A visit to the Armour-Stiner House – One last picture

In the previous post I said that it would be the final set of pictures I would post on the Armour-Stiner house, but I couldn’t resist sharing this one because in a remarkable house this is probably its most remarkable feature.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take the picture, instead finding it on the internet. Why did I not take it? Well, apart from a couple of private rooms kept locked and used only by the owner, this was the only part of the house that we were not allowed to visit. I’m not sure exactly why, but the guide said something about the town not allowing it.

Apparently this room on the fourth floor was once the ballroom and the spiral staircase ascends to a cupola with what must be a spectacular view across the Hudson River.

A visit to the Armour-Stiner House – The Grounds

A final set of pictures from the Armour-Stiner house in Irvington, NY. The grounds are not large and there’s not much in the way of flower beds, but there are a number of interesting structures. I found the greenhouse to be particularly interesting. A number of the buildings are replicas of those that once existed, but the greenhouse is apparently a restored Lord & Burnham Greenhouse.








Taken with a Sony A7IV and Sony FE 24mm f2.8 G.

A visit to the Armour-Stiner House – Overview and Exterior Shots

A while back I went to visit the Iconic Armour-Stiner (Octagon) House in Irvington, NY. I first came across it in 2012 while walking along the Old Croton Aqueduct trail, which passes right next to it. At that time it was not possible to visit the house, which is in private hands. However the present owner allows tours when he is not living there. So I took one.

The Armour-Stiner (Octagon) House is one of the most visually unique homes in the world. It is the only known, fully domed octagonal residence and the only house which replicates Donato Bramante’s 1502 Tempietto in Rome. The elegantly proportioned Tempietto was built in the form of a Tholos, an ancient classical temple, which complemented America’s third quarter of the 19th-century fascination with classical forms.

In 19th century America, octagonal houses were a popular mode of construction following the publication of a book, The Octagon House, A Home for All, by Orson Squire Fowler, a phrenologist, sexologist, and amateur architect. In 1872, an earlier and simpler house was purchased by Joseph Stiner, a prominent New York City tea merchant. His alterations created the present lyrical structure. With plans to use the house as a summer retreat, Stiner added the dome and the verandah to create a classical, elaborately detailed ancient temple whimsically colored, detailed, and decorated so as to amuse its viewers.

Subsequent owners of the house have been imaginative men. In the 1930s it was occupied by Aleko Lilius, a Finnish writer and explorer who had lived with a female pirate who had plundered ships off the coast of China. One of the most celebrated occupants was Carl Carmer, the author, poet, and historian. Carmer resided in the house from 1940 to the time of his death in 1976. His legacy includes tales of a resident ghost. The house plays a role in a number of his published tales.

Shortly after the death of Carl Carmer, the house was acquired by National Trust for Historic Preservation. In need of stabilization and conservation, it was the first house to be acquired by the National Trust and resold, in 1978, to a private citizen. Joseph Pell Lombardi, the owner, is a preservation architect specializing in conservation, restoration, and historic preservation throughout the world. Under the direction of Lombardi’s son, Michael Hall Lombardi has managed, researched and performed restoration work throughout the house, including the Egyptian Revival Room, Basement, Kitchen, Greenhouse & Studio, and much of the decorative surfaces.

The house and grounds have been restored to their 1872 appearance. The interior of the house, its decoration, and its 1870s furnishings are the best display in the country of the American neo-Roman style, popular for a brief period in the third quarter of the 19th century. Under the guidance of Michael Hall Lombardi, the only domestic Egyptian Revival room still in existence with its original 19th-century furnishings and decoration has been reinstated. The house has been the subject of numerous articles and awards. Since 2012, it has been featured in a full-length book by Joseph Pell Lombardi available on his website (Armour-Stiner house website).

In September 2017, the owner apparently offered the house for rent through Sotheby’s, for $40,000 a month. I have no idea if there were any takers, or if the offer is still valid.









