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Fonthill Castle

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Fonthill Castle

Fonthill Castle was built in 1852 for Edwin Forrest, one of this country's leading nineteenth-century actors. The site, with its breathtaking view of the river, was the consummate setting for the castle that he and his wife intended to build for their country residence.

He originally planned to build it at the water's edge on a natural promonotory jutting out into the river, but the Hudson River Railroad planned to lay its tracks along the river so the present site was chosen instead. The name Fonthill was derived from William Beckford's Gothic Fonthill Abbey in England. While its plan or organization has no parallel to the English building, there are similarities in interior decoration and in certain architectural details which are direct quotations of Fonthill Abbey. An example is the fan faulting of Forrest's drawing room ceiling, probably modelled on Beckford's St. Michael's Gallery.

Fonthill's architect is a matter of some controversy, with some holding the belief that it was built by Thomas C. Smith and others certain it was Alexander Jackson Davis. However, it cannot be accurately determined at this time.

The castle has served variously as a chapel, a residence for the Sisters of Charity of New York, a museum, an annex to the main building, a chaplain's residence, and the college library for the College of Mount Saint Vincent. Today it houses the admissions office.

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Geoffrey Gloak

may be one of the few people you meet who is always glad to talk taxes. He has spent 17 years immersed in government communications – almost entirely in the tax field. He currently serves as the Director of Public Relations at the New York State Tax Department. In each of Geoff’s positions, he has created opportunities to transform the communications environment for the benefit of the organization. Under his leadership, Tax Department public relations have shifted from a reactive focus to proactive outreach. Most recently, Geoff led the STAR Registration media campaign to assist 2 million homeowners with property tax relief while eliminating fraud. As a result of extensive press outreach, more than 300 articles were printed in daily papers alone, and broadcast media repeatedly covered the story in each corner of the state. Less than 5 months after launch, 2.3 million homeowners had registered for their property tax exemptions. Geoff (@gloak23) lives in Kinderhook with his journalist wife, Kristi Berner (@kristiberner), and 4-year-old daughter, Gemma, who is now proud to be able to write her name.