Gardener’s Cottage Project
The Gardener’s Cottage at Clermont: Past, Present and Future
The Gardener’s Cottage or Clermont Cottage, as it is sometimes called, is an early 19th
century house on the grounds of the Clermont State Historic Site in Clermont, N.Y., a few hundred yards north of the Main House along the old carriage drive.
The cottage is a distinguished example of rural vernacular architecture, with some elegant Federal touches, including the rather high-style window frames and paneled doors. Inside, the small rooms are charming, with their large fireplaces and original detailing along the wide carrying beams.
Originally used by Clermont’s gardeners, the house has a fascinating history: after the Stock Market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression, Alice Livingston, the owner of Clermont and its 500 acres, dismissed her servants and moved from the riverside mansion into this small cottage, where she lived the rest of her life. Her unmarried daughter, Janet, once a New York banker, moved in with her and a garage wing was built, with a large apartment over the garage. Another wing, built in the late 1940’s, completed the cottage.
After both Alice and Janet died, the Gardener’s Cottage was unfortunately allowed to fall into disrepair. The Friends of Clermont, in collaboration with the state, stabilized the oldest part of the cottage within the last decade, but the building remained vacant and abandoned.
The Friends are now in the last stages of fundraising to complete the restoration and reuse of the Gardener’s Cottage. By the end of this year, the building will have become the James D. Livingston Research Library, as well as public meeting rooms for lectures and symposia, now almost impossible to stage because of lack of suitable space in the Main House.
What had once been Janet’s apartment over the garage will become the main library room, lined with bookcases and set off by cherry reading tables, which, placed together end-to-end, can be used for meetings of the Friends’ trustees or small conferences. The rest of the cottage will contain restored meeting rooms and offices.
Groundbreaking is expected to occur by this fall.
Help Restore the Gardener’s Cottage
You can be part of making Clermont a livelier, more educational place by contributing to this wonderful project.
Donate now! All contributions are 100 percent tax deductible.
Contributors who give $25,000 or more may choose to name certain rooms. For more information on this possibility, please call Tracie Rozhon, the Friends’ President (and Chairman of the Gardener’s Cottage Committee) at 917 715-8240. Or call Kimberly Lamay, our Executive Director, at 518 537-6622. Thank you for considering this important gift.