John Thompson House (Highland, New York)
The John Thompson House is one of the best examples of Victorian Italianate style in Ulster County. It is located one-quarter mile from the Hudson River on Maple Avenue in Highland, New York The house was built between 1854 and 1858 by John Thompson for his wife Electa Ferris as the family's country home in the Hudson Valley. John Thompson founded the First National Bank of the City of New York in 1863. With his sons and Frederick, he founded the Chase National Bank in 1877, a predecessor of the Chase Manhattan Bank; the Thompson Family's main house was on 297 Madison Avenue in New York City. The family affectionately called their summer home, "The Anchorage"; the house across the street from the John Thompson House in the Italianate villa style, was a wedding gift by John Thompson to his niece. The Anchorage is built in the Victorian Italianate villa style of designer Andrew Jackson Downing, an American landscape designer and writer of American architecture, who lived just down the Hudson River in Newburgh, New York.
Andrew Jackson Downing's grand country designs with their decorated interiors were popular among wealthy American socialites of the Victorian Age. The house has been maintained as built with updates for modern amenities such as electricity. Significant exterior design features include a Belvedere tower with elongated windows on three sides with views of Poughkeepsie, NY across the Hudson River; the Hudson River is now visible from the tower only in the winter when the trees have lost their leaves. Its broad verandas overlook multiple gardens that so graced the grounds of country villa homes; the wrap-around porch is thought to have been added in 1904. The house has sixteen rooms, five on the first floor, eight on the second, three on the third; the five first-floor rooms are nearly twelve feet high. Seven of the ten fireplaces are made of sculpted imported Italian marble. Ten fireplaces provide heat during the spring and fall months while the house's northern orientation and double-brick walls provide protection from the summer heat.
The rooms are designed plaster. The center chandeliers in four rooms are surrounded by large plaster medallions; the large paneled doors are painted with wood grain, a common feature of ornate homes of the period, are surrounded by 10-inch-wide moldings. The entry-way rounded staircases with scroll work on the side; the stairwell includes an arched niche built to hold decorative art. A massive four-tier brass Italian gasolier in the living room is decorated with grape clusters that turned on the gas and women that hold up the glass globes; the chandelier is similar to one in Portland, Maine. The lighting was gas and has since been converted to electricity; the house's eight-foot double-hung windows contribute to the vertical Victorian design. The windows on the first floor include solid-wood interior folding shutters that fit into side pockets when folded in to let in the natural light; this innovation was added during the Victorian era to meet the preferences of the period to keep rooms dark and the thick walls made closing exterior shutters difficult to close.
The house was accompanied by a wood-frame gate house, stone barn and stone carriage house with a carriage pit to fix the underside of the carriages. The Thompson's gardener lived in a carriage apartment above the garage; the grounds have since been subdivided. The main house sits on 4.5 acres and continues to be paired with the garage and gardener's apartment, while the barn and gate house have since been converted to single-family houses. While the property upon which the house was built was deeded to Electa in 1864, additional property from the house to the Hudson River was deeded in 1876; the Thompson family enjoyed riding horses along bridle paths on the property that led to a bluff overlooking the Hudson. The grounds were extensive, typical of Italianate villas of the time. More than 100 years in 1975 over twenty-five types of trees including a 40-foot Larch tree, a deciduous fir, were visible from the veranda; the Larch tree was hit by lightning and fell in the 2000s. Many trees have remained and others added, including pear, cherry and apple trees.
On the grounds are blueberry, gooseberry and currant bushes for picking. One of the many gardens were used to raise vegetables; the Grange Notes of the Town of Lloyd touted the farming skills of Maud Adams, a resident in the early 1900s, citing "the great variety of vegetables, finest pumpkins and squashes, a field of corn stalks 12 feet high. Thompson Grove, the property between the house and the in-ground pool, served as local town gatherings, it was there that the Centennial of the ratification of the Constitution of the United States was celebrated on August 1, 1888. John Thompson delivered an address at the event. Multiple springs, managed by French drains throughout the property, feed into a 40-foot circular stone in-ground pool that continues to provide refreshment on hot summer days. From 1851 to 1957, over 100 years, five generations of the Thompson family either summered or lived year-round at the Thompson House: John and Electa Thompson including children Eudora and Federick. John Thompson and Electa Thompson built the house in 1851 on land deeded to
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The Virtual International Authority File is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center. Discussion about having a common international authority started in the late 1990s. After a series of failed attempts to come up with a unique common authority file, the new idea was to link existing national authorities; this would present all the benefits of a common file without requiring a large investment of time and expense in the process. The project was initiated by the US Library of Congress, the German National Library and the OCLC on August 6, 2003; the Bibliothèque nationale de France joined the project on October 5, 2007. The project transitioned to being a service of the OCLC on April 4, 2012; the aim is to link the national authority files to a single virtual authority file. In this file, identical records from the different data sets are linked together. A VIAF record receives a standard data number, contains the primary "see" and "see also" records from the original records, refers to the original authority records.
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