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Presenter: Grant S. Quertermous, Curator and Director of Collections, Classical American Homes Preservation Trust
Edgewater, a historic early-19th-century home located in the Hudson River valley of New York, was purchased by Robert and Susan Gaston Donaldson of Fayetteville, in 1852; their descendants owned the estate until 1902. In Fayetteville, Donaldson, a recent architecture graduate at the University of North Carolina, constructed the Lafayette Hotel in preparation for the 1825 visit of General Lafayette to the town named after him. After purchasing Edgewater, Donaldson added a chapel, a library, and other buildings with architect Alexander Jackson Davis, who had worked with Donaldson on projects at UNC and on the state Capitol in Raleigh. During their half-century, the Donaldsons also hosted artists of the Hudson River School.
In addition to Edgewater, Classical American Homes Preservation Trust owns, protects, and operates Ayr Mount (featured in a November 2020 History and Highballs program)—a Federal-style plantation house built in 1815 near Hillsborough that was considered one of the finest residential structures of the Piedmont—and other historic houses in New York and South Carolina.