The 100-room Mansion House was built in 1854 by real estate developer George F. VonBeck. The completion of the Delaware and Hudson Canal in 1828 brought new goods and materials through Rondout, but it also brought masses of people. Some switched their residences to the Rondout and Kingston area, but obviously many more just passed through as travelers. VonBeck built the Mansion House just as the Rondout area began to really grow--in 1840 the town had 1500 residents, by 1855 the town boasted a population of 6,000--hoping to capitalize on Rondout's location as a stopping-off place for steamboat and stagecoach passengers, as well as for semi-permanent residences for the performers of the area's opera houses. Long considered a luxury hotel, the Mansion House is located directly across the street from the Samspon Opera House. The two largest commercial buildings in the Rondout-West Strand Historic District, both buildings are Italianate in style, which is often considered the basic 19th-century American commercial architecture. In the 20th-century, the decline of shipping in the Hudson River Valley (the Delaware and Hudson canal became a railroad) affected the entire Rondout area, and the Mansion House was forced to close in the 1960s. In 1986, when the Rondout area experienced a rebirth, a developer began a rehabilitation of this magnificent building. The businesses on the Rondout waterfront have revived, and the 145 year-old Mansion House has been rehabilitated and adaptively reused.
Today three ground-level storefronts occupy the first floor, and apartments are located on the floors above.
Photograph by John E. Reinhardt
Mansion House, c. 1885
Photograph courtesy of John F. Matthews
The Mansion House is located within the Rondout-West Strand Historic District at 11 Broadway. Shops and restaurants occupy the ground floors, and are open to the public.