Comments Posted by pat ratchet

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.
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
Celeste- hmm, perhaps I have not been accurate in description.
The area you have labeled red [great interactivity on yr links, by the
way!] is /was a covered porch, just the corner of the house- like section.
the roof balcony in front sits just 2 feet or so below it, seperated by balustrade. It is contiguous otherwise, and effectively part of the same level, plan-wise. So it like a closed corner porch, that overlooks
the uncovered roof porch/balcony. Hope this helps.
the entire eastern tower wing was a seperate house originally, and
only closed in later.imagine the left hand as a T-shape turned on end,
seperating the wing from the rest of the building.all internal
linking hallways were added later, even as outer protrusions.

Anyways, you know, the usual...complicated!

Also the steps to the basement never had doors, the steps continued
in the same pattern as from above. The difference in look is due to
modern renovations, including the elevator and machine room
directly behind that wall to the basement, as well as general
remedial work done to the basement floor as it's stone arches were filled in to reclaim interior space, and accomodate the modern dormitories and assembly hall between them. Hope this helps.

Wanderer my friend, I'm certain Halcyon will be here for your Millbrook visit. So glad! just be careful. Of the social as well as physical hazards of a Bennett visit..
I don't live in Millbrook anymore, but work there alot. It is a place that
is very close to my heart.

People have been asking about floorplans. I have evaded as long as
I can answering, because it is quite complicated. The floor plans
that are on the internet, even here on Opacity I believe, are limited
to just the main and second floors, I believe, with sections of the
attic story as well I believe.?

I have full blueprints for the entire original hotel. I am however
CURRENTLY unable to share them as of yet, as I am soon to
publish the definitive monograph / biography of Halcyon' Hall's
architect James E Ware. This sweeping project is an absolute epic,
I assure you. I have secured the enthusiastic cooperation of the
architect's family, as well as Columbia U, AIA,NYHS, etc ad infinitum.
It has been decades in the making.

I recently gave a lecture at The Millbrook Library about Ware for
the Dutchess County Historical Society. Millbrook's own historical
society, which has never assisted me, jumped on that bandwagon
as a "sponsor". They had nothing to do with it at all as far as I can tell.
Many of their fine membership attended, and I hope they enjoyed it.
There are many fine people there, whom I would truly never want to offend.
when I have shared my data and material with the former historians,foolishly, expecting reciprocity, i recieved no callback, email, or letter response.
Where I come from, that's a snub. Lower-case "s", but still a snub.

It is more than I will go into here about why they have never got on board, but it dosn't matter. I don't need them anymore. I now have more
than they will ever be able to provide on the topic, and what they do have that i may use, i have obtained without them. I also do not require their
permission to use any of it. I will however, unlike them, acknowledge
all sourcing and copyright credit, in accordance with all standards and practices. You know, the way things are supposed to be done, if
you have any integrity or credibility whatsoever. My material was
poached badly, without any credit at all, and the MHS then turns around and acts as if they facilitated my lecture.I don't know what they did,if ANYTHING to justify that really. Maybe I'm wrong. So while I will
credit them in my book, I can say here how I really feel.

to the Millbrook Historical Society, thanks. For Nothing.

I have complicated things somewhat by my long history of posts here
on Opacity, specifically, my foul mouth, which i have tried to curb,
in the interest of good manners, i suppose. But more importantly,
many of the things I have said in re: the redevelopment proposals
for this property, have been much more strenuously objectionable to many
people whom i know, in government and real estate. I'd say it all
again, perhaps not so obnoxiously smart-assy, I suppose. If it
is a question of style that has rankled some, fair enough. But the
substance of my personal Opinion[s] are definitely a bigger problem to others.

In any event, that is precisely how I would characterize it-THEIR problem, not mine.

In short, I have decided to play nice and not burn more bridges than
necessary. It is great that Motts let's me rant here to a general audience that may not get the nuance, but i guarantee the people
who need to hear all this dust we kick up here, do in fact see and read it. So this site as well plays a super huge role, still, in what has and
will go on at Halcyon Hall. {thanks Motts! you freakin rule...]

