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 building is used to support environmental and historical education programs and in the future part of the building may be used 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 has been restored and is used for meetings and programs. Former board member Jeff Rose took charge of Phase 1 which 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, the kitchen, needed much more work than we had hoped. We had to rebuild that room, correcting structural problems while 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, took on this project with passion and precision.
Thanks to Jeff and Dave and all the other contractors who made Phase 1 a success.
In the fall of 2018, work commenced on rebuilding the east facing porch. This will be completed in 2019 and will return the porch to the way it looked in the late 1800s.
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/news2/hvvanews5-3.htm.