Major Jacob Hasbrouck Jr. House - Aesthetics

Aesthetics

According to architectural historian Neil Larson, the house represents the culmination of Ulster County's traditional stone houses. Originally built on a European model for urban areas, they had been small rectangles similar to the Jean Hasbrouck House and the other older Huguenot Street homes, sometimes with their sides facing the street as in that neighborhood's Bevier House. As the children of the Duzine moved out into the surrounding lands, the houses evolved into farmhouses with a three-room plan, since builders could take advantage of larger lots. Using this form may have been a conscious choice on Major Hasbrouck's part to preserve his ancestral culture, since some of his contemporaries later built themselves homes in more English-influenced styles like Josiah Hasbrouck's Locust Lawn.

The builder of Major Hasbrouck's house formalized this, providing a facade with continuous horizontal lines uniting all the family spaces. There are none of the vertical interruptions seen on other stone houses. The stones chosen were carefully dressed, although not to the point of making an ashlar pattern. The kitchen wing to the north was placed asymmetrically, to highlight its difference in function.

Inside, the house was more in accord with traditional stone house, at least in its early years, in having little decoration save the doors and trim, since the Major despite his wealth and fame would have wanted to appear humble and pious. His son's efforts to change this by adding a decorated archway, plastering over the ceilings and using charcoal to marbleize some of the walls suggest he was uncomfortable with the already dated style of the house as well as its physical limitations to his family. A similar impulse may have been behind Maurice Hasbrouck's additions of distinctly contemporary features to the house later in the 19th century.

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