Milestones

Milestone Pictures

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1964

17 August.  Sally Church dies peacefully in her sleep.  Her nephew, Charles Lark, Jr., is appointed co-executor; he and several other relatives will share the bulk of the estate.

Early September.  David Huntington learns that Olana and its contents are to be auctioned.

mid-November.  An ad hoc Olana Preservation Committee is formed and meets with the estate executors.

1965

March/April. Olana Preservation, Inc created.

Olana Preservation leases Olana with an agreement to purchase the property for $470,000.

Olana is designated a National Historic Landmark.

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Governor Rockefeller Signing the Lane-Newcombe Bill, 27 June 1966.  Left to right: Assemblyman Clarence Lane, Senator Lloyd Newcombe, Governor Rockefeller and Alexander Aldrich, President of Olana Preservation.  Courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center.

1966

David Huntington’s The Landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church:  Vision of an American Era published.

February.  David Huntington and curator Richard Wunder organize an exhibition of Church’s works at the National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution.

Mid-May.   Life Magazine article on Olana.

22 June.  New York State Legislature passes bill authorizing State of New York to purchase Olana.

27 June.  Governor Nelson Rockefeller signs the bill into law at Olana.

29 July.  Olana Preservation purchases Olana.

13 December.  Conveys title to the State of New York.

1967

3 June.  Olana opens to the public as a New York State Historic Site.

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Olana’s original guides and hosts Mary Ann Bikes, Alice Gold, Kay Sterns, Ruby Funk, Ruth Karmer and Mary Mazzacano in the Court Hall, c. 1960s, Olana Collection

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View from Olana with Superimposed Simulated Nuclear Cooling Tower
(detail), 1979, photograph #4363-77, Courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Dept. of Energy.

1972-1979

A nuclear power plant is proposed across the river from Olana.  A Church oil sketch and Olana’s cultural significance help to convince the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reject the plan.

1993

The Catskill-Olana Scenic Area of Statewide Significance (5-1/2 miles long and 3 miles wide along the Hudson River) is designated by the New York Department of State.

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Courtesy of Scenic Hudson

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1994

The Catalogue Raisonné of Works of Art at Olana State Historic Site is published with the support of The Friends of Olana.

1996

The Historic Landscape Report sponsored by the Friends of Olana is completed.

Friends of Olana hires its first executive director.

The lake at Olana is dredged.

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The dredging of the man-made ten-acre lake cleared weeds and muck to restore the original appearance. photo by Robert M. Toole

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2000

Friends of Olana becomes The Olana Partnership.  Across the Hudson River, the design of the Athens Generating Plant is significantly altered to minimize the impact on the Olana Viewshed.

2001

TOP and the NYS OPRHP adopt the Final Comprehensive Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for Olana State Historic Site. Historic Furnishings Report for Olana State Historic Site is published in 3 volumes. It documents the history of and gives recommendation for the restoring of the interiors on the first floor of the main house.

The Olana Partnership co-hosts its first academic symposium with the newly opened Thomas Cole National Historic Site to celebrate the 200 year anniversary of the birth of the founder of the Hudson River School.

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2002

Several paintings from Olana are featured in American Sublime, a groundbreaking international exhibition of American landscape paintings at the Tate, London.  The Olana Partnership hosts a trip for supporters to view the exhibition.

2003

The Olana Partnership and the NYS OPRHP support a major loan of historic photographs from the collection for the exhibition Fire and Ice which travels to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, after opening at the Dahesh in NYC.

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Restoration contractors placed a capstone on the rebuilt Studio Tower in 2004. Photograph courtesy New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

2004

The Olana Partnership and NYS OPRHP complete a multi-year project to fully restore the exterior of the main house at Olana, including the repainting and decorative stencils on the cornices, repointing of stonework, conservation of the original brick surfaces, reconstruction of the bluestone terraces and stairs, and the complete reconstruction of the Studio Tower and several chimneys.

2005

St. Lawrence Cement’s proposal to build a massive coal-fired cement plant in the Olana Viewshed is denied by the Department of Stat.

Treasures from Olana an exhibition of Olana’s collection organized by The Olana Partnership and New York State travels to six national venues (2005-2007).

Ridge Road and the historic views across the Hudson River and toward Mount Merino are restored; second-growth vegetation is removed and native meadows are established (2005-2007).

Ridge Road
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2006

Cosy Cottage, the Church family’s first home, is restored.

2007

The installation of fire suppression and climate-control systems in the main house is completed.

The main house at Olana is reopened after an 18-month closure to install new fire suppression and climate control systems. The $2.2 million project is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and matching funds provided by NYS OPRHP.

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Wagon House being reconstructed as an Education Center in 2008.

2008

May. The Olana Partnership restores the historic farm stable building and reconstructs a shed and wagon house as Olana’s first year-round educational facility.

Utility wires at Olana are moved underground.

The reproduction of the 19th-century wall-to-wall carpet for the Court Hall is installed as part of the full-scale furnishings restoration of this signature room in the main house.

2009

The second floor of the main house is opened to the public, and The Olana Partnership inaugurates the Evelyn and Maurice Sharp Gallery with the award-winning exhibition Glories of the Hudson.

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2010

The fully restored second-floor bedroom suite of Frederic and Isabel Church opens to the public.

Olana’s first landscape curator position is created.

The Coachman’s House opens to the public for the first time.

2011

The Olana Partnership organizes its award-winning Viewshed Symposium.

The Olana Partnership secures major grants for the restoration of Olana’s landscape.

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2012-2015

The Olana Partnership spearheads a series of landscape projects: the recovery of farm fields and early farm buildings foundations, Crown Hill, the North Meadow, the stone retaining wall above the flower garden, and the steep slope beneath the main house to restore the Hudson River view.

2016

June 27. The Olana Partnership and New York State celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 50th anniversary of Governor Rockefeller signing the bill to acquire Olana for New York State.

The Olana Partnership offers regular guided historic landscape tours alongside tours of the main house either by electric vehicle or by walking.

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