Laurel Ledges – Peter Hartford Dunlop Preserve

PCLT_-Respect_It-

Town of Patterson – 14 acres.

The Peter Hartford Dunlop Preserve is part of the Laurel Ledges Natural Area.  The parcel is an unusual shape with jagged property lines.  It connect the Sterling Farm Preserves on Couch Road and the landlocked Lushinsky Preserve to Route 164 – and Brandon Farm Preserve on the other side of the highway.  Click here to see a map of:  The Preserves within the Laurel Ledges Natural Area.

In June 2012, Brewster developer Tom Frasca donated a 14–acre parcel to the Putnam County Land Trust. This donation completes the preservation of the historic Cornwall Ridge from Route 164 to Cornwall Hill Road. This chestnut oak forest with its herbaceous layer of fern, moss and woodland plants will forever remain intact.  Historically, the ridge line was used by Native Americans for shelter and a seasonal migratory corridor from the Great Swamp to other areas.

At the request of the donor, this preserve will be named the Peter Hartford Dunlop Preserve.  Edie Keasbey, who enjoyed a 50-year friendship with Peter Dunlop, said, “He was the most expansive person I have ever known. He loved people. He loved parties. He cooked huge meals! He loved gathering people and he loved gathering plants… He worked hard and he played hard… He just enveloped whatever he was doing.”  Edie and Tom Keasbey met Peter through mutual family friends in the 1950’s and maintained a friendship which spanned from Peter’s introduction to the area on Couch Road to his death from cancer on July 7, 2003, just two weeks short of his 70th birthday

Peter, the owner of Horticulture House in Manhattan, was a successful landscape architect, designing rooftop gardens and claiming among his clients Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall, where he supplied and tended the indoor greenery for many years. He and his wife Joan, who was active in the civil rights and feminist movements and worked for the Ford Foundation, frequently spent weekends with the Keasbeys in Patterson and grew to love the area. When the Keasbeys sold Peter and Joan five acres of adjoining land, Peter wanted to design a unique house befitting the natural beauty of the environment. Late one evening, Peter stood in the kitchen of the Keasbey house and traced the outline of a pie plate, dividing the circle into eight segments. In the center of the resulting octagon would be the fireplace and chimney made from local rocks. This was the beginning of the design for the Dunlop’s octagonal home. They broke ground in the fall of 1969 for this remarkable house on Couch Road.

Although Peter always maintained his apartment and business in New York City, he spent his weekends in Patterson where he actively supported and became involved with FROGS, catering the food for the annual Art Show and providing natural and unique flower arrangements for the Putnam County Land Trust’s annual dinner.

The door to his unique hillside home was always open. It was here that he met Brewster developer Tom Frasca, who has requested that his land donation to the PCLT be named in honor of this very special man.