Site #1 Thomas Cole National Historic Site
Introduction by Kevin J. Avery, Senior Research Scholar, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Hudson River School founder Thomas Cole fell in love with Catskill in 1825, when he first visited the village and the unforgettable mountains that form its backdrop. He returned there several times from New York City, and several times painted the vista to the west crowned by the distinctive crests of Kaaterskill High Peak and Round Top. On nearby South Mountain he would have been able to descry the pearly highlight of the Catskill Mountain House hotel, which stood until 1963. Cole began working in Catskill regularly in summer 1834, then fell in love again, this time with a woman, Maria Bartow, who lived on the property called Cedar Grove with her uncle and three sisters. Cole and Maria married in 1836 and set up house in Cedar Grove, and welcomed Theodore (called "Theddy"), the first of their three children, on New Year's Day, 1838. For the remaining decade of his life, Cole could exult every fair morning in the prospect of the mountains from his porch. For his paintings, though, the artist preferred the view of them overlooking the curving, reflective surface of Catskill Creek, not far from his home. In the largest of those paintings, made just months before the birth of his son, Cole fashioned in the foreground an Arcadian bower in which a mother and child—watched by a nearby hunter who resembles the artist—reach for one another, the mother proffering blossoms to her infant.
The Main House and Studio are open by guided and self-guided tours, which are offered Tuesday through Sunday from May through October. The historic grounds and visitor center are open free of charge every day from dawn to dusk. For information visit thomascole.org/visit.
Plan Your Trip
Visit their Website
Admissions $12-16 per person
Visitors age 16 and under and Members are FREE
Accessible with Assistance
Meets some ADA standards and has some barriers.
Many visitors with disabilities will require assistance
Hours vary by season: thomascole.org/visit
Driving Directions: We recommend Google Map . Site coordinates: 42.22559 Lat., -73.861145 Long.
Location Notes: The Thomas Cole National Historic Site is located at 218 Spring Street in Catskill, New York, near the western entrance to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. Take the New York State Thruway (I-87) to exit 21 (Catskill). Make a left at the traffic light, proceed 1,000 feet and turn left onto Route 23 East. Proceed 2 miles and turn right at the light onto Spring Street (Route 385). The Thomas Cole Site is on the left (use shared driveway with Temple Israel).
Photo / Painting Credits
Charles Herbert Moore. Cedar Grove. Oil on canvas, 1868. Thomas Cole National Historic Site.
Anonymous. The Main House at Cedar Grove. Photograph, 2005-04-01, 100 x 900 px. Courtesy of the Thomas Cole House.
Anonymous. View from the West Porch, Cedar Grove. Photograph, 2009. Courtesy of the Thomas Cole House.
Charles Herbert Moore. Old Studio. Oil on canvas, c. 1860s. Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Catskill, NY.
Frederic Edwin Church. Thomas Cole's House and Studio, Catskill, NY. Graphite on buff paper, 1843. Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, NY. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, OL.1980.1413.