His­toric home has Rev­o­lu­tion­ary her­itage

The News-Times - - FRONT PAGE - Anna Quinn

HABI­TAT The story be­hind the home

RIDGE­FIELD — The stone house at 34 Grand­view Drive has a place in Ridge­field’s his­tory, but per­haps its most sig­nif­i­cant claim to fame is the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War bar­racks that were 500 feet from its doors.

In 1779, Colonel Charles Ar­mand se­lected the west­ern end of Ridge­field as the head­quar­ters for his all-French corps of Con­ti­nen­tal sol­diers. The bar­racks were es­tab­lished “500 feet west from the present garage” of 34 Grand­view, built in the 1930s by a cos­metic com­pany ex­ec­u­tive.

“The lo­ca­tion was ideal for Ar­mand’s pur­poses, be­ing sit­u­ated 960 feet above sea level and com­mand­ing a view along the Hud­son River and the mountain ranges which ringed the area,” Sil­vio Be­dini, a Ridge­field na­tive, wrote in a “Ridge­field in Re­view.”

The spot was named Grand­view be­cause of this view and is thought to be one of the high­est points in town, ac­cord­ing to the his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety. Ar­mand would main­tain his bar­racks there un­til late in the sum­mer of 1780.

Be­dini writes he was com­mended for “no­table suc­cess” dur­ing for­ays into tar­gets in Westch­ester and Put­nam coun­ties, in­clud­ing the cap­ture of Ma­jor Mans­field Bear­more. He in­cludes quotes from let­ters writ­ten to Ar­mand by George Washington later in the war and notes Ar­mand would even­tu­ally be un­der Washington’s

di­rect or­ders.

The es­tate was built on the prop­erty more than a cen­tury later by cos­metic ex­ec­u­tive Ben­jamin E. Levy, who founded the Amer­i­can branch of the French com­pany Coty.

Levy built the home in the 1930s orig­i­nally as a hunt­ing lodge on a prop­erty that once stretched 300 acres.

Most of that orig­i­nal home’s fea­tures have been kept up, list­ing agent Laura Freed An­cona said, and hark back to that era.

The home in­cludes three stone chim­neys, which cor­re­spond to three fire­places, each with a sin­gle slab of gran­ite mantle­piece. The lower half of the house is made of field­stone and the yard in­cludes stone walls, steps and a vinecov­ered per­gola.

“They just don’t build homes like this (any­more),” Freed An­cona said. “The qual­ity of ma­sonry and stonework is just a lost art form you don’t see to­day.”

The views that gave the spot its name are still “stun­ning,” Freed An­cona added.

In­side, orig­i­nal fea­tures in­clude the win­dows and doors and a but­ler’s pantry with orig­i­nal drain boards and cup­boards. The kitchen and bath­rooms have been up­dated, she added.

The six-bed­room home is on the mar­ket for $1.45 mil­lion.

Contributed pho­tos

The home at 34 Grand­view Drive in Ridge­field was built as a hunt­ing lodge in the 1930s. The prop­erty it sits on has ties to the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War and is where Colonel Charles Ar­mand set up bar­racks in 1779.

Contributed Photo / contributed

The home at 34 Grand­view Drive in Ridge­field was first built as a hunt­ing lodge in the 1930s. The six-bed­room home is on the mar­ket for $1.45 mil­lion.

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