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Chestnut Street Historic District

West Chestnut Street

  West Chestnut Street
Photographs by N. Larson

The middle and upper-class homes of the Chestnut Street Historic District, built during the area's rapid mid-1800s growth, illustrate the wealth and prosperity that new transportation opportunities brought to Kingston. In 1828, with the completion of the Delaware and Hudson Canal, the small village of Rondout began its role as the canal's Hudson River terminus. In the next few decades, Rondout prospered and grew as the village became one of the major shipment points for coal, shipbuilding, bricks, cement, and the locally quarried bluestone. The Chestnut Street Historic District began its development around 1855 as the neighborhood of Rondout's middle and upper classes, the people who owned, managed, and prospered from the banks, stores, and factories created by the Rondout's emergence as a transportation hub. Consisting of elaborate houses built onto the hills overlooking the Rondout Creek, the Chestnut Street Historic District contains houses illustrating the wide range of high style architecture popular from before the Civil War up until World War I. For example, in the 1860s, Dr. Abraham Crispell had a home built in the Italianate style after he returned from service in the Civil War as a surgeon, but by the 1870s, many of the area's new industrialists, like Peter Phillips who was superintendent of shipping for the Delaware and Hudson Canal, had homes built in the popular mansard-roofed Second Empire style. In comparison, large Queen Anne style homes like "Cloverly" were built in the area during the 1890s, and by the twentieth century, the upper class residents of the area were building Tudor Revival style houses. Relatively unchanged since the 1920s, a tour through the Chestnut Street Historic District is simultaneously a lesson in architectural history and the social values of middle and upper-class New Yorkers.

The Chestnut Street Historic District runs along the 100 blocks of West and East Chestnut Streets, intersecting the 200 block of Broadway. The buildings of the district are private residences and not open to the public.


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