GROUNDS & PROPERTY
The Thomas Cole National Historic Site is on the ancestral lands of the Mohawk and other Haudenosaunee peoples, and the Mohican, Lenape, and other Algonquian-speaking peoples. It was taken from them by a series of treaties and forced displacements in the seventeenth through eighteenth centuries.
A family by the name of Thomson bought property here in 1787. Three Thomson siblings (Thomas, John A., and Catherine) began the establishment of a homestead by 1814. In the years that followed, many people have nurtured this land. During Thomas Cole’s residency, (1836-48), the property consisted of 110 acres. A salaried farmer, domestic laborers, and gardeners tended and maintained the plants and animals, and protected the property and structures. Saleable crops were grown (hay, oats, corn, and barley), and a variety of livestock were kept (horses, pigs, goats, oxen, beef cattle and chickens). The main source of income was fruit from the orchards.
If you’d like, borrow a sketchbook from stations around the site and take inspiration from nature just like Thomas Cole, Emily Cole, and many other visitors have done.
Honey Locust Tree
The large tree with sharp thorns in front of the Main House was planted in 1817, even before Thomas Cole came to live and work here. When you enter the house, look for a small painting that shows this same tree.
As we work to restore and maintain the grounds of this historic site, we are guided by principles of supporting biodiversity, reducing the use of toxic materials, and connecting people to the natural world.
About our Greening Initiative
About the Grounds & Property
– NEXT STOP –
Head to the Main House (yellow, with large porch).