Taken with a Sony A7IV and Sony FE 24mm f2.8 G.

A view from the train

View home of the Henry Hudson Bridge near Spuyten Duyvil Metro North Station taken while returning home from NY City.

A bridge at this location was proposed as early as 1906, but Spuyten Duyvil residents and other civic groups opposed the bridge, arguing that it would destroy the virgin forest of Inwood Hill Park and bring traffic congestion to Bronx communities. Robert Moses preferred the route along the Hudson River because he was able to receive the land to build the Henry Hudson Parkway at no cost and use federal labor to build the parkway. The construction of the bridge helped open the Riverdale neighborhood to development.

The bridge was designed by David B. Steinman, drawing upon his 1911 Ph.D. thesis in civil engineering at Columbia University. Named to commemorate the voyage of Henry Hudson on the Half Moon, which anchored near the site in 1609, it was the longest plate girder arch and fixed arch bridge in the world when it opened in 1936.

The bridge has two roadway levels carrying a total of seven traffic lanes and a pedestrian walkway and spans Spuyten Duyvil Creek just east of where the tidal strait meets the Hudson River. The bridge is part of the Henry Hudson Parkway, New York State Route 9A. To its west, at five feet above water level, is the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge, which is used by Amtrak trains to Albany, New York and other points north. The Spuyten Duyvil Metro-North station is under the Henry Hudson Bridge on the Bronx side.

The original single-deck structure was built for the Henry Hudson Parkway Authority by the American Bridge Company at a cost of $4.949 million and opened on December 12, 1936. The upper level of the bridge was designed to be added at a later date and opened to traffic on May 7, 1938. The second deck was added at an additional cost of about $2 million, after toll revenues allowed its construction.

A rehabilitation project commenced in 2000 and was carried out by Steinman, Boynton, Gronquist and Birdsall, a successor of David B. Steinman’s firm. Repairs took place nearly continuously for at least a decade, at a cost of $160 million. The bridge was renovated from late 2017 to late 2020. The $86 million project replaced the last remnants of the original upper and lower decks, reopened the pedestrian and cycling path, eliminated the lower-level toll booth, upgraded roadway lighting, and made seismic improvements.

The bridge has two roadway levels carrying a total of seven traffic lanes and a pedestrian walkway and spans Spuyten Duyvil Creek just east of where the tidal strait meets the Hudson River. The bridge is part of the Henry Hudson Parkway, New York State Route 9A. To its west, at five feet above water level, is the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge, which is used by Amtrak trains to Albany, New York and other points north. The Spuyten Duyvil Metro-North station is under the Henry Hudson Bridge on the Bronx side (Adapted from Wikipedia).

“Spuyten Duyvil” may be literally translated as “Spouting Devil” or Spuitende Duivel in Dutch, a reference to the strong and wild tidal currents found at that location. It may also be translated as “Spewing Devil” or “Spinning Devil”, or more loosely as “Devil’s Whirlpool” or “Devil’s Spate.” Spui is a Dutch word involving outlets for water. Historian Reginald Pelham Bolton, however, argues that the phrase means “spouting meadow”, referring to a fresh-water spring at Inwood Hill.

An additional translation, “to spite the Devil” or “in spite of the devil”, was popularized by a story in Washington Irving’s A Knickerbocker’s History of New York published in 1809. Set in the 1660s, the story tells of trumpeter Antony Van Corlear summoned by “Peter de Groodt” to warn settlers of an attempted British invasion, with Corlear attempting to swim across the “Harlean river” from Fort Amsterdam to the Bronx mainland “in spite of the devil (spyt den duyvel)”, Irving writes. The treacherous current pulled him under and he lost his life. This resulted in the name “Spuyten Duyvil” for “the adjoining promontory, which projects into the Hudson.”

The creek was referred to as Shorakapok by Lenape Native Americans in the area, translated as “the sitting down place” or the place between the ridges”. (Adapted from Wikipedia)

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Fuji XF 35mm f1.4 R