huge news for Halcyon Hall....! ! ! !
The Bennett College campus has been sold by Bennett Acquisitions to The Thorne Farm
LLC and the Millbrook Tribute Garden foundation ,"in order to prevent development that
we feel would not be beneficial to our village.'' to quote Oakleigh Thorne. The almost
thirty acre parcel will be partially converted to a park as an addendum of the nearby Tribute Gardens in the village.

Halcyon Hall is to be demolished "in a safe manner,with the hopes of keeping the
stonework intact and create a park-like atmosphere." according to foundation trustee
George Whalen III. The eight seperate parcels will be subsequently developed in
accordance with a "long term plan that makes sense for the community", after
consultation with planning professionals and the input of Millbrook residents.

A demolition firm is to be hired to demolish Halcyon Hall. Also likely to be demolished
is the Harkaway Theater, [originally the 1893 hotel's stable],the two cottages Hale and Hillside House. Likely to be saved is the 1920's Tudor chapel. Plans for the ever-enigmatic Kettering Science Center are uncertain. It could be part of a quasi-commercial
function of parts of the former campus, depending upon the final plans.

I am stunned and amazed at this news. Despite the inevitable loss of most of Halcyon
Hall,it is practically a dream scenario for Millbrook. The now quite dangerous
structures are finally disposed of in as SAFE a manner as possible, a profit-driven
bottom line no longer a requisite to cutting corners in regards to remediation and
abatement. In other words, remedying the environmental hazard that is festering
here IS THE prime directive of this deal,as much as augering appropriate growth in
the village. The village will not be on the hook financially, nor have to destroy
it's entrance with innappropriate development as the price to rid itself of this hulking
real estate golem.
The largeness of the sale perhaps has made it economically feasible. In fact,
the various parcels, neatly fill in the puzzle-piece -like areas surrounding the seperate
condominium complex that has dotted the campus since 1984,as well as the stately
Exmoore mansion. These and surrounding neighbors will surely benefit from this
resolution of a vexing problem for the neighborhood and the village at large.
The real estate community now has a burdensome weight off it's shoulders,as does
the Millbrook Village government.
It must also be viewed as a partial victory for preservation, as retention of Halcyon's arcane stonework seems to be touted as an essential part of plan,rather than just
compliance with prior legal decree.
This will be an economic boon to Millbrook,in the long term. It seems sensibly
preventative and sensitively preservationist, while fostering economic growth.
I cannot imagine who could possibly have a problem with this entire scenario,
[besides us nuts who just love old ruins!!!! but you know what I mean.]
it is just fantastic,that is really what I think.....

Millbrook owes a huge debt of gratitude to Oakleigh Thorne,who is freakin awesome!

It is bittersweet though to see this place gone. But it has almost become sadder in
it's current state folks.It really is collapsing so badly now. She is an old girl, and I think
even she thinks it's time to go.

Hopefully it's ramparts will survive,as centerpiece of a place that is no longer forbidden
and off limits,but instead somewhere whose natural charm people are encouraged to
enjoy and cherish. It is about as happy an end to the novel as could be hoped for, I

So someday everyone will be able to come here.But now, I will Say It: This building
is now,finally,definitely Coming Down. I would say sooner than later.I would guess
beginning before the end of summer,bidding, permitting etc. I am certain that the
environmental review will be extra-thorough and impeccable,so it may take a bit longer
than yer average ole' knockdown,but i would bet a large sum that it will be gone for sure by the end of this year of our lord 2014 AD.
But I been wrong before, eh? let's get a fantasy betting pool going....justkidding.

So to all the good people who love opacity, and as always the man they called Motts-
have a great summer,be safe out there. If anyone goes to Halcyon watch out, I absolutely
guarantee there will now be a huge security presence there from here on in. Don't
get in trouble or hurt,it is not worth it. It is still possible though, to go and check it
whoa! new Motts! YAY ! ! !

this looks like a laser shootin outta the president's office tower!

sci-fi halcyon,i am freakin loving it!

oh motts, thanks so much for this one. wow.
This sort of scrollwork was part of the architect's overlay of European detail
upon English formalism,in this case Swiss. In it's day,it was polychromed in a two to
three color paint scheme. This alliterative sort of ornament is what gives the Tudor
half-timbering added character of it's own. Brilliant....
love all the "new"pics. This room is actually the main dining room,from 1926,by
Boston architects Allen & Collens. In the same location as it's predecessor, but much larger,and more Tudor. It does remarkably adhere well to the original style as pictured
in the vintage shot of the main hall/parlor, though. Ah, they could certainly BUILD back then,eh?
happy new year, bennett fans, great seeing posts from everyone.
tech glitches have kept me away,but the site's new redux seems user friendly again.
I'm glad people's posts are accessible again, it is now keeping ME up to date on what's up at Bennett. Continuing collapse[s], yeah. People setting fires apparently?!? That is so dangerous for whatever misguided reason. Wow.Hope it is/was an isolated
prank,or whatever.
And people call ME crazy.

Anyway,I've nothing new to add, been off the bennett tip, as it were.
I think it is just a slow careen towards collapse.Perhaps gravity will reduce the
price tag of having to demo so much, eh? More of a haul-away kind of contract,maybe.
I'd still bet the state will have to get involved,the county wants NOTHING TO DO WITH
any part of what is going to happen here,eventually.

Great hearing from my opacity friends,for now it is how you are all keeping ME informed!

