View from The Willows toward the river. View from The Willows toward the river.

The Project

The Greene Land Trust purchased this historic home from Scenic Hudson on October 1, 2009. The house was built in 1788 for William Brandow. The building is locally known as the Willows at Brandow's point and is located at  480 Route 385 in the town of Athens, Greene County. In November 2009 the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The building is surrounded by land owned by DEC and the County owned Cohotate Nature Preserve is nearby, both have access to the Hudson River. The Trust plans to use the building to support environmental and historical education programs and in the future will also plan to use part of the building as office space for the land trust.

In December 2013 we celebrated the completion of Phase 1 of our renovation with an open house. The first floor is now ready to go and will be the site for exciting programs. Board member and treasurer Jeff Rose took charge and Phase 1 brought all the major systems up to modern standards, replacing radiators that had been destroyed by freezing, replacing the antiquated and hazardous electric system and installing new plumbing. We also painstakingly restored the windows, fixing rotten sashes and installing antique glass in broken panes. Restoring or replacing wooden storms made the house much tighter.

As is often the case in renovation projects we found that the south room needed much more work than we had hoped and we had to rebuild that room, correcting structural problems and reusing original materials as much as possible. We were fortunate to find a stash of wide boards for flooring in the new kitchen. We were also fortunate to hook up with Renaissance Custom Builders because carpenter (and more) Dave Bova who took on this project with passion and precision.

Thanks to Jeff and Dave and all the other contractors who made Phase 1 a success.

Double Dutch door. Double Dutch door. Historic Dutch door hinges in the Willows property.Historic Dutch door hinges in the Willows property.

The House and Family

The house sits on a hill overlooking the Hudson River. The Willows is a relatively large home for the period and is built in the Hudson Valley Dutch Georgian style. It retains much of its historic character including two original split Dutch doors. It was originally built with four bays Dutch style and was subsequently expanded to six bays.  

The farm was owned by the Brandow family for nearly 200 years being purchased by William Brandow from Annake Witbeck in the late 1700s. There is evidence that William's father Johannes had leased the property for a number of years prior to the purchase. The Brandow, family came to the Hudson Valley with the 1710 Palatine German immigration.

A group from Hudson Valley Vernacular Architecture visited the house and published an article about it that is available at their website http://www.hvva.org/hvvanews5-3.htm.

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