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Barrytown, New York facts for kids

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Old Barrytown train station
Former post office and general store at Barrytown

Barrytown is a hamlet (and census-designated place) within the town of Red Hook in Dutchess County, New York, United States. It is within the Hudson River Historic District, a National Historic Landmark, and contains four of the Hudson River Valley estates: Edgewater, Messena, Rokeby, and Sylvania.

Notable people associated with Barrytown

  • The American architect Alexander Jackson Davis designed several structures in Barrytown, including the octagonal addition to the Edgewater main house and the estate's two octagonal gatehouses (1853), located across from each other on what is now Station Hill Road. The South gatehouse is home to Baroque cellist Christine Gummere.
  • The American essayist and critic John Jay Chapman, a descendant of Chief Justice John Jay and grandson of the abolitionist Maria Weston Chapman, lived in Barrytown. His second wife, Elizabeth Chapman, owned the Edgewater estate from 1902 until 1917, and may have lived there briefly before the couple built the Sylvania estate on adjacent land.
  • During the 1950s, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Saul Bellow, while teaching at Bard College, rented lodgings at Sylvania, the estate belonging to Chanler Chapman, the son of John Jay Chapman; Chanler Chapman was the inspiration for the character "Henderson" in Bellow's 1959 novel Henderson the Rain King.
  • The author, playwright, screenwriter and journalist Gore Vidal lived at the Edgewater estate from 1950 to 1969, when he sold it to financier and preservationist Richard Jenrette. Vidal ran unsuccessfully for Congress from New York's 29th District (Dutchess County), using Edgewater as his base of operations; Eleanor Roosevelt campaigned for him.
  • During the 1950s, the reclusive film star Greta Garbo was a regular visitor to Barrytown, where she would stay with her friend Alan Porter.
  • The father of journalist Joan Walsh attended St. Joseph's Normal Institute in the late 1940s.
  • The financier and preservationist Richard Jenrette lived at the Edgewater estate from 1969 until his death in 2018.
  • The artist Gary Hill lived on Station Hill Road from 1977 to 1984, initially as a tenant of artist/poet George Quasha and artist Susan Quasha, in whose Stained Glass Studio Hill's works were filmed, including Why Do Things Get in a Muddle? (Come On Petunia) (1984) He later returned to Barrytown to collaborate with poets George Quasha and Charles Stein.
  • The classics scholar and public intellectual James Romm lives in Barrytown and teaches at Bard College.
  • The author, translator, critic and New York Review of Books editor Daniel Mendelsohn lives in Barrytown.
  • "Barrytown" is the name of a song recorded by Steely Dan on the 1974 album Pretzel Logic; Donald Fagen and the late Walter Becker, Steely Dan's leaders and songwriters, are alumni of nearby Bard College.

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