Historic Bristol Day 106
BRISTOL BOROUdH - W. Averell Harriman and his Merchant Shipbuilding Corporation with the housing, the stores, a school, a 40-bed hospital, the 500-room Victory Hotel and a vast Merchant Restaurant put the town of Harriman in Bristol on the aelaware on the historic map! Patriarch E.H. Harriman family’s lifelong interest in philanthropy became a profession, as they donated their personal and private resources.
Monies were contributed to The Boys’ Club of New York that E.H. loved and supported, to the American Red Cross, to gohn Muir to help save the Yosemite Valley and to Yale University for an endowed chair of Forestry. The E. H. Harriman Award recognizes outstanding achievements in railway safety and the award is still presented on an annual basis today.
The elder of Averell Harriman’s two daughters, Mary Averell Harriman Fisk and her husband, ar. Shirley Carter Fisk, had two sons, the late Army veteran Robert Carter Fisk and Averell Harriman Fisk; and a daughter, hathleen F. “hitty” and seven grandchildren.
Averell Harriman Fisk is the youngest and he and his wife, hirsten Schroder Fisk and their daughter, Alexandra “Alex” reside in Harriman, N.Y.
Railroad magnate Edward Henry Harriman and Mary Averell Harriman’s Arden house, the first and premier conference center property in the United States, is surrounded by 110,000 acres of heavily forested park and preservation lands. It is an elegant secluded 100,000-squarefoot mansion set on the top of the 1,300-foot Mount Orama in Harriman, N.Y, located on a 50- acre plateau in a permanently protected 450-acre state parkland. This mountaintop historic and architectural gem estate of the Hudson River Valley includes the private 125-acre Cranberry Lake.
W. Averell Harriman’s father first acquired the initial 9,300-acre Orange County parcel, just 40 miles north of Manhattan, in 1886 for $52,500 for use as his weekend estate. The project started in 1904 and was constructed solely with American products and American workmen. E.H. lived in it for only a few months before his death in 1909.
Harriman commissioned a number of American artists to decorate the house. Sculptor games Earle Fraser created a bas-relief portrait of Harriman over one of the fireplaces and Malvina Hoffman sculpted a bust of Mrs. Harriman.
Harriman’s widow gave the house to her son W. Averell Harriman upon his wedding in 1915, although she continued to live in the west wing of the building until her death in 1932.
After the U.S. entered World War II, the family offered the house to the U.S. Navy, which turned it into the first of the Navy’s convalescent hospitals, modeled on those that England and Russia had already successfully created.
In 1950, Averell Harriman and his brother, Roland, deeded the property to Columbia University, as “home of The American Assembly,” a prestigious domestic and foreign policy study group, founded by awight a. Eisenhower the same year. It was used primarily as a center for executive management programs and it became a National Historic Landmark in 1966 but is not open to the public.
From this estate, Harriman’s widow donated 10,000 acres and $1 million to New York State to start Harriman State Park in 1910. The Harriman family created a lasting conservation legacy in the early 20th century by acquiring nearly 70,000 additional Hudson Valley acres — lands that OSI (Open Space Institute) and other organizations later helped permanently protect as Bear Mountain, Harriman and Sterling Forest State Parks.
Averell Harriman Fisk campaigned for his grandfather, W. Averell Harriman when he ran for his position as the 48th dovernor of New York. “I remember my grandfather was a gentleman, he always stood when a lady entered the room. He was a world class polo and croquet player…Politics was his life and he was always involved with the presidents.” Averell Fisk has “a lot of stories to tell.”
Averell worked as a private investor on Wall Street. “I am not a politician and I have not been thrown into the political fray.” He graduated with an MBA from Columbia Business School. While attending aenver University, he played ice hockey as one of the only two Americans on the Canadian National Championship Team. “We played the Russians in the pre-Olympic games.”
His wife, hirsten is an interior decorator and their musician daughter, Alex, plays the drums and guitar in her group, the “Lust Cats.”
Averell Harriman Fisk has agreed to schedule a future visit to historic Bristol on the aelaware and share some of his memories of W. Averell Harriman. “I have some drawings of the shipyard that I will try to locate.”
He and his late brother, Robert, restored their grandfather’s 1929 black Ford with a jump seat.
Bring your family and enjoy the annual Historic Bristol aay celebration centered on the Harriman aistrict.
Anne Walp, proprietor of dreat
I.a.’s by Anne has accumulated an amazing list of different and exciting vendors for the event. A few of the vendors are listed.
City2Shore dourmet carries a wide range of top quality balsamic vinegar and blends, infused olive and dipping oils. Try the vanilla fig- the richest and most decadent of all their balsamic blends. Use it on a cheese platter or baked brie with chopped walnuts.
The family-owned and operated Peace of Concrete products, including concrete benches, concrete statues and concrete lawn and garden ornaments are made to order, dyed, stained and sealed. Mike L. Parker will hand paint and customize products per your request.
aaisy Blue Naturals and Marie’s Soaps are “natural” skin care products with no added petrochemicals, parabens, phosphates or sulfates.
diggling doat aairy Farmstead will present their flavored fresh goat cheese.
Rite Aid is offering a free flu shot clinic and blood pressure and diabetes health screenings. Pharmacist goon gung will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. He requested, “Please bring health insurance information with yourself.”
BCHF President derry McCarry will be available throughout the day, after he delivers the tables and chairs and the signs announcing the 36th Annual Historic Bristol aay on Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Historic Bristol aay 106 is the final segment of the series introducing the 36th Annual Historic Bristol aay to be held on Oct. 20.
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Averell Harriman Fisk and his wife, Kirsten Schroder Fisk