The hamlet of Roxbury is rich in natural beauty and historic resources. Roxbury is the birthplace of railroad magnate Jay Gould and America’s best-loved naturalist, John Burroughs. Unlike so many upstate New York villages, the hamlet of Roxbury has retained its seminal 19th-century architecture, which has resulted in the entire hamlet being listed on the State and National Registers.
Roxbury’s maple-lined Main Street exhibits wide-ranging stylistic examples— from the most humble Greek Revival to the most elaborate late-Victorian.
One of the truly unique historic sites in the hamlet is the Jay Gould Reformed Church, with its massive stone edifice and Tiffany windows.
Alongside the church is Kirkside, the former summer estate of Helen Gould Shepard. This Main Street property was purchased by Ms. Gould’s daughter in 1896, and the simple seven-room farmhouse was expanded to create the magnificent, rambling Georgian-style mansion.
Ms. Gould also created Kirkside Park, an historic 11-acre treasure adjoining the home. This masterpiece of rustic elegance designed by Ferdinand Mangold. He was the groundsman at Lyndhurst, the Goulds’ Westchester County estate on the Hudson, now a National Trust Historic Property. Kirkside Park was a showcase from the late 1900s to the late 1930s. Extensively landscaped and appointed with Adirondack-style bridges and gazebos, graceful paths along the stream, a small waterfall, rustic-style furniture and stone terraces, Kirkside Park gained a deeper historical dimension through its particular “conversation” with the Goulds’ Lyndhurst property.
Kirkside Park was deeded to the Town of Roxbury in 1981 in a state of disrepair. The restoration of this magnificent community treasure was initiated in 1999. Since that time, accomplishments include 1,500 lineal feet of meticulously laid stonewalls lining the East Branch of the Delaware River, five rustic bridges, complete ball field rehabilitation, numerous plantings and perennial gardens, and installation of 2,000 lineal feet of stone dust paths.
Another celebrated resource in Roxbury is its 1872 train depot, which was literally put under wraps (a weatherproof shield) intact, so that it could be restored before being destroyed by the elements. Restoration of this National Register property is now underway. The depot, a classic example of railroad architecture, was a keystone of everyday 19th-century mountain life, and is now the final stop on the Delaware and Ulster Railroad.