These ruins in Montgomery, New York were once the home of one of New York’s richest and most inﬂuential families, the Coldens. Colden Mansion was built by Cadwallader Colden, Jr., the son of Cadwallader Colden, British Governor and prominent ﬁgure of the American Enlightenment, who is recognized for his work in botany and sanitation.
Cadwallader Sr. was the ﬁrst Colden to come to the area of New York that would become Coldenham in 1727. In 1744, Cadwallader Jr. inherited ﬁve hundred acres of his father’s property and in 1767, built Colden Mansion, which he would double in size just a few years later. Colden’s mansion would ultimately become a luxurious fieldstone house with 3-stories, 17-rooms, and 9 fireplaces. The home had two bathrooms, a butler’s pantry, three wide halls, 10-foot ceilings, and interior paneling imported from England.
In years to come, the Colden’s luck would turn as their allegiance to the crown would cause Cadwallader Sr. to be confronted over the Stamp Act and junior eventually being jailed for his loyalist affiliation. Still, the house would stay in the Colden family up until the mid-19th century when it was sold. By the 1930’s, this historic house was abandoned as the result of real estate litigation and over the next century, it fell into complete disrepair.
Colden Mansion Today
Today, Colden Mansion lies in ruins, just a shell of its former self, but some of the original wooden paneling survives and is on display at the Met‘s Verplanck Room with other pieces on display in Montgomery’s Town Hall. Since 2007, it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in recent years, restoration efforts have stabilized the surviving ruins with eventual plans of turning this historic site into a public park. There is a parking lot adjacent to the ruins on Stone Castle Road, but signage is posted not to trespass onto the property itself.
The family’s old burying ground can be seen off of Maple Avenue, less than a mile west on Rt 17K.