So I am sharing NOTHING online with ANYONE until my book is out.
It will be at least a year. I am involved in dozens of transactions to
obtain copyright/ permission, etc for publication.[Halcyon's blueprints
are copyright free, by the way. Another reason in fact why i will not release them before they are published.] I have been burned
one time too many, and my policy is only negotiable to individuals
and organizations that are giving ME the things that I require, AND

Once I made this decision, EVERYTHING I have been needing from
dozens of previous sources, has BEEN PROVIDED enthusiastically.
And i have then RECIPROCATED even more generously.

So from here until publication, that's how I roll, to protect
not only myself, but others who have made generous provision
and exchange of materials. I was, frankly, uncomfortable even
lecturing on the topic, without the tome already published. I did so
for reasons of my own, all of which were gratifying, including being
able to leapfrog the people and organizations whom could have helped, didn't, and have now become decidedly...banwagonesque.


BUT.....upon publication, my book on Ware will also be a multi-media
museum exhibition, for which much appendix material and imagery
will be extrapolated. This will accompanied by a website. Between the
three incarnations, ALL of my Ware archive WILL be made available,
the latter example FOR FREE.
I sincerely apologize for not just being cool and throwing it up on the
web. It would be totally cool for everyone, and I would be completely
undermining my project, which I promise, is... Absolutely Spectacular..

Who knows, you might be able to find floorplans on your own.{Hint: posibly even online?} But unfortunately
I will not provide it, as I have agreements with people whom I
AM beholden to, who HAVE helped me...So it is complicated when
I longwindedly [over]explain it, but simple for me when I just stick to
my Policy, and choose for myself selectively when and where I
decide to assist anyone else, people's opinion's be damned.
Which I guess is what got me here in the first place. But here we are.

Anyway, thanks for all yr patience, and I hope people understand.
I really can't wait for this book to be done, so I will no longer come
off as such a dickhead.
But to quote Christina's handsome cop at Bennett-
"I don't give a shit-just stay outside the fence!'' lol....

best regards to all the regulars, and everyone else- pat freakin ratchet
Celeste- the room on the right side of the eastern wing was one of
the small private dining rooms that radiated south of the main dining hall. This largest one also doubled as the Smoking Parlor. Most of
the hotel's rooms fullfilled multiple functional requirements in this way.
This room was later halved to make room for the elevator shaft.

The northeastern wing beyond the dining rooms contained the kitchens, bakery, laundry, and servants dormitories. It has all been
renovated so extensively and continuously through the years that it
is practically impossible to refer to a static state of finish or
completion.And very little of those views were ever photographed, it is true.

In any event, the original blueprints for this part bear no resemblance whatsoever to the building's appearance since 1926.

The Eastern eastern wing was the hotel's nursery for guest's children,
a Victorian convenience. It also served as the caretaker/operator's
residence.I'm guessing your double balcony question refers to the
small oriel balcony protrusion that originally emanated from the Norman style tower.In floorplan, the halfscaled mini parapet would appear as upon one level, similiar to the minstel's gallery into the dining hall.

I'd guess there must be some film footage from the Bennett years?
What might it be though? Super-8? Bennet closed in 78, and I remember early video cams were the size of a piece of luggage
back then, if anyone even had them.

I'd imagine it must exist, but the people who might have it are
probably unaware of anyon'se interest? It would be wonderful to see

Christina, great to hear things worked out. I should hope they
wouldn't hassle alumni, ya know?

Good hearing from Wanderer, Stax,Flora, and all. Always love reading
everybody's post. And as always, hats off to Motts!
Yes, Celeste, this was originally the library, although when it was
a hotel in the 1890's it also doubled as the establishment's
'saloon', as it were. A place to have a cocktail before dinner, or
an aperitif after a big meal, amongst leather bound volumes and

Ah, even drinking was so much more sophisticated back then, huh?

