A 25-room Greek Revival structure was built on the site in 1832 by Morgan Lewis and his wife, Gertrude Livingston, replacing an earlier house that had burned down. This second house was inherited by Ruth Livingston Mills, wife of noted financier and philanthropist Ogden Mills.
In 1895, Mr. and Mrs. Mills commissioned the prestigious New York City architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White to remodel and enlarge their Staatsburgh home. After completion in 1896, the house had been transformed into a Beaux-Arts mansion of 65 rooms and 14 bathrooms. Its exterior was embellished with balustrades, pilasters, floral swags, and a massive portico. The rooms were furnished with elaborately carved and gilded furniture, fine oriental rugs, silk fabrics, and a collection of art objects from Europe, ancient Greece, and the Far East. Pride in the family’s Livingston heritage was also demonstrated in the prominent display of portraits of Mrs. Mills’ ancestors through the mansion. The property originally included gardens and greenhouses, a dairy farm complex, and assorted outbuildings, presiding majestically over the banks of the Hudson River.
In 1938, the house and 192 acres were given to the State of New York by Gladys Mills Phipps, daughter of Ruth and Ogden Mills. The majority of the home’s contents were left in place and donated to the State in 1970, shortly before Mrs. Phipps’ death.
“The Mills’ daughter Gladys gave the house as a memorial to the lifestyle of her parents with pretty much all the original furnishings as they left it. It is really a time capsule into a time of America History. “