The Hudson River shores of Dutchess County are well known for the incredible Gilded Age homes of prominent families like the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Roosevelts. However, Staatsburg, the home of the Mills family is just as grand and worth touring as the others.
Known today as Staatsburgh State Historic Site or the Mills Mansion, this enormous Gilded Age mansion was the property of Ogden Mills, a prominent banker and racehorse breeder, and his wife Ruth.
There has been a home on this plot of land just north of Hyde Park, New York since the late 18th century. After the first home was destroyed in 1832, a new home was built. This home was expanded several times over the years, finally reaching its current size (65 rooms), in 1895.
As with many of the other homes in the area, this was a vacation home, typically used in the autumn, with the family staying in the area through Christmas. It’s truly amazing to think such a large and ornate home was only one of several residences for the Mills family.
Today, the home itself is not only a state historic site, but it also sits in the middle of the 750-acre Ogden Mills & Ruth Livingston Mills State Park. This park is named after the people who owned Staatsburgh, and the park includes some great hiking opportunities and a campground for those exploring the area.
While the park is open year-round, the Beaux Arts-style home is open for tours during the warmer months of the year and is a really interesting place to tour.
Tours start from the small gift shop and museum located in the home’s basement and pre-booking is highly recommended.
While you wait for your tour, take a few minutes to explore the museum, which offers a nice overview of the history of the land, the home, and the people who lived here. I especially liked that they put a large focus on the servants who lived and worked on the property in this museum and not just the wealthy owners.
Also take a few minutes either before or after your tour to marvel at the beauty of the home’s exterior. You’d be forgiven for thinking you somehow ended up in Washington, D.C. and are staring at the White House thanks to the home’s impressive columns and stark white color.
Tours of Staatsburgh last about an hour and take you through many of the rooms on the home’s main floor and second floor. Along the way, there is great information about the furnishings and how to Mills family used the home during their time there.
Probably the most impressive space is the front parlor, which is adjacent to the main staircase. Not only are the room and the staircase quite stunning, but the decorations on the walls and the ceiling are simply incredible.
The tapestries hanging on the walls and the painted ceiling are incredibly well preserved, and it’s easy to see how they would have even been more magnificent during the home’s heyday.
The tour also visits several bedrooms in the home, and it’s interesting to see how the ultra-wealthy at the turn of the 20th century lived.
Downstairs, another room that I personally found to be very impressive was the dining room, which could seat a very large number of visitors amongst the regal green and gold furnishings. The most well-to-do members of New York society would come here thanks to the Mills connections.
Just to showcase the money the family came from, Ogden Mills’ wife, Ruth Livingston Mills, was the cousin of John Jacob Astor IV, one of the richest men in the world at the time of his death on the Titanic. Interestingly, the Mills had tickets on the Titanic’s second voyage back to Europe which they obviously never got to use.
Even having previously toured several other Gilded Age homes in the Hudson Valley, I still quite enjoyed my visit to Staatsburgh. While the home is just as opulent as that of the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers, the home is also quite unique in its designs and artistic choices, making it a fascinating spot to visit.
So, if you want to get a glimpse into the opulence of this time period, I highly recommend taking a bit of time to check out the incredible Staatsburgh Mansion in Dutchess County, NY.
Staatsburgh State Historic Site
Hours: Times vary. See website.
Cost: Adults: $10, Kids: Free
Address: 75 Mills Mansion Drive
See map below for other area attractions.