Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site
4 Park Avenue, Stamford, NY(click image for larger view)
By Karen Cuccinello 1-2019
I have been working on a project compiling photos of the Village of Stamford “Then & Now”. The day I was photographing 36 Lake St. Robert “Bob” Schneider drove by on his way home and stopped to chat. He mentioned that he has wanted to look into the history of the house that he and his wife Susan bought at 4 Park Ave. Since his home is within the village limits I thought I would give it a try.
Park Ave. is within the area that was named Granthurst Park after the owners the Grant brothers. The area was surveyed and broken up into lots by civil engineer Edwin B. Codwise, of Kingston, NY, and filed at the Delaware County clerks office June 28, 1892.
Austin D. Middleton, of West 92nd Street, NYC, purchased a few lots that totaled seven acres (deed book 117-page 548) in1892 from Duncan K. Grant. He probably bought it at the first “lot” auction. The available lots were auctioned off every summer for about five years.
July 31, 1892 (NY Tribune) - Saratoga of the Catskills Auction Sale at Granthurst Park, 150 valuable building plots 50 X 150 feet - August 6, 1892- streets are 60 feet wide, sidewalks with double rows of shade trees, abundant spring water and electric lights. Grant Brothers, Stamford, NY.
March 14, 1893 Stamford Mirror (SM)- Workingmen are busy at Granthurst Park building the Middleton house. It is stated that it will take about two months to complete the building, and make it ready for occupancy. D.K. Grant, builder. (Bob was lead to believe the house was built in 1906)
On March 22, 1893 the Governor of NYS, Roswell Flower, approved an act that extend the boundaries of the village to include Granthurst Park.
The cottages were given names pertaining to something meaningful in the owners life or with their last name. The Middleton's named their cottage Halceter. What they called cottages in 1900 are what we would now call really large houses.
May 15, 1893 (SM)- One day last week, a MIRROR representative had the pleasure of taking a drive out to Granthurst Park, one of the promising and popular pleasure resorts of this village. It is owned by the Grant Brothers and they are making many improvements constantly. We drove direct to the Middleton cottage, now nearly completed, where we found the architect and builder, D. K. Grant, who kindly invited us to take a look at the interior of the new house. Hastily alighting, we soon were carefully inspecting the building in company with the builder. From the main highway, this building looms up conspicuously and presents the appearance of being one of the most modern buildings, architecturally, in this part of the country. Appearances do not deceive. The interior of the building is fully in keeping with outside looks and it is pleasantly appointed and a well arranged residence, equipped with all modern improvements, including electric light from Stamford electric light building.
Every room, is of good size, light and pleasant. If the occupant does not get full enjoyment from the. place it will be no fault of the builder, for it seems that all the master of the house will have to do, in most any room will be to press a button and the button does the business. Many of the fireplaces are models of neatness and look very fine. As Mr. Grant says "While toasting your Alns?? on a cool day, you can also have the pleasure of looking into a large mirror directly in front of you and located over a fireplace which reflects the hills and mountains of the land of Rip VanWinkle, including some portions of the village of Stamford. A fine view is also gained of the surrounding country from a porch on the second story. The design of the building is strikingly unique and Mr. Grant says it is the only private residence this side of the Hudson which so well represents the present day style of architecture.
The next weeks addition of the Mirror states that Edward Kelly, of Stamford, was doing the plumbing work, so the Middleton's probably moved in for the summer months of 1893.
Austin, his wife Catharine and daughter Louisa (another daughter Ellen had died young in 1888) spent summers, or part of summers in between going to Bermuda, up until the summer before his death in 1917. In 1917 Mr. and Mrs. M. Riegan and family of NYC, leased the Middleton Cottage for the season. Interestingly a deed (book 156-page 674) dated 1909 states the Village of Stamford owned the property and in the 1920's Nicholas P. Young payed the taxes (and I presume owned) on the Middleton Cottage, his own cottage and four other Grandhurst lots probably until 1941 when he died.
The Boynton family of West Orange, NJ and Pompano Beach, FL were the next permanent residents of Middleton Cottage. They leased it for a while, bought it in 1942 and named it “Ridgecrest”. According to a 1962 article reviewing Howard and Millie (Schoenberg) Boynton's surprise 45th wedding anniversary dinner at the Cold Spring Inn they started spending summers in Stamford in 1927. They were very active in community affairs, especially golf, and one of their sons, John, was even born in Stamford in 1929. They had an in-ground pool built in 1953, that they as well as the community enjoyed, which is no longer there. The four bedroom cottage that sits near the original Middleton house started out as a carriage house and was used by one of the Boyntons children and their family. Before Howard died, in 1970, the property was divided up.
In 1982 Deming and Ruth Lindsley bought The Middleton followed by the Schneider's in 2015.
The Schneiders do not have any old photo's of the whole house and I could not find any either. If anyone has one please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The color photo was taken recently by your truly. Thank you to Bob for helping with this story.
Additional photos -
Mrs. Millie Boynton ...
Mrs. Boynton's Pool ...
Middleton Cottage 1950s
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