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An Exceptional Sense of Place

By Linda Tancs

Frederic Church, a major Hudson River School painter, had talents beyond the brush. A self-taught architect and landscape designer, he indulged his influences from world travels in the design and construction of a Victorian villa with Middle Eastern accents and named it Olana after a fortress-treasure house in ancient Greater Persia. Its 250-acre naturalistic landscape is one of Church’s great works of art and is one of the most intact artist-designed landscapes in the United States. Because it was created in the area of the birthplace of the Hudson River School arts movement, it possesses an exceptional sense of place—not to mention enviable views of the Hudson River valley. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Olana’s opening to the public, which includes the seasonal, popular guided house tour and year-round, self-guided landscape tours.

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