Serenely set in an urban neighborhood, Springside is a 20-acre historic site that was once the country estate of Matthew Vassar, the Poughkeepsie brewer, philanthropist, and founder of Vassar College. Springside is the only landscape of Andrew Jackson Downing, one of the founders of landscape architecture in America, to survive largely intact.
In the first half of the 1800s, the site known today as Springside was part of the Allen family farm at the edge of Poughkeepsie. In May 1850, its unusually picturesque natural features attracted a committee tasked with selecting a site for a rural cemetery. The rural cemetery was the pre-cursor to public parks and provided scenic, pastoral grounds on city outskirts, open to all and commonly used for picnicking and strolling as well as burials.
Officially established in 1986, Springside Landscape Restoration took title of the site in 1990. SLR continues to preserve and restore the site and educate the public about its importance. Only the Gatehouse remains from the original buildings.
Today, the National Historic Landmark is a historic site on the Hudson River Valley Greenway Trail. Visitors enjoy walking Springide’s carriage trails year-round. Many of the pathways and manmade naturalistic features had been overgrown, but through gradual clearing they have become more recognizable. Meanwhile, trees planted a century and a half ago have matured, proving the endurance of Downing’s vision.
Volunteers battle storm damage, tree loss, invasive plant species, vandalism, dumping, urban run-off, erosion, and flooding in an effort to preserve this green oasis in the heart of Poughkeepsie. Though much remains to be done, remarkable progress has been made over the last twenty years.
Enjoy the grounds any time from dawn to dusk. Use your smartphone or pick up a brochure at the kiosk for a self-guided walking tour. Walk the trails and enjoy the serenity of this green oasis. Visitors can once again envision Downing’s skillfully designed landscape from the changing perspective of winding trails and carriage roads, and experience their beauty.
Looking for worthy travel destinations? Visit Upper Landing Park.
Information provided by https://lprorestoration.net