170 Comments Posted by pat ratchet

A quick hi to everyone, so many of us now.!
Sorry to have Abandoned here, but lovers of abandoned places must
surely understand!
Thanks for so many kind words. I can now say my book should {?} be
Out in October of 2017.

"Town & Country: The Architecture of James E. Ware & Sons"

Look for it. I'm going to blanket promo the whole known solar system
for it. I will drop details in Spring, but it will be available online, as well
as retail initially throughout the tri state area. It will be accompanied by an exhibition, lectures, signings, and other events. I am trying with
some difficulty to keep the cover price reasonable.
Thanks so much for all your interest and enthusiasm, it is encouraging.

PS- esp. Luciferos, my friend, I missed yr post back when, a bit late of
me, but thanks and greetings all the same. Peace and wellness, man.
I know what you mean about Millbrook. No matter. And give my regards to that special girl we know...
All the best-P
greetings Halcyon lovers! It's been a long time, I had connectivity issues.
So great to see everyone still inspired and interested in this place, it is
such an amazing thing. I feel like i'm back in touch with old friends
here, in the awesome 'theatre' of interaction, information, and
appreciation that Motts has given us. I can't even comprehend the fact
that you do this same deeply enriching service for the lovers of all the other buildings and places that you do. I see they feel as deeply
about their own "halcyon halls" as we all do here. Your contribution
to history, and more, to communities, is nothing short of massive,
Mr Motts. You sir,are a freakin Diamond. I hope people understand
that what you do is IMPORTANT. It MATTERS. Hugely. The fact that
you accompany it with a forum like this just multiplies how cool OPACITY is. History belongs to everbody, and you prove it all night,
man. I gotta thank you for all of this, it really is an inspiration.

Nothing new to report about Halcyon really. I Read through some posts,
all informative, amusing, touching. I guess the Science Building is
a minor mystery. It is a considerable distance from Halcyon, enough,
where you can't really see it, really. I'm apprised that it will demoed,
but I think all options are fluid in the coming remediation and
conversion of the various parcels to low density business, residential,
and primarily, parkland usage. It is a complex, puzzle-like amalgam
of parcels, interlocked between already existing condominiums and
neighboring properties [golf course, former nursery school, etc] and
the real estate deals for the plan is probably complex. But I feel
quite optimistic that when it pans out, this will be the best possible
outcome to assuring something worthwhile and appropriate will
supplant what is a very special place. So while I rue the coming
vanishing, I do look forward to what will hopefully be a beneficial
conception for the historic entrance to Millbrook.
My book devoted to James E Ware is finished, and in pre-production.
Photo rights can be a bitch, but I'm doing it right, legally and ethically,
so it is taking MUCH longer and costing more. Hopefully I can get it out
before someone who has no such ethical qualms decides to just freakin
rip me off, and give no credit at all,eh? There are poachers at the gate,
lol....it is not a world of gentlemen. Then again, we may never beat
these swine, but we certainly don't have to join them.
History DOES belong to everyone. I just don't want to see it presented
as being supposedly a mile wide, but they only have gone into any of it
an inch deep, ya know? Squandering the history of history to
soundbite portions that appeal to a diminished attention span does
a disservice to the generations that come before and after us.
It's Important to get it RIGHT. It MATTERS. But everyone here
already knows this, which is why your all so cool....

happy new years to all, stay safe all, hope to post new news[nu nu's?]
in 2016, if any... -ok
trying to log onto the site...anyone else having trouble viewing?
missing opacity...
browsing opacity, been having connectivity issues with the comments feature.
as much as i enjoy reading everyone's posts, this removes my excuse to not check out
the rest of Mott's oeuvre [sp?]. Have been enjoying it immensely.

So if this posts I'll see comments? ok, let'z seee...
been havin trouble logging on, let's see if this posts...
The first phase of the Bennet redevelopment has been completed. Initial cleanup
and securing of the site will by followed by the planning phase, to determine 'what the park we want to ultimately build will look like" according to Oakleigh Thorne.
It is concievable that Halcyon proper will stick around perhaps another half year,
depending on how selective the demo is executed. So it is great to know Halcyon will be around through another picturesque winter. It always looks so great blanketed
in snow...

Happy and safe holidays to all!!
on another note, HJ Davison, Jr's "Godey's Ladies Book" was among the major publications that launched
the meteoric career of Evelyn Nesbitt, in the guise of The Gibson Girl.