It was among the Hall's finest rooms, with two fireplaces in the corners, and a huge fanlight window to enjoy Millbrook's lovely
sunsets. While not all that large, it was still quite impressive, even
up to the early 1990's, before vandals had there way.

I personally would love to have the pilaster that holds up the roof
above the balconette of the former College Presidents office,at
the far right of the main facade, second story. It is a singular
component, very Edwardian, probably about 4 or 5 feet in height.
I imagine it is probably half rotted away by now though. Still it would be
a cool sculpture if refinished and painted.

There really is almost nothing left of this place to even covet, as it were.
ran across a recent video of people exploring inside the Hall.
Andy's World Episode 4 Halcyon Hall Bennett Junior College

I enjoyed it for a bunch of reasons, figured others here might too.
The "cast'' are pretty endearing, and the jaunty soundtrack,
sharp editing, and sense of humor won me over.

It's the first I've seen of the interior in a LONG time. Most
shocking to me is how decent a shape SOME parts of
the building are STRUCTURALLY [a small percentage, for sure]
yet how almost ANY evidence of the luxurious FINISH of all the rooms has long vanished

It astonishes me that the experience of exploring here no longer
includes the wondrous decorative adornments that were such a
celebrated feature of the Hall as it was concieved.
Hell, I thought even I was missing out by not having experienced
inside in later years. I can see from this video I'm not missing a damn thing! It is All Gone. All of it.

Frankly, most of the losses in that regard are from Vandalism. At one point a creditor who was owed from some contract from heck-knows
when by a long deceased former owner went in and did a number on
what little was barely left of the choice interior finish decoration.He would have been better off stealing it. I wish someone had.

The library /parlor double doors and mouldings were valued at
over $100 thousand dollars two decades ago. As is. It is hard for me to believe that they were not "removed" at some point in the mid 90's? I am speculating. The last time I saw them in the flesh was decades ago.
That portion of the building's floors are partially collapsed.

Most of the dozens of fireplaces, no two mantels alike, seem demo-ed
Woodwork, crown mouldings, balustrades,coffered ceilings,
leaded glass windows,seemingly all of the intricate parquet flooring,
everything vanished.

Andy's entertaining video makes it seem interesting as just an
abandoned maze like place. ALL of Halcyon's architectural interest
now lies upon it's weathered exterior. If anyone goes inside, pleeze
be careful! [And wear a Respirator!] ok
actually, on balance, the village has been pretty vigilant for a decade
plus on apprehending and prosecuting tresspassers. Hell, the cops
tried to chase us out more than thirty years ago, when i was still but a

but realistically, unless they witness entrance or egress, unless
people are being stupid and noisy, who would even know anyone
is inside this hulk that people tend to ignore in the first place?

I don't know the details really, but i presume the charges would
misdemeanor tresspassing,and /or criminal mischief. These
sort of scenarios are often accompanied by resisting arrest
charges, if their was a pursuit. If it were a viable property, you
could throw in vandalism, I'm sure, but no judge around here
would do anything but laugh, at least regarding any events
within Halcyon's interior. It'd be reduced to disordely conduct.If the tresspassers are young enough,
there is usually the inevitable open container or possession
charge they could toss in.

not sure what the final penalties will be, likely a fine, few months
probation, maybe a little community service. I can promise you
it is enough that these individuals will not do it again, which will be
the point, to make an example.

i think going in this place at this point is just pushing the button to
get yourself busted really, I understand the attraction, believe me,
but it is not worth it. It is so under scrutiny. The negative attention becomes a self-fullfilling prophecy for those who want demolition,
and also attracts others who are drawn to explore here. This some-what antagonistic cycle is reaching a critical mass, and is becoming
a definite factor that will start to drive events in regards to the property.

Just a few weeks back I enjoyed seeing Halcyon [somewhat up close?} in the summer moonlight, lingering closer and for alot
longer than one would imagine under the current scrutiny. But that
is the point. Admiring and entering are two different animals.

