Definitions

Jordanville,_New_York

Jordanville, New York

Jordanville is a hamlet in the Town of Warren in Herkimer County, New York, USA.

Jordanville is in the northwest part of the Town of Warren at the intersection of Routes 18 and 155.

History

The community was settled before 1791.

Gelston Castle

This castle, with stone sourced from Little Falls, New York, was built in 1836 by Harriet Douglas Cruger. She had been inspired by Gelson Castle, owned by her uncle in Scotland, which she visited while traveling as a young woman. Harriet was described as an independent and eccentric woman, who had her marriage bed sawed in half and used as two couches after an acrimonious divorce. She was profiled in "Miss Douglas of New York", a book written by Angus Davidson in 1953.

The highly unique property in rolling lands of upstate NY passed to her niece Fanny Robinson, daughter of Harriet's sister Elizabeth Mary Douglas and James Monroe, nephew of President James Monroe. Fanny left the castle to her son Douglas Robinson, who married Corrine Roosevelt, the sister of President Theodore Roosevelt. Their eldest son, Theodore Douglas Robinson, married Helen Roosevelt, a step-niece of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Helen Roosevelt Robinson was the last family member to live in the house, passing away on July 8, 1962.

After Helen Roosevelt Robinson died, her son, Douglas Robinson Jr., sold the property to Mrs. Jan Blair of New Jersey, who operated a retirement home on the premises. She sold the property to the Asian Conservation Laboratory in 1974, who subsequently sold the property to Mrs. Frances Kudla, who also operated a retirement home there.

Mrs. Kudla sold the property in 1979 to Mstislav Rostropovich, the Russian cellist and later musical director and conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra (United States). He and his wife, the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, constructed in 1983 a million dollar 8,300 sq ft contemporary residence on the sprawling estate grounds, yards from the castle. The architect of the 22-room mansion was the director of the Harvard University School of Architecture.

The castle, largely unoccupied for most the second half of the 20th Century, fell into a state of complete disrepair with several parts of the structure now collapsed. After leaving the US to Russia in the late 1990s the whole estate was marketed for most of the 2000 - 2007 time frame as Gelston Manor.

While the property amassed by Mstislav was parcelled off in 2006/2007 the castle has continued to be visited by Herkimer County Historical Society in recent years. That organization has held once a year, "“A Weekend at Gelston Castle”.

In 2007, Gelston Castle was purchased along with the Rostropovich Mansion and 330 acres by Safflyn Corporation, an environmental development corporation that works with companies and individuals on reducing their carbon footprint, integrating renewable energy sources, promoting environmentally safe products, and lowering the bottom line for consumption of non-renewable resources.

The Rostropovich Mansion has been renovated to be a "Green Building" and now operates as a Wedding and Event Performance Center called Chateau Safflyn. The Castle continues to remain a historical attraction and the property is open for tours on a limited schedule.

Holy Trinity Monastery

The Holy Trinity Monastery for men (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia - ROCOR, a branch of the Russian Orthodox Church) is located one mile north of Jordanville. This monastery, which was founded in 1928, includes a cathedral, bell tower, and seminary.

References

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