Is there a new batch of recent Mott's photos? or outtakes, as it were? I will have to

I'll try to shake the tree and see what might be new as far as newz on the great old lady goes. Happynewyears folks!-cheers
Flora, yes that was the NY press coverage of Halcyon's grand opening
ball. It was reprinted in The Millbrook Round Table in 1948, in the
local history column by my friend, the late Louise Tompkins.
Such a wonderful description, and so much emphasis on the women's fashion. From what i was told, many of these dresses became cherised estate heirlooms.
Sounds like they knew how to party in 1892. Dinner at midnight.
Kinda like Miami...

And you are absolutely correct about Halcyon's allure to NY society.
It was in fact devised as the mechanism by which a small group of
wealthy men could guide, and in fact auger the development of Millbrook along desirable social lines, specifically, an idealized reflection of
their own standing in the middle echelon of NY business and society.
I think architecture's singularly ability to accomplish this has always been one of it's most fearsomely powerful attributes.
Friday, September 15th, 1893

The opening night at Halcyon Hall was attended by a brilliant throng
of 150 guests.The Russian Court Orchestra under the direction of Vladimir Periselroff played appropriate music. The members of the
orchestra wore strangely-fashioned uniforms of blue and red, trimmed with gold lace. Knee-length boots complete their peculiar costume.
Mr and Mrs HJ Davison led the opening waltz at 10:30 pm. Mrs Davison was lovely in a green brocaded satin gown trimmed with chiffon. She carried a bouquet of roses and an exquisite fan made of three white plumes.
A supper by Louis Sherry of NY City was served at midnight with the assistance of 25 waiters to 65 couples.
MR GH Daniels, general passenger agent, Mr John Cartensen, comptroller, Mr Van Etten general superintendent, and Mr FJ Wolfe, general agent at Albany of the NY Central Railroad were among the
distinguished guests.
Other guests were: Mr JH Rhodes, president of the Greenwich Bank;
Mr CD Flagg, second vice-president of the Wagner Car Co; Mr Julian Hawthorne,well known author and son of Nathaniel Hawthorne; Mr &
Mrs Samuel Thorne;Mr & Mrs Charles F Dieterich; Mr & Mrs CC Marshall, Captain and Mrs RF Hayes, The Misses Davison, Mr & Mrs JJ Donaldson, Mr & Mrs Oakleigh Thorne, Mr & Mrs Theodore Vail, Mr Thurlow Weed Barnes, Mr John Bigelow, Mr BR Bayne, Mr ED Beckwith,Mr & Mrs CN Davison, Mr & Mrs James E Ware, Mr Eugene Godey, Mrs BJ Trask, Mr & Mrs Frederick W Seward [noted political speaker and son of Lincoln's Secretary of State;] Mr George W Davids, city editor of the Poughkeepsie Eagle; Cannon Hallam of the Canterbury Cathedral, England; the Reverend Dr J Wesley Brown,
Dr Elizabeth Johnson, The Reverend and Mrs JE Lyall, Dr and Mrs John O Pingry, and Miss Pingry.
Mrs Donaldson wore an evening gown of pale grey silk trimmed with lavender ribbon and silk. She wore a diamond necklace. Mrs Vail wore a black point lace gown. Mrs Dieterich wore a pink satin dress trimmed with real lace. Dr Elizabeth Johnson was a striking figure in a crimson satin gown trimmed with white lace.
PS- Halcyon Hall opened on this day 120 years ago.
wow, i am quite taken aback. Thank you everyone for your very kind words, it is quite encouraging.
i agree with Wanderer, this place is like a movie star; or even a
RockStar! At the end of the day, I am just a fan, like everyone else.
Celeste, i totally get the obsession! I'm sure we can work something out, offline. Give me a few days.
Christina-aha, you have discerned pat ratchet's true identity! Well,
I guess the cat is outta the bag, lol!...thanks for not stripping my alias
bare here. In all seriousness though, good luck to you on your
project as well.
Flora, great hearing from you as well. That is a great site, HV
Demolition, Rob Stacinac is pretty thorough on the local tip. But
demo is still a gossamer fairytale until someone presents Actual
plan$ to do so. I'm gonna make a wild prediction now and say the
village will NEVER do anything until it gets kicked up to the County
or even State level of responsibility. Some way or how.
Nancy and Iceberg, thank you for your encouragement, it means
Now Bear, you are the wildcard, man! You are a nut! I have
never been in the Science Building, and know very little [besides it being an excellent example of bad "futuristic" 70's fartitecture], so you gotta
fill us all in more. I am totally intrigued.
I know it was state of the art academically for 1975, and was never used, as it's erection bankrupted the school a year later. Although
I'm certain there was ALOT more to it all, than just that.
I recall when Bennett was parceled off there was talk of marketing this building for commercial use, like the Nursery School and
the Medical Center on the former campus. But it obviously came to nothing.
But 8 levels of basement? Holy Agua Dulce, Area 51, Batman! Were they
planning some kind of 007-ish,secret underground lair, illuminati
new world order, austin powers style underground base ?

The only thing I love more than conspiracy theories, is ...
INVENTING my own conspiracy theories! THis place sits on the
campus's highest elevation. Are there tunnels? Hmmm..
to where?

I'd like to believe it connects to the underground mag-lev train network that crisscrossses beneath North America, connecting all of the
top secret underground cities of the Illuminati. Why not? Millbrook
has been a society and national intelligence epicenter since the 40's.

heh heh...

I'd love to hear more, Bear.

Great hearing from all. -pw