This historic Dutchess County site in Beacon, New York was the estate of Guilian Verplanck II. Verplanck inherited 2,880-acres from his father’s share of the Rombout Patent and built his house around 1730 on this site overlooking the Hudson which he named “Mount Gulian.”
During the Revolutionary War, Mount Gulian became the headquarters of General von Steuben. In 1783, a group of Continental Army oﬃcers met at Mount Gulian and founded the Society of the Cincinnati to preserve the ideals and fellowship of the oﬃcers of Marquis de LaFayette stayed at the house during his return tour of America.
James Brown was a runaway slave from Maryland who worked as a waiter at the Verplanck mansion in New York City before being recognized by a dinner guest. The Verplancks paid oﬀ the Maryland owner and employed Brown as the master gardener at Mount Gulian from 1826 to 1864. During that time, he learned to read and write and penned one of the most detailed journals documenting the life of an African American in the north from that era.
Fire and Restoration
In 1931, the house was destroyed by arson and would lay in ruins until 1966 when Bache Bleecker, a descendant of the Verplanck family, and his wife Connie founded the Mount Gulian Society as a nonproﬁt, private organization. Since then, Mount Gulian has been restored to its 18th-century appearance and serves today as a museum and event space.