Spaces & Places:
America's Cultural Landscapes
Dutchess County, NY
The 75.32-acre Bellefield estate, located within the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, is composed of two parcels originally donated to the National Park Service by Gerald Morgan in 1974 and 1975. Bellefield is directly adjacent to Springwood. Bellefield was donated to the National Park Service in 1975 for the purpose of preserving the historic setting of Springwood, the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Parcel 01-104 is a 23-acre tract that encompasses the historic Bellefield estate, which approximated 20 acres and includes the mansion and historic outbuildings. At the time of the original donation, this parcel totaled 24 acres, but one acre at the southwestern boundary was transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration in 2000 for the purpose of building the Wallace Visitor & Education Center.
Parcel 01-105, also referred to as Rogers Land, is a 52.32-acre tract which is mostly wooded and extends west to the Hudson River. This parcel was not a part of the Newbold estate during the period of significance. Furthermore, this tract of land was owned by Franklin D. Roosevelt prior to its ownership by the Morgan family. The Bellefield component landscape is bounded on the north by the Morgan and Crumwold estates, on the east by New York State Route 9, on the south by the Springwood estate (Home of FDR), and on the west by the Wallace Visitor & Education Center.
From Route 9, Bellefield appears as a formal country estate. Within Bellefield an expansive lawn and tree-lined drives lead to the mansion, expanded and remodeled between 1909-1911, by the prominent New York architectural firm McKim, Mead and White. A formal walled garden, laid out in 1911 by landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand, extends to the south from the main house. Behind the mansion a large lawn extends west. A cluster of outbuildings (both historic and contemporary) stands to the northwest of the mansion. Remnants of tree groves, gardens, and an orchard are scattered around the rear lawn. Southwest of the mansion is the recently completed Wallace Visitor & Education Center, part of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.
Bellefield derives significance under Criterion A, event, for its association with the era from 1890 to World War I when Dutchess County was the country home of many prominent industrialists, financiers, and politicians. In addition, the property derives significance under Criterion C, design, representing the work of the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White. The period of significance begins in 1885, when Thomas Newbold acquired the property and ends in 1917 with the completion of the construction. Significant dates, 1911-1917, are related to the remodeling of the main house and construction of the new garage. Landscape architecture is an additional area of significance. In 1911, a walled garden designed by landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand was added adjacent to the south terrace.