Willow Lake Farm Is a Fishkill Estate With a Rich History

With a history of politics and celebrity residences, Willow Lake Farm is a Fishkill property that just entered the market for $4.385 million.

In Dutchess County, Willow Lake Farm is a bucolic property that encompasses a perfectly balanced mix of sweeping views, groomed lands, and stone buildings. The primary residence that sits on 105 acres of scenic land dates back to 1924, while the property itself has an even richer history that can be traced back to the 1600s. Listed by Sandra Park of Coldwell Banker Realty, the Fishkill estate compound is currently on the market for $4.385 million.

Willow Lake Farm

Originally developed by the first mayor of Fishkill, Henry DuBois Van Wyck, as Knickerbocker Lodge in the late 1800s, the historical significance of Willow Lake Farm dates back even further than this. The lands that now comprise the property were instrumental in what became a historic milestone in land ownership opportunity in New York.

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First sold as part of a 1683 treaty between the Wappingers First Nation tribe and two financiers, Madame Brett inherited 28,000 acres of the original 68,000-acre parcel from one of the financiers. Land rich and cash poor, Brett’s financial circumstances led her to sell the acreage in smaller parcels to those outside of the social elite, setting a new precedent for Dutchess County as a pioneer locale for land ownership in New York.

Willow Lake Farm

As an homage to its rich history, plenty of relics remain for the curious at Willow Lake Farm. It is believed that the property’s stone walls date back to the 1700s with construct by Washington’s troops. The blacksmith’s fire pit that was used to hand-forge iron hardware throughout the current residence is also still found on the property.

After the farmland was developed into the Knickerbocker Lodge as a retreat for the city elite in the late 1800s, Willow Lake Farm arose from the unfortunate ashes of the lodge in the early 1900s. The inspiration for the architecturally significant stone country English manor residence came directly from the soon-to-be-owner’s visits abroad.

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The primary residence at Willow Lake Farm encompasses 4,560 square feet of living space with five bedrooms, three full, and two half bathrooms. In tribute to its original construction, the back of one of the four wood-burning fireplaces, located in the study off the primary bedroom, reads “1924.” A spacious lakeside patio rests upon stone remains of the Knickerbocker Lodge, while other historic details and fine craftsmanship have been carefully preserved throughout the residence and property, allowing room for updating with modern amenities.

Original glass lead panes throughout the residence delight with colorful specks of rose and green glass and hand-cut oak hardwood beams, known for their aversion to rotting and warping, line the floors. In true English manor fashion, the classic slate roof and stone siding have withstood the test of time in both function and style, and trim work and a detailed banister are finely crafted out of wood from the now extinct American chestnut tree.

The main residence is celebrating its 100-year anniversary this year, while its three additional guest houses, spanning five individual units, each with their own kitchen and some with fireplaces, were all constructed between 1928 and 1982. The cumulative living space on the property comfortably accommodates over 20 guests with more than 10,000 square feet.

Other outbuildings on the property include the Hen House with coop, greenhouse, workshop/horse stalls, stable, an open-air lakeside gazebo built atop an 1800s stone water tower, and a screened gazebo resting streamside along with two- and three-car garages.

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Willow Lake Farm is located at 4 Willow Lake Drive in Fishkill.

Related: This Callicoon Farmhouse Boasts Spectacular Mountain Views

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