Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I wish I had a picture of Elizabeth Snowden Nichols' home. Named Vale Snowden, it stood on the lower southern slope of Grymes Hill.
I found this excerpt about it from "The History and legend of Howard Avenue and the Serpentine Road, Grymes Hill, Staten Island" by C.G. Hine on the Internet Archive:
"Vale Snowden", which corners on the
Clove road, is the home of Mrs. William
Snowden Nichols. The house was erected
by Satterthwaite about 1852-1854 and was
purchased by Mr. Nichols in 1864. The
architect was James Renwick, mentioned in
connection with the Davis place, and the
grounds were laid out by Frederick Law
Mrs. Nichols tells me that General Green,
one time minister to Russia, and who was
associated with Mr. Olmstead in the laying
out of Central Park, once said that Mr. Olm-
stead and Mr. Satterthwaite were friends and
that the former gained a large part of his
practical knowledge as a landscape architect
in the laying out of this place. Originally it
was a most unpromising spot, a mass of
soapstone (serpentine), and it required the
work of eight yoke of oxen almost a year to
haul sufficient earth from the top of the hill
to make a foundation for the garden.
A well which is situated almost in front
of the house and very near the road was, ac-
cording to local tradition, a regular stopping
place for the Philadelphia stages. Mrs.
Nichols does not know anything more than
that this statement came from Mr. Satter-
thwait. It is possible that there may have
been an inn on the Little Clove road here,
but if so there does not appear to be any
record concerning it.
^ Mrs. Nichols recalls that the Richmond
County Country Club grew out of an in-
formal riding and driving club which used
this place as a rendezvous, as the younger
members of her family took a lively interest
in its formation and development.
Today the house, and even memories of it, are lost in to the past. Now Wagner College's baseball field stands in its place.
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