The estates between Hyde Park and the City of Hudson are bound together not only by the river but by the extraordinary influence of the Livingston family. Beginning in 1730, members of this family established numerous country seats along the east bank of the Hudson. Marriages between different branches of the family intensified their sense of being rooted in a special place. Clermont, Wilderstein and Montgomery Place are examples of Livingston family homes which have survived to modern times.The Mills and Vanderbilt families built large mansions, designed by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, at the height of the Gilded Age. There they feted the new plutocrats of the post Civil War years at extended house parties and gala balls.
The great public interest in the preservation of the Hudson’s great estates offers hope that these symbols of our national heritage will survive for the enjoyment and education of future generations. A significant step toward fulfillment of this hope was taken when the mid-Hudson Valley was recognized as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1990.