Friday, 15 July 2016

Sonnenburg Mansion, Canandaigua, NY

Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park is a 50-acre (20 ha) state park[3] 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 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.[1] 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.[1] 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.

Friday, 15 July 2016