On the Trail of History in Columbia County, NY

Columbia County, NY has over 50 historic sites within its borders. Perhaps the most notable is the Martin Van Buren National Historic site also known as Lindenwald. The estate was the retirement home of Kinderhook, NY’s native son and the eighth President of the United States, Martin Van Buren. Presumably President Van Buren is credited for the origin of “okay” as a sign of approval as his documents were signed “O.K.” He is also one of only two Presidents to serve as Vice President and Secretary of State.  House tours of the estate are given seasonally and the grounds connect to another noteworthy landmark, the Luykas Van Alen property.  The Van Alen property is an outstanding example of early Dutch architecture and tours are given seasonally.  

Other political luminaries from Columbia County include Robert R. Livingston, a drafter of the Declaration of Independence and Minister to France under the Thomas Jefferson Presidency. The Livingston family homestead, Clermont, is situated on the banks of the Hudson River and boasts spectacular grounds and river views. The over 500-acre estate is open for tours and maintains an active calendar of events.  Also worth a visit is Olana, the 250 acre estate of artist Frederic Edwin Church. Church is credited with establishing the Hudson River School of Painting. Church was a world traveler and was inspired by his travels to design the Moorish style homestead and surrounding landscape. The panoramic river views from the site are some of the best in the Hudson River Valley. Grounds offer walking trails; house tours and special programming operates throughout the year.

Visit: www.columbiacountytourism.org