Kinderhook Town, Columbia County, NY

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Lindenwald [1]

Lindenwald was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

This house was built in 1797. The knocker on the old front door of this famous mansion bears the date 1797. This however, refers to the building of the small and much less imposing building, which was the beginning of this Mansion and was erected by Peter Van Ness. There was still an earlier house on the place when Peter Van Ness bought it about 1780. The house of 1797 was greatly improved by Judge Van Ness, a son, and still more improved and enlarged by Mr. Van Buren on his return from Washington, when he named it "Lindenwald."

Many of the most distinguished men of the period of the Van Ness and Van Buren families were entertained here, among whom were Henry Clay, Washington Irving, and Samuel J. Tilden.

Lindenwald is situated about 2 miles south of Kinderhook on the Old Post Road, from New York to Albany and sets about 400 or 500 feet back from the road, surrounded by old fir or pine trees. Two separate driveways lead up to the house.

The house is brick, painted yellow and 7 windows wide. The main building has two stories and a large garrett. Three chimneys rise above the main or front part of the house, two to the north and a wide one to the south. The middle of the front is pedimented, and there is a dormer on each side of the gable, which in the bedroom story below has a large triple central window, with a curved pedimental top and two windows on each side. The two windows on the south side are in the room where Van Buren died.

Before the center of the main story is a small covered portico, with an easy flight of steps and balusters. To the left is the living room or double parlor, to the right the sitting room and dining room.

The oblong house is four windows deep on the north side. A colonade or arched porch separates it from a domestic building, mainly kitchen and laundry. This undoubtedly was the Peter Van Ness original home.

The library was added in the rear of the south side by Mr. Van Buren, and next to this he built a tower, like a donjan keep with and Italian summit, the openings few and slitted; the object, stateliness and the view.

On the little porch the door knocker mentioned above bearing the date "1797," is a small blue or black brass object in which is a head in relief.

Beyond the floor is a fine straight hall. The four doors opening off of it are of early carpentry. At the rear, nearly concealed in the side of the hall, under sort of an alcove is the stairway, wide and low and long-stepped. The main feature of the hall, is the foreign wallpaper, in large landscapes, representing hunters on horseback and with guns and dogs breaking into Rhenish vales, where milkmaids are surprised and invite flirtation. The human figures are nearly a foot high, the mountains and woods, rocks and streams, panoramic, the colors dark and loud.

After the death of Van Buren the house was sold several times. Since 1874 it has been owned by one of the most thrifty farmers, Adam E. Wagoner.

Reference: A History of Old Kinderhook, by Edward A. Collier.

  1. H. Mayer, Lindenwald — Home of Martin Van Buren, Historic American Buildings Survey [HABS NY-6021], Albany District Office, date unreadable,, accessed, March 2008.

Street Names
Old Post Road

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