An $800,000 grant will restore an original access route to historic Hyde Hall and provide a 100 foot long historically correct walking bridge for patrons to enter the grounds of the hall, Senator James L. Seward announced at a press conference today. Seward was joined by representatives of Hyde Hall at the announcement.
The grant comprises $640,000 in federal transportation funding and $160,000 in state dollars through the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
"Hyde Hall is significant for its history and its attractiveness as a tourism destination along the Route 20 scenic byway," Seward said. "With the loss of its traditional direct route to the mansion as a result of age and this year's weather, action was needed."
"After the June flood, we feared for our very future at Hyde Hall. But as this ceremony attests, our loss was indeed the seed of our gain," said Alice Smith Duncan, executive director of Hyde Hall. "We see access to Hyde Hall across this bridge of handsome, historic design and the adaptation of our unique Tin Top Gatehouse for much-expanded public use -- both promised by this wonderful grant -- as symbolic of an exciting future of mutual efforts between Hyde Hall and Glimmerglass State Park that benefits the people of New York and our whole world of visitors. Our board, staff and loyal supporters thank our trustee Kent Barwick for identifying the grant, but we are particularly and most profoundly grateful to Senator James Seward and to OPRHP for their embrace and pursuit of this opportunity, and to the New York and Federal DOT for their full funding of this important collaboration."
The project will create a new 20 car parking lot on the southern side of the entry road, from which patrons will walk on a new, handicapped accessible path and a bridge to the mansion grounds. The bridge design will be based on the original 1824 bridge drawings archived at Hyde Hall. Stream bed restoration and a new culvert are also included. Visitors will progress on foot through the "Tin Top" gate house, over the bridge, to the driveway of the mansion -- re-establishing the view of Hyde Hall intended by George Clarke.
Built by George Clarke in the early 1800s, Hyde Hall is considered the finest example of a neoclassical country mansion. It is listed as a National Historic Landmark and state historic site and operated by Friends of Hyde Hall, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
The total project could take as long as three years.