Near the southernmost tip of Croton Point, Teller’s Point are a number of wooden cabins. I couldn’t see inside, but I could see toilet facilities outside and from reading I’m led to believe that the cabins have electricity, water and at least in some cases have tv (although apparently ancient tv sets). The location of the cabins is superb with views out over Croton Bay for those on one side of Teller’s Point and of the Hudson River on the other.
It’s perhaps not surprising that the views are so spectacular because it’s here that the old mansion used to stand. It was called Interwasser (meaning between waters) and additional information can be found in an interesting piece by Sarah Gibbs Underhill (a descendant of the original owners) entitled Tales from Croton Point on Brickcollecting.com (more on the connection to brick making later).
Picnicing on the Lawn at Interwasser, Croton Point, NY from the piece mentioned above.
Dr. Richard T. Underhill, b. 1802, the vintner and proprietor of the southern part of Croton Point, had discontinued his medical practice in New York City to take up residence out on the tip of the Point. He built an Italianate villa there in 1846 as his residence which he christened “Interwasser”. In 1850 four English yew trees were planted in front of this home and I can imagine his brother William, of the IXL word-play, having a lot of fun with the term “U’s yews”.
Today few traces of the house remain; only a few Ashlar marble foundation stones peeking out of the ground, and an old stone hitching post. I pitch my tent on this site during the Clearwater festival and enjoy the site inhabited by my forebears. Cooled by river breezes and with wonderful views of the Hudson (more so in the winter when the leaves are off the trees), it is still a spectacular spot. The four yew trees are still standing, and have grown to heights of 60 to 100 feet. Since this species can live to be up to 1,000 years old, I have undertaken the task of tending to their health (see press release below). An unpublished but formally written historical account left by an Underhill descendant in the Westchester County Historical Society collection describes “Interwasser” thus: “Ashlar marble quarried at (nearby) Sing-Sing and cut by prison labor formed the basement while the upper portion was stuccoed brick. Over the front door was a tower room enjoying extensive views up and down the river. It was another large and commodious house given to hospitality and one of the show pieces in the county. Visitors from far and near were attracted to the Point houses, as traditions and letters bear ample testimony. Among the many assets of the place were shad fishing and crabbing, duck shooting and hunting, boating and skating, together with the wonderful gardens and orchards and all permeated with the most cordial atmosphere.”
Cabin facing Croton Bay with the Bay in the background.
Cabin facing the Hudson River with the river in the background.