Janet Livingston Montgomery - Aristocrat and Estate Creator

Janet Livingston Montgomery

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Aristocrat and Estate Creator

In 1802, the 58-year-old Janet Montgomery shocked her family and friends when she bought hundreds of acres along the Hudson River in order to create a substantial and fashionable country seat.

They could not imagine why this older, childless widow would contemplate leaving the house and farm she and her late husband had established in nearby Rhinebeck a quarter-century earlier. Why would she want to buy even more land and construct a showplace in the newest fashion? Montgomery called her new house “Chateau de Montgomery,” built with and for her nephew William Jones.

This drawing of Janet’s “chateau” reveals an elegant, if severely geometrical, federal-style house that stood apart from the surrounding landscape.

Chateau de Montgomery, by Alexander Jackson Davis. Pencil on paper, c. 1842.  Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Audio: Janet Montgomery and family

Janet Montgomery and other family members on the creation of the estate, 1802-1804. Princeton University.

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