The world's first supermodel, [ and I would posit,the world's first true Celebrity]
Nesbitt was considered the most beautiful woman in all of NY. One of the many
muses of architect Stanford White, their affair would later result in White's murder,
shot by Evelyn's insanely jealous husband, the cocaine-crazed Harry Thaw, during
a burlesque dinner/floorshow in the rooftop aerie of the original Madison Square
Garden,designed by Stan White himself. Multiple layers of irony there,eh?
yeah i love that drone footage, and all the other tresspasser documentation,
but- There is a huge new Crackdown on Any tresspassing here! My sept 13 post,speculating on laxness now that Halcyon is completely boarded up, should
not have been interpreted to mean it is ok to Climb the Fence, Or Enter the Building.
[That would be against the law!] [cough]
Admiring/photographing from the legal boundary seems to not be a problem,was my point.

In any event, several people have recently been arrested for Tresspassing. The State Police are
authorized to ARREST ANYONE who interlopes here. On speed dial. Understandably. This place has been the biggest F%$^∈ free-for-all exploration site since 1977! That is all over,
now that there is responsible ownership and a viable, promising plan. I would hate to see anyone else get in trouble,
be careful folks. Do not go in! Esp. now that remediation is commencing.Your not
missing a thing,believe me.It is also hyper-dangerous. This summer alone has seen some
cumulative collapse throughout the entire facade. It is one king-hell of a mess,and
that's ALL! But continued, feverish interest has compelled new measures.

It is going to be harder now even if you want to tempt fate. A taller fence is going to
be erected.It will now be topped with barbed wire.Surveillance of the site is now
coordinated between the adjacent condominium complex,the foundation that bought
the parcel,and the State Police,as well as overlapping local law enforcement.
Halcyon's popularity on the internet specifically is being cited as among the reasons for heightened vigilance,as adventurers try to capitalize on the last-chance thrill, now
that it is confirmed to come down. This is nothing less than should be reasonably
expected, as indications are that the movement here is in the scope of months and
years,but certainly not a decade before the campus is rehaped into a [terraced?]

So the show here is over kids. Enjoy the footage that exists. I myself prefer that over
the undisputable danger, bronchial infection,and likely arrest for misdeameanour charges
that are specifically not going to be easy to plea down. They are quite serious,and
if an example needs to be made, they will make one...or TEN! So stay the hell out.
Pat Ratchet sayz so. And no one's even paying me to say that,dammit!
[We need to change THAT!]

But like moths to the flame,some people will still try,to defy,or provocatively challenge
reasonable boundaries. IMHO to enter here now,indicates a juvenile rebel compulsion,
in fact a self-sabotaging one. But I will reserve judgement,because the imperative to
adventure is among the most noble and American of traits.Only,don't Teddy
Roosevelt yourself into jail and/or a hospital.And certainly not Over THIS Place!!!

Everyone be safe. All the people working on the site,too. ok
wanderer,enjoy your visit,Millbrook is so nice this time of year.
LPN, the semicircle was just an open verandah,before it was glassed in.

Henry J Davison,II was like his father,somewhat of a Renaissance man,but a bit more
an affable charlatan. Lawyer, talented engineer, in the gas,chemical, and mining
trades. Known as a bold,even reckless investor, his losses always somehow reversed
upon the next windfall deal. Determined to outshine all of his neighbour's
country houses[probably his father's the most] he concieved the hotel as the only
way to affordably outbuild Millbrook's other hilltoppers. A clever conflation,he spent
a million dollars on Halcyon Hall. It was the same amount he had paid to acquire
Godey's Lady Book magazine,called the Vanity Fair of the 1890's.

The magazine succeeded. The hotel did not. Barely a year after it opened,Davison
foreclosed,originally to Mead & Taft,the builders whom had never been paid in full.
It struggled along as a hotel till about 1905,but without the Davisons. Despite his
spendthrift habits ruinous consequences, Davison, [a personal friend of Winston Churchill's,] was said to have taken it all in stride. He and his wife moved into a small
cottage in South Millbrook,naming it "Bagatelle." [little jewel,little treasure]

There is a kind of minor-key Citizen Kane narrative in his story arc,for sure. But it sounds to me like Henry J certainly understood Fun.
In any event the late 19thcentury uniquely produced these kind of wildboys, by
the thousands.The second generation of post industrial revolution wealth,these
were characters out of central casting, any of there lives enough for a novel. Or
a movie...
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