Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Olana State Historic Site

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5720 Route 9-G
Hudson, NY 12534
Latitude 42.208416
Longitude -73.835205

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Guided tours are available through The Olana Partnership and offered all year long. Reservations are strongly recommended, please visit Self-guided and audio tours are also available. Advance reservations are required for all adult and student groups of 10 or more, and for any third-party guided tours, regardless of size.


The grounds are open yearround for hiking, walking, XC- skiing, snowshoeing and biking (paved surfaces only) from 8:30 AM to sunset daily.


Olana is accessible to people with mobility limitations and other types of accessibility concerns. Visitors using wheelchairs may participate in the Main Floor and Studio tour. A lift can provide access to the main floor. The lift dimensions are 33 inches wide and 46 inches deep. Olana’s hydraulic lift is limited to 600 pound maximum. The Combined Main Floor & Second Floor Tour includes several steep flights of stairs. Alternate access is available via computer stations in the Visitor Center to view a video showing the upper floors of the house. The Visitor Center and restrooms are also accessible.

Olana was the 19th century home, studio and designed landscape of Hudson River School artist Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), his wife Isabel and their four children. The 250 acre historic estate features an elaborately stenciled, Persian-inspired mansion filled with original sketches, studies and paintings by one of the mid-19th century's most famous artists. A diverse decorative arts collection includes objects from around the world. Five miles of carriage drives, many of which are now pedestrian-use only, traverse a property developed in much the way Church created his canvasses, with strategically revealed vistas of one of the most strikingly beautiful places in the Hudson Valley.

Visitors to Olana enjoy guided house tours, view changing exhibits in the Evelyn & Maurice Sharp Gallery, hike, run and walk dogs in the Picturesque landscape, picnic, paint, photograph and take part in programs and special events for all ages. A Visitor Center offers an exhibit, film, interactive touch screen computers and museum shop. Family activities are available regularly at the Wagon House Education Center. A self-guided walking tour of the landscape leads visitors to the Church's first home on the property, the family's farm and orchards, a lake created from swampland, the site of Church's first studio at Olana and several planned views.

Free Audio Tours offer a self-guided experience within Olana's 250-acres and are available for download or streaming at For the most up-to-date virtual events and offerings, please check our website and follow us on social media @olanashs.

OLANA EYE, a live skycam from the artist's Studio Tower, is now online! The skycam offers a live broadcast of the iconic Hudson River valley and Catskill Mountains, a view that Frederic Church painted in the 19th century and one that inspires artists and visitors to Olana State Historic Site today. For the first time, this sublime view is now available online to audiences around the world at all times and in all seasons. To view, visit

Don't miss these popular destinations within or near Olana State Historic Site:

  • Barnyard, farm complex - Church's land was home to a farm, learn more about what animals were kept and where
  • Cosy Cottage - original family home, now the offices of The Olana Partnership
  • Gift Shop - located in the Visitor's Center, find artsy and historic items for everyone on your list!
  • Visitor's Center - view videos and information on the Church family
  • Wagon House Education Center - experience year-round programs and events in the farm complex 

Hours of Operation

  • Olana's 250-acre artist designed landscape is free and open every day, 8:00 AM - sunset. Guided tours of the historic house and the landscape are available. Reservations are strongly recommended. Please visit for more information about tours and tickets.

  • Education Programs:
    On-site programs available.
    Visit for details
  • Special Activity Offerings:
    Private parties/events, specialty tours (family tours, group and school tours), please call (518-751-0344) for more information.

Fees & Rates



Digital Maps

New! Download this park's digital map to your iOS Apple and Android device.

Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900) was a mid-nineteenth century celebrity. As a landscape painter and member of what would eventually be called the Hudson River School, Church is best known for his picturesque views of the North and South American wilderness. The images were often dramatic - perhaps a reflection of the drama surrounding the tumultuous years through which Church achieved the height of his fame. The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and Civil War (1861-1865) had each caused fundamental shifts in the new nation's direction and identity. The publication of Alexander von Humboldt's Cosmos at the turn of the 19th century, which in turn inspired the work of even more ground-breaking work by Wallace and Darwin, had increased interest in science and natural history. Church's paintings both reflect and embody these cultural shifts, through their desire to share with the viewer new and exciting views of far-off locales laden with meticulously rendered botanicals in often heavily manipulated compositions. He became internationally famous with paintings such as Niagara (1857, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), Heart of the Andes (1859, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), Twilight in the Wilderness (1860, Cleveland Museum of Art) and The Icebergs (1861, Dallas Museum of Art).

Church showed artistic talent even in his early childhood in Hartford, Connecticut. His father Joseph, a successful businessman, supported his son's efforts, and by 1844 had arranged through a friend to have Daniel Wadsworth, prominent Hartford community member and patron of Cole's work, write to landscape artist Thomas Cole on his son's behalf. Cole was already well recognized for his talent, and would later become known as the founder of the Hudson River School.

Cole agreed to take on then eighteen-year-old Frederic Church as his student, and Church joined him on sketching tours of the Catskill Mountains and surrounding area. Church learned to sketch the landscape, and then bring elements of his sketches together in the studio to create his paintings, manipulating the view to create better compositions. At age nineteen, Church showed his first work at New York's National Academy. He was elected to the Academy's membership by age twenty-three.

After two years studying with Cole, Church returned to Hartford, and the following year opened a studio in New York's Art-Union Building, where he would remain until an 1858 move to the 10th Street Studio Building. He would maintain his studio there until 1889.

During the 1859 exhibition of Heart of the Andes, Church met Isabel Carnes. Within a year, the couple planned to marry, and Church traveled back up the Hudson to choose a property on which they would build their first home. Before the wedding, he purchased a 126-acre working farm directly across the Hudson River from Catskill, where he'd studied with Cole. Cole had died in 1848 at the age of 47, just two years after Church's time in Catskill, but Church continued to maintain a relationship with the Cole family for many years.

Church hired Richard Morris Hunt as architect for a new house, Cosy Cottage, and the couple boarded with the Cole family during its construction. The couple would spend their first years in the new house surrounded by the news of the Civil War, which impacted Church both personally and artistically. His paintings The Icebergs, Our Banner in the Sky and Cotopaxi, among others, have been associated with