300-year-old building is home to museum and Ulster Historical Society
by Rebecca Shea
The Bevier House was first settled in the 1680s and
began as a one room structure, constructed by Andres
Van Leuven. Photo by Mimi Quinn.
Lucky for us, Ulster County has a great collection of old stone houses. They are sublime. Old stone houses look fiercely elegant in the landscape and their interiors are often charmingly redolent of the past. One such fine house is the Bevier House on Route 209 in Marbletown, now the Bevier House Museum, and headquarters of the Ulster County Historic Society.
The over 300-year-old Bevier House is an amazing asset to our community. The Ulster County Historic Society received the house in 1938 from Louis Bevier and his sisters. They had occupied the house and site for seven generations. The stately house effectively meets the Historic Society’s mission as curator and collector of significant Hudson Valley artifacts, documents, and cultural items and to educate our community and public on the very important role Ulster County has played in the formation of our nation.
The building is of excellent design and contains many items of beauty and interest. Today’s Ulster County residents can find enormous inspiration and practical knowledge within the exhibits and special events.
The house includes a fascinating kitchen dating back to c.1680, and carefully and accurately dressed rooms in the Victorian style. Sometimes, to our modern eye the Victorian home can be overwhelming with its profusion of objects. Victorians loved to decorate—filling almost every open space with some little treasure. Even picture frames were elaborate. You can see some fine examples of pinecone picture frames in the second floor hall. They are a marvel of ingenuity. It took great inspiration and skill to create these. They are astonishing.
Also of note, the tool room, known as the Peter Sinclair Gallery of Early American Crafts and Trades, holds an extensive collection of farm and homestead equipment, many demonstrated in their use. This exhibit is fun and informative—a must for any country homeowner.
On the house’s formidable façade is an intriguing detail, about 12 feet up at the southwest corner, the remains of a vertical sundial is visible. Sundials are fascinating, stimulating with all their complexities. This particular vertical sundial seems a unique addition to a residential home; they were most often installed on civic buildings. The Museum’s director believes that the sundial was built into the second level of the house sometime in the last quarter of the 19th century.
Two upcoming events at Bevier House Museum are an opportunity to see the Museum and participate in their wonderful education outreach. November 26 is A Children’s Christmas, which will include period craft building, carol singing, and snacks plus a visit from St. Nicholas. November 26, 12-3pm. Fee: $5.00, call for reservations. 845-338-5614.
On December 3 and 4, Bevier Museum holds their Holiday Open House and fundraiser. This is a beautiful event and an easy way to support the UCHS. Just pop in and enjoy. The house is decorated in Victorian holiday grandeur, there is music, snacks, and inspiration—and good cheer abounds. December 3 & 4, 12-4pm. Fee: $5 members, $8 nonmembers.
The Bevier House Museum is open May 1 to October 31, Thursday to Sunday, 12-5pm. Admission: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students ages 5-15, children under 5 are free. Library & Archives: Open only by appointment. Call or email firstname.lastname@example.org.