Echo Lawn is located on a 6 acre parcel of land which was originally part of a 40 acre estate. The property has at its center an Italianate walled garden established in 1911 set within a wider naturalistic setting of the original landscaping of 1850-1860. This is set within a wider naturalistic landscaping of the original garden of 1850-1860. The National Register of Historic Places registration form completed for Echo Lawn, suggests that Echo Lawn's first period of design was influenced by landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing and the architects Calvert Vaux and Frederick Clark Withers in their design of neighboring properties (Downing and Vaux at Algonac about 1851; Withers at Mornigside 1859). The 1911 design of the walled garden was developed by the artists Reynolds and Gifford Beal, brothers of the property owner at that time, Thaddeus Beal.
The original structure of the Italianate garden remains, defined by outer walls of fieldstone with cut bluestone topping. The terrace of flagstone and herringbone brick features a Neoclassical cast concrete balustrade from which a divided stone staircase circles around a small fountain as it leads down into the sunken walled garden with a large fountain at its center.
Historical accounts of the garden describe the walled garden as a less formal Italian garden with softer border plantings in contrast to the present hedges which frame the quadrants created by the garden's brick paths. Climbing roses and honeysuckle grew on the west wall, climbing hydrangea on the north wall, lilacs at the terrace, and ferns were planted at the center fountain.
To the north of the walled garden is a large lawn with views through specimen shade trees including locust, walnut, and maple to a peripheral border of native trees. This area originally featured a grape arbor and an allée of cherry trees which led to vegetable gardens and a pond. To the east of the walled garden, presently lawn with a low stone retaining wall and steps leading to the north lawn, was a pergola and rose arbor, beyond which a stream was dammed to form a pond featuring a moon bridge and a small island. To the south of the walled garden, now a lawn bordered by native trees, were fruit orchards and distant views of the hills beyond the Hudson River.
Echo Lawn was used as a filming location in the silent film, The Scales of Justice, released in 1914 by the Famous Players Film Company.
Persons associated with the garden include: George A. Elliott (former owner, ca. 1860-1880); Frank Gerard (builder, ca. 1850-1860); Mrs. Minnie Knowlton (former owner, 1880-1905); Thaddeus Beal (former owner, beginning 1905); Gifford Beal and (Alonzo) Reynolds Beal (garden designers, ca. 1911); and John and Mary Beal (former owners, to 1957).
The folder includes worksheets, historical images and additional documentation.
aThis property is featured in the National Park Service National Register of Historic Places, in a 1922 Garden Club of Orange and Dutchess Counties garden guide, and in Beautiful Gardens in America by Louise Shelton, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1915 edition: plate 54, and 1924 edition: plates 81 and 83