Sunnyside was the residence of the American writer Washington Irving from 1835 until his death in 1859. The stone house was formerly known as Van Tassel cottage, and was located on the Hudson River below Tarrytown. He made improvements and modifications to the architecture of the house as well as the surrounding landscaping and garden design. According to the National Register of Historic Places, Irving “delighted in augmenting the picturesqueness of his house by creating several wandering paths which led the visitor through secluded groves and broad vistas of the Hudson River scenery…perhaps influenced by [his] neighbor, Andrew Jackson Downing, who mentioned Sunnyside in his 1841 Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape gardening in America.” In addition to these sylvan walks, Irving grew apples in his own orchard and cultivated flower and kitchen gardens laid out in geometric patterns which contrasted with the picturesque plan of the rest of the grounds.
Alternate Names: Van Tassel Cottage, Wolfert's Roost
Site Dates: The original Van Tassel cottage dates from the mid-to-late 1600's; Irving purchased the estate in 1835
Site Owner(s): Washington Irving (1783-1859)
Tarrytown, New York
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Related Terms: Picturesque
A.J. Downing, "Residence of Washington Irving, Esq. near Tarrytown, NY", from A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1849), p. 409, fig. 59.
George Harvey, Old Cottage Taken to Previous Improvements, c. 1835.
National Park Service Historic Landmarks: http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=424&ResourceType=Building
National Register of Historic Places: http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/research/
Historic Hudson Valley: http://www.hudsonvalley.org/historic-sites/washington-irvings-sunnyside