United States of America, New York, Otsego County, Otsego, Cooperstown
Fernleigh (Cooperstown, New York)
Fernleigh, the country home of the Clark family since the 19th century, is situated along both sides of the Susquehanna River, linked by a footbridge. The house, only part of which remains, was a Second Empire stone mansion designed by New Jersey architect James Van Dyke and built in 1869. The original garden was located to the south of the mansion and included a servants' house and Turkish bath. In 1923 Stephen Clark commissioned Marcus T. Reynolds to design new gardens for Fernleigh. Reynolds incorporated his love for Italian villas into the plans. When they were completed in 1929, the new Fernleigh gardens had terraces, balustrades, a fountain, and a swimming pool, which was placed on the site of the original garden. The garden architecture included a wrought-iron casino, pavilions, iron trellises, and bird cages. Reynolds' design centered the mansion, servants' house, and Turkish bath around the swimming pool and terraces. Period photographs show that the property was used extensively for lawn parties, fairs, and other recreational activities. Reynolds was reponsible for the terraced plan for the garden, while Bryant Fleming, a landscape design professor at Cornell, drew up the planting plans. Planted beds are evident in the period photographs. Today, only a portion of the Fernleigh mansion remains. The Turkish bath is gone and the swimming pool has been replaced with grass. The wrought-iron casino and fountain still stand. Containers of large topiaries are placed in the garden during the summer months. Planted beds are not used, although some permanent plantings exist.
Persons associated with the garden include: the Clark family (owners, 1869 to date); James Van Dyke (architect, 1868); Henry Hardenburgh (architect, 1870s); Marcus T. Reynolds (architect and landscape architect, 1923-1929); Bryant Fleming (landscape designer, 1920s); and Christi Vadnais (artist od mural in pavilion, 1995).
The folder includes worksheets, photocopies of printed information about the garden, and photocopies of photographs of the garden from the New York State Historical Association library.
Garden has been featured in Eugene J. Johnson, Style Follows Function: Architecture of Marcus T. Reynolds (Albany, NY: Washington Park Press, Ltd. and Mount Ida Press, n.d.), pp. 15-17
Garden has been featured in Jessie A. Ravage, Redesigning Nature: Historic Gardens Around Otsego Lake (exhibit brochure), n.d