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Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park (Canandaigua, New York)

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posted by Ken Lane alias @CarShowShooter on Saturday 2nd of March 2019 03:07:42 PM

Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park is a 50-acre (20 ha) state park located at 151 Charlotte Street in Canandaigua, New York, at the north end of Canandaigua Lake, in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. The house and gardens are open to the public every day, May through October. The property was once the summer home of Frederick Ferris Thompson, a prominent banker in New York City, and his wife Mary Clark Thompson, whose father, Myron Holley Clark, was Governor of New York State in 1855. The Clark family was from Canandaigua. Mr. & Mrs. Thompson's main home was in NYC in a large townhouse on Madison Avenue. The Thompsons purchased the Sonnenberg property in 1863, keeping the name, Sonnenberg (which means "sunny hill" in German). In 1887, they replaced the original farmhouse with a forty-room Queen Anne style mansion. The property also had a 100-acre (40 ha) farm to the east. Sonnenberg's gardens were designed and built between 1902–1919, and originally consisted of nine gardens in a variety of styles. The Thompsons had no children. The nephew who inherited the estate after Mary Clark Thompson's death in 1923 sold the property to the Federal Government in 1931, who built a veteran's hospital (today the Canandaigua VA Medical Center) on the adjacent farmland. The government used the mansion to house doctor's families and some nurses. In 1972, by an act of Congress called the Sonnenberg Bill, the mansion and its grounds were transferred from the Federal Government to a local non-profit organization formed to restore and reopen the property. It was opened to the public in 1973. All nine gardens have been restored and visitors can tour the mansion. In 2005, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation bought the estate. It is still operated by the non-profit. Built between 1885 and 1887, the 40-room Queen Anne style mansion was designed by Francis Allen, a noted Boston architect. Allen also designed and oversaw the remodeling of the mansion approximately 15 years after it was constructed. Two of the three floors are furnished and open to the public. The mansion's facade is rusticated graystone with Medina sandstone trim and gables made from timber and stucco. The roof is slate with lead-coated copper. Source:

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  • Published 01.20.22
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