When your dream home is an old house

By Sandra Hutchinson

A version of this essay was published in The Chronicle newspaper, on September 29, 2016.


My dream home is an old house.

I grew up primarily in New York’s northern Westchester County, in several different mid-20th century houses. My father died when I was 14, and two years later, after my mother remarried, she decided to buy a rambling historic house and nearly 200 acres upstate, in rural Montgomery County, near my grandparents’ farm, where she had been born and raised.

So she and my new stepfather and my 16-year-old self moved from Chappaqua, New York to an isolated 18th century home with six working fireplaces, drafty single pane windows, only an oil-fueled generator for electrical power, a big Dutch door, and ghosts. To say that the move necessitated some adjustment on my part would be a gross understatement.

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Douglass Crockwell’s Glens Falls Legacy

By Sandra Hutchinson

Note: This article was originally published in 2000 in The Chronicle newspaper’s Glens Falls Magazine. Several people I interviewed for the article are now deceased — Donna Lundgren, Catherine (Katie) Birdsall, and both Dan and Sara Robertson. William Smith, who took the photos on which Mr. Crockwell based his illustrations, died in 2005. Mr. Crockwell’s daughter, Margaret (Sister Mary), passed away in 2015. This article was reprinted and distributed by the Hyde Collection Art Museum in Glens Falls in 2016 in conjunction with its exhibit The Other Rockwell: Douglass Crockwell.


Spencer Douglass Crockwell, who died in 1968 at the age of 64, was a significant and fascinating figure in the recent history of Glens Falls. His story is more complex than many people realize, and reaches far beyond our own community into the larger world of 20th century American art.

Douglass Crockwell at his easel in his Glens Falls studio. Photo courtesy Johanna Crockwell.

Douglass Crockwell at his easel in his Glens Falls studio. Photo courtesy Johanna Crockwell.

It’s a tale, in part, of phenomenal success as a commercial artist. Operating from his studio on East Sanford Street, Mr. Crockwell created illustrations that frequently became covers of Saturday Evening Post magazine, as well as seeing wide use in advertising, calendars, murals and portraiture. It’s estimated that his images were reproduced 3 billion times and that some 450 of his oil paintings were turned into full-page, full-color illustrations.

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Ale or cider? Stopping by Washington County breweries

By Sandra Hutchinson

During the past two weekends, we’ve taken leisurely rides in Washington County and ended up partaking in some local brews — craft ales at R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery in the sleepy town of Hebron, and hard ciders at Slyboro Ciderhouse, at Hicks Orchard, near Granville. In both spots, we ran into some old friends who were doing exactly the same thing we were—enjoying both the glorious late summer weather and the small batch, locally produced libations.

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Our group tried the ale samplers at R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery.

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