I was returning from a walk around Beacon Main Street when I noticed this striking house on the south side of Route 9D. I’d passed it before and always meant to stop so this time I did (actually I drove past it and then turned off 9D so I could make a u-turn. That lead me to something else of interest, but that’s the topic of another post) It’s a nice looking house, but I knew little about it so I took a couple of pictures and then moved on.

After doing some research I discovered that this was Tioronda, the former estate of Joseph Howland (1834-1886), a Union general in the Civil War as a well as a notable philanthopist who also commissioned the Howland Library – now known as the Howland Cultural Center. The house’s architect was Frederick Clarke Withers, once a partner of Calvert Vaux (better known as co-designer, with Frederick Law Olmsted, of Manhattan’s Central Park.)

Tioronda became the first licensed private psychiatric hospital in the United States. The name was changed to Craig House in 1915 and it operated until 1995 as a sanitarium. One of the more famous patients was Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s been empty since 1999 and seems to be in decline.

Rob Yasinsac of Hudson Valley Ruins reported:

It seems that in 1911, the estate became property of the University Settlement, a social services program for immigrants and low-income families, which later kept land east of present-day Route 9D while the mansion and primary estate grounds became Craig House Sanitarium, a private psychiatric hospital founded By Dr. C. Jonathan Slocum in 1915.

An institution known as the Putnam Center acquired the estate in the 1990s and closed down just a few years later. A 2003 auction emptied the house of its fine furnishings and antiques. Investor and art collector John L. Stewart bought Tioronda that same year and in this time the property has remained disused. Stewart’s company Tioronda, LLC, plans a “small residential development” on the estate. The mansion will be a single-family residence. In October 2011, two buildings, the carriage house and a workshop, were demolished.

Leave a Reply