A beautiful house, found on 9W south of the village, is the focus today. What do we know about the building which now houses the Knights of Columbus?
The Mansion House property, including the premises, was purchased by Henry Barclay in 1825 from Tjerck Schoonmaker, who had inherited it from his brother Hendrick. It was used as a guest house for his New York City friends, who came to see his model village. Rev. Reuben Sherwood, first pastor of Trinity Episcopal Church owned it for awhile and ran a very elite boys school there. John Simmons, the manager of Ulster Iron Works owned it for quite a while. He tried to sell it a few times, but like a bad penny, it kept coming back in mortgage foreclosures.
His son Ovid Topham Simmons remodeled it in 1879 or so, calling it Hill Crest, and lived there with his wife and family, including two children, three nephews and a niece. The house at this time is purported to be the first house in Saugerties with an indoor toilet. John’s wife was the daughter of Peter Schoonmaker, who owned the stone house near the corner of Main and Mynderse Street, historically marked, appropriately enough, The Schoonmaker House. One of her sisters was Countess Alida Von Krockow, who studied abroad, met the Count and married him in Germany. The connections within this little town are like a spider web, everyone related to everyone else.