CASTLE ROCK UNIQUE AREA
Route 9D, Philipstown, Putnam County, New York


Directions:

Just south of the intersection of NY 9D and NY 403 is Garrison Golf Course. Opposite the green are fields. You can see the castle up there on the ridge. Watch the stone wall that lines the east side of the highway for two stone pillars. The right pillar says "Wing and Wing 1857." This name comes from the original farmhouse on the estate William Osborne bought in 1855, which was enlarged with additions many times. The left pillar says "Castlerock 1881." Drive through the pillars and park off the dirt road by the barns where the trumpet vines climb over the ailanthus.


History:

Also known as Osborne Castle, this Hudson Highlands Castle was built in 1881 by the railroad magnate, William Henry Osborne, a native of Salem, Massachusetts. The Castle may be seen from Route 9d south of Route 403. William H. Osborne was brought up in Connecticut. The painter Frederick Church was a childhood friend.

Castle Rock sits on the crest of a ridge. The picturesque ideal of the times called for a romantic castle on the Rhine. Frederick Church actually suggested the location for the castle, as well as participating in the design. Castle Rock is two and a half stories high of rough-cut granite masonry. A round tower with a red slate roof dominate the center of the building. (Dunwell 1991:124)

Osborne made a fortune in the Philippine shipping trade. He met the Sturges family while on vacation at Saratoga Springs, New York, and married their daughter, Virginia, in 1853.

Jonathan Sturges, Virginia's father, started out in the wholesale grocery business as a partner of the leading New York merchant Luman Reed. Reed died in 1836 and Sturges took over the commercial empire. He also invested in the Illinois Central railroad. (Strouse 1999:7879)

Osborne became president of the Illinois Central. He retired as president in 1865 but remained active as a director until 1876. He and his wife actively promoted the welfare of railroad employees.

Osborne used to vacation at the West Point hotel (Cozzens' Hotel) with his friend J. P. Morgan. Jr. It was as a summer boarder that he first fell in love with the Hudson Highlands. (Dunwell 1991:124) Osborne and his wife, Virginia Sturges Osborne, had a sister, Amelia Sturges, who would also visit the family. Even though she was two years older than Morgan, he soon fell in love with her. They married in 1861. Unfortunately, she died the following year.

Osborne was an early advocate of conservation. He was related to J. P. Morgan because both men were married to a Sturges sister. Osborne was involved with conservation inspired by the effort to save the Palisades from destruction (see Forest View in the Palisades section in the piedmont of New Jersey section).

In 1906 Henry Fairfield Osborne, Osborne's son, expanded Castle Rock by adding a north wing and library. The mansion holds 34 rooms and four interior chimneys. (Dunwell 1991:125)

Morgan's nephew, Henry Fairfield Osborne, went to Princeton as an undergraduate where he studied paleontology (graduating in 1877). He did graduate work at Princeton, Columbia and in England and he worked under T. H. Huxley and even met Charles Darwin. He earned a doctorate from Princeton in 1880 and taught comparative anatomy at that school until 1890 when he became the head of Columbia's Biology Department. He also served as curator of vertebrate paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. In 1908 he became president of the museum. He married Lucretia Perry, a descendant of Oliver Hazard Perry and Commodore Matthew Perry. (Strouse 1999:272 & 379)

Mrs. Perry Osborne Jr. was forced to sell via auction what was left of the large estate. Mr. Douglas Banker is one of the castle's present owners (Randall 1995:100).


Trails:

6/01/95. I went east across private lands; south past gazebo; east to Lake Elizabeth; striped maples; north to top of mountain 665'; west to stone wall; horseshoe bend; cliff; north; west back to parking area.

10/08/03. South along fence; waling through the field southeast; at the gazebo turn right; left at stone wall; walking beside a waterfall in a ravine; left turn, northeast; lots of goose-foot maple; cross over a small bridge; this is a switch-back trail; lots of dead hemlocks all over the place; come to a pond on the left of the trail; come to the junction with the blue tail (see another gazebo up the blue trail); head right, still following the red trail, up to Sugarloaf Hill; get a nice view of Bear Mountain Bridge; lots of fog this morning the in Hudson River Valley; return off Sugarloaf Hill and take the blue trail; come to a second pond; come to a third pond; reach the junction with the yellow trail; went up the informal trail toward the castle until I reach a sign saying "Restricted Area: No Trespassing." Turned around and returned to the parking area.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick Louis Cooney
dates = dates plants found in bloom


Trees:
Acer pensylvanicum (goosefoot maple) lots and lots
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Aralia spinosa (Hercules' club)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Castanea dentata (chestnut tree)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juglans nigra (black walnut)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Ostrya virginiana (American hop hornbeam)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus grandidentata (big-tooth aspen)
Prunus serotina (black cherry) 6/1/95
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus americana (American elm)
(a halberd-leaved maple)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Decodon verticillatus (yellow loosestrife)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus) 6/1/95
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Lindera benzoin (spice bush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Quercus ilicifolia (bear oak)
Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry raspberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Rubus not shiny dewberry)
Spiraea sp. (spiraea)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum (hairy arrowwood viburnum) 6/1/95
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)
Viburnum sieboldii (Siebold's viburnum)

Vines:
Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper) 6/1/95 10/08/03
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asian bittersweet) 6/1/95
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vincetoxicum nigrum (black swallowwort) lots of it and esp. on Sugarloaf Hill
Vitis sp. (grape)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)
Ajuga repens (bugleweed) 6/1/95
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 6/1/95
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Antennaria sp. (pussytoes)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster) 10/08/03
Aster spp. (heath-like asters) 10/08/03
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy) 6/1/95
Cichorium intybus (chicory) 10/08/03
Conyza canadensis (horseweed)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) 10/08/03
Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches)
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pileweed)
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Galium mollugo (wild madder)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium) 6/1/95
Hedeoma pulegioides (American pennyroyal)
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket) 6/1/95
Hieracium paniculatum (panicled hawkweed) 10/08/03
Impatiens sp. (white impatiens) horticultural, planted 10/08/03
Leonurus cardiaca (motherwort)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs) 10/08/03
Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco)
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil) 6/1/95
Lycopus sp. (bugleweed)
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife)
Opuntia humifusa (prickly pear cactus)
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) 6/1/95 10/08/03
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 10/08/03
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil) 6/1/95
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) 10/08/03
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup) 6/1/95
Rumex acetosella (field sorrel dock)
Sedum sp. (stonecrop)
Silene latifolia (white campion) 6/1/95
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Solanum carolinense (horse nettle)
Solidago bicolor (silverrod)
Solidago rugosa (rough-leaved goldenrod) 10/08/03
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) 6/1/95 10/08/03
Thalictrum sp. (meadowrue)
Tragopogon pratensis (yellow goatsbeard) 6/1/95
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 6/1/95 10/08/03
Trifolium repens (white clover) 6/1/95 10/08/03
Trifolium sp. (low hop clover) 6/1/95
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell) 6/1/95
Vicia angustifolia (narrow-leaved vetch) 6/1/95
Viola spp. (violets)
(chickweed) 6/1/95

Rushes:
Juncus bufonius (toad rush) ?
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Sedges:
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge type)
Carex lurida type (sallow sedge type, but inflorescence shorter, & fatter)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Dulichium arundinaceum (three-way sedge)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark green bulrush)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)

Grasses:
Cinna arundinacea (wood reed grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Elymus hystrix (bottle-brush grass)
Festuca sp. (fescue grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Phleum pratense (timothy grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Dryopteris carthusiana (toothed woodfern) ?
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal wood fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)