Staatsburgh State Historic Site

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ElijahW
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Staatsburgh State Historic Site

Post by ElijahW » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:06 pm

NTS,

Just a few miles north of the Vanderbilt Estate in Hyde Park, NY, along the east bank of the Hudson, is the former seasonal home of Ruth Livingston Mills and Ogden Mills. The mansion, though not currently open to visitors, is similar in size and appearance to Vanderbilt, but offers perhaps more scenic views of the river and Catskill Mountains beyond. Acquired by NY State in the 1930s, Staatsburgh now serves an important purpose as a place of recreation, hiking, and relaxation. An enormous lawn apparently is used for concerts in the summer. Here’s a helpful link on Staatsburgh’s history: https://parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/25/details.aspx.

Forests on the property readily fit into two categories: planted exotics mixed with natives on the east side of the house, near the train tracks, and mature oak-hickory communities on the west and south sides. Escaped exotics can be found throughout, the most common being Norway Maple. I’ll separate my measurements into those two parts.

*NY Maximum Height
East of Mansion

Pin Oak (native to the area, but likely planted)

124.3’ x 8.75’*

Silver Maple (likely planted)

112.3’ x 11.65’

Austrian Pine

100.7’ x 7.15’*

Mature Natural Forest

Eastern White Pine

143.7’
141.2’

Tuliptree

130.8’ x 10.29’

Eastern Hemlock

122.2’ x 6.85’

Red Hickory

119.6’ x 8.3’

Black Walnut

117.3’ x 6.87’

American Beech

109.3’ x 8.19’

White Oak

108.4’ x 8.21’

Chestnut Oak

104.8’ x 7.15’
104.2’

Black Birch

101.2’

Black Oak

96.3’ x 9.24’

Northern Red Oak

92.3’

As I was leaving, I realized I had forgotten to record the girths of several trees. Generally, the White Pines maxed out at about 10’ CBH, and one Black Birch (not the one listed above) was probably close to that, as well.

Much better heights for Red Oak could be gotten, but I would not assume the same for Black Oak.

As best I can figure, the oldest trees likely date from the mid- to late-nineteenth century. Most of the planted trees probably originated between 1890 and 1940.

A few scenes from Staatsburgh:
The Mills Mansion
The Mills Mansion
View towards the Hudson
View towards the Hudson
Tall Pines
Tall Pines
The largest Black Birch
The largest Black Birch
Pin Oaks near the railroad tracks
Pin Oaks near the railroad tracks
Elijah
Last edited by ElijahW on Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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ElijahW
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Re: Staatsburgh State Historic Site

Post by ElijahW » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:18 pm

I apologize for the rotated photos. I took them with my phone, and for whatever reason, it seems to do this sometimes.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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dbhguru
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Re: Staatsburgh State Historic Site

Post by dbhguru » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:51 pm

Elijah,

No worry about rotated photos. The content of your Hudson River posts is soooo important. That region has always captured my imagination. It's quintessentially dreamy with the Catskills to the west. I swear every time I go over there, I'm going to find the exact spot that Rip Van Winkle fell asleep.

The historic Hudson River creates a long bucolic corridor that attracted the rich and famous. No wonder, the Hudson River School of Art was so named. The panoramas are awesome, but the trees don't take a back seat.

The re-measurements of those splendid trees on the Vanderbilt Estate really fired me up to get back over there. Thanks for what you and Erik are doing for NTS. It's almost as though we're being reborn, and I do love New York.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Staatsburgh State Historic Site

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:40 am

That pin oak height is extremely impressive. I think you're probably right that these would be planted- naturally occurring pin oak in that region seems to stick to more poorly drained soils where it has a competitive advantage, but which are not conducive to maximum height growth. I'm very fond of the species and I'll have to visit this tree if I can. As we get through more and more Hudson Valley sites, I think we'll end up having fewer sites that don't hit the 140'tulip-white pine/130'other threshold than sites that do.

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dbhguru
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Re: Staatsburgh State Historic Site

Post by dbhguru » Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:07 pm

Erik and Elijah,

It is becoming increasingly clear that Liriodendron tulipifera has returned to claim its rightful role as co-champion with the white pines as New York's tallest species.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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