What we call “Historic Hudson Valley” today started out as “Sleepy Hollow Restorations” in 1951 and was started by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in a wonderful effort to preserve history and education the public. Rockefeller gave the educational trust 20 million dollars when it started in the care of Philipsburg Manor, Van Cortlandt Manor, Sunnyside and Kykuit.
Thankfully, he saw in all the potential to educate the public about the history and culture of the Hudson River Valley and wished to assure their preservation and public access.
Rockefeller purchased Sunnyside in 1945 from Washington Irving’s collateral descendants and underwrote its restoration. In 1950, Rockefeller arranged for the transfer of title to Philipsburg Manor, which had been operated by the Historic Society of the Tarrytowns, to Sleepy Hollow Restorations, and in 1953, he acquired Van Cortlandt Manor and brought a team of historians and architects from Colonial Williamsburg to restore and refurnish it.
And so began the festivities which continue to this day! Sleepy Hollow Restoration membership included free admission to all events which included colonial parties, Dutch day observances, candlelight tours, showings of Irving’s work, Autumn festivals, bus tours to all sites and access to Sleepy Hollow Press which provided newsletters, calendars, and books on the region.
From the Private Collection of Julia McCue, owner of Horsefeathers Restaurant located at 94 North Broadway, Tarrytown.