In 1856 Taconic Lodge was built by William C. Allen of New York City. He died on December 24, 1873. His heirs kept the property until it was sold in 1882 to Henry C. Valentine
In 1882 Henry C. Valentine, a varnish manufacturing tycoon from New York, purchased the Taconic Farm Estate. It was situated on 385 acres on the lake, and included all of the south shore.
In 1908 Mr and Mrs. Warren Salisbury, owner of Kimball Piano & Organ Co. of Chicago, purchased the property.
In 1909 the Salisbury's demolished the Taconic Lodge aka Valentine Lodge and built a new mansion.
In April of 1911, Mr. And Mrs. Salisbury announced the new name of their estate,
Tor Court, the “Tor”, being an old English word which means a hill overlooking a lake. Tor Court has an Onota Lake frontage of 4200 feet, about 3/5 of a mile. At that time the estate included 10 acres of lawns. There were five greenhouses connected by tunnels, 15 head of cattle, 2,000 chickens, plum, apple, and pear orchards, formal gardens and a profusion of white lilacs. Adjoining it on the North is Burbank Park, a legacy to the town in 1882 from Abraham Burbank.Across the lake was Blythewood Farm
Mrs Salisbury died in 1945, and the mansion was never reopened, although the family kept it maintained in perfect condition.
In 1948 Hillcrest Hospital purchased the property.
Until 1971 the mansion was used for patient rooms. When the new addition was opened, the staunch old building became offices and administration building.
In 1981 a full scale clean up of the gazebo was organized.
In 1984 while workmen were grading and landscaping near the restored gazebo the ground gave way to reveal a chamber below and a galley running the whole length of the promenade. Construction workers speculate that the subterranean chambers were actually foundations to prevent the gazebo from heaving from the frost.
The gazebo, situated on rolling lawns behind the stately house and overlooking the lake, was the scene of many turn of the century social events.
(Taken from geocaching.com)
My family and I took a long weekend and went to the Berkshires in Massachusetts. We love geocaching as a family, so before we left we loaded a couple cache locations from geocaching.com onto our GPS and headed out. The best place we found was in Pittsfield, MA. It is an old mansion with a lot of history, and is now a Family Health Center. After we parked we went to the left of the mansion and down the hill. It was breathtaking. There is a gazebo that had been restored years ago. We enjoyed taking pictures and walking (or, for the kids, running) around. We even saw someone there who was just reading. It was such a relaxing place.
Beyond the gazebo is a rolling hill, with trees carpeting either side. The hill leads down to a Onota Lake, and we were hit by even more gorgeous views. It was a warm day, and we were able to just relax (a nice welcome after all the construction we had to drive through that weekend).
There's plenty of space for the kids to run around, and it's a great place for a family to be able to just "get away from it all" for a while. If we knew exactly what we were going to encounter we would have packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed the views for much longer than we did.
I would love to see more restoration done on the estate. I can just imagine just how much more beautiful the area would be.
If you find yourself in the Berkshires, be sure to head on over to the Taconic Farm Estate (now known as the Hillcrest Family Health Center). Pack a lunch, maybe bring a book, and definitely bring your camera!