Here one needs to be quite careful doing either, for a multitude of

be safe peoples.
Celeste, the photo you posted with the red rectangle, depicts
the west facade as it was from the 1890's before the many changes.
it is about a clear reference shot that i am aware of, contemporary
or vintage. Hope this helps. I cannot seem to find the blueprints of
the basement and sub-basement, I'll try to keep looking. So much
paper, in a digital world.

no other new news, really. Six people were recently arrested for
tresspassing inside Bennett. In the course of their pursuit, a
police officer's foot went through the floorboards. An increasingly
dangerous locale, sadly. Be careful folks.
it has to be said, this building was past saving about a decade ago.
Believe me, every effort was made by historical/preservation entities,
but only just before it was physically too late. And in fact the current
owner of record, for more than a decade, can't be blamed much for
it's current state.
I don't think there any real villains in the Halcyon saga, in spite of
all the sardonic comments Motts so graciously lets me spew here
through the years.

Preservation is extremely difficult anywhere. The whole
concept of historic preservation didn't really kick in hard until, when? the late 70's? Jackie O's advocacy for Grand Central, the
shameful and needless destruction of Penn Station, etc.....well after this building was well on it's way
into the dumper [how freakin cool was Jacqueline
Kennedy Onassis, anyway!?!]

Saving Halcyon is out of the question, short of rebuilding it anew.

What I do appreciate is the sense of Commemoration that this building has and continues to inspire. In many ways it will
"survive" in a myriad of significant mediums and expressions.

Celeste, your virtual modelings are but one great example. This
building has been photographed abundantly, both in it's heyday,
and perhaps almost as ardently, in it's demise. {although never as
compellingly as by Motts in it's decline years, I say.]

It continues to inspire photographers, filmakers, artists, writers,
...I remember a young playwright posted here years back, I have
seen dollhouses built based on Halcyon [loosely...] I remember
when i was young, a cake in the shape of Halcyon Hall! So many
incarnations and tributes, large and small

So this place is at least in the historical record, unlike much of
lost America, but more importantly, in people's hearts, and
memories, and dreams. Often it seems to touch people who have never even been there, in a way I have almost never encountered.
It seems to have this strange Q factor, or something...

And then to think of all the girls who went to school here, and the
faculty that passed through,and the students
who came and stayed, making Millbrook their home, the original hotel guests from New York society, the generations
of locals who worked here, many descended from the master
craftsmen who conjured this grand hotel from a country meadow in the
just 18 months or so they took to build her...

I like to think that Halcyon Hall dreams about all of us.

It won it's own rare second act in 1908. Having sat neglected in
[they said then] almost unsalvageble shape after a half decade
of abandonment, Mae Friend Bennett's relocation of her girl's school
here saved Halcyon, but not without a large expenditure of TLC.

So the ruin we see today was already written off before any of us were even born.Then saved. It's existence for any of us at all was already an unlikely gift from history.

Seing it demo-ed might perhaps be deconstructively interesting.
Seeing it gradually as only the craftsmen originally building saw it,
but in reverse, as it disappears, from profane material fact, back down
to foundations laid out from blueprints on paper, long ago.

Halcyon Hall survives as Architecture. it's physical existence is
immaterial. In fact it may be well in the way of it's own legend by
now. In any event it is assuredly soon receiving the academic and
historical recognition it deserves, as part of a larger story about
American architecture, soon to be ushered to print, and a multi-media

I'd like to think it might appear before Halcyon disappears, but things
happen in their time, as this mighty building demonstrates.

Unless a higher government authority than the village takes charge,
i also don't see anyone paying to tear HH down anytime soon, either.
Everyone be safe. Let's still admire the Ruin however. It will be Gone
soon enough, for those that want that. But many people seem
almost emotionally invested in this place as a high watermark of
American Romanticism. It's decrepitude magnifies that identification,
the unlikelihood of it's survival an integral aspect of it's allure.
It is no wonder people just admire when it continues to stick around a little bit longer...I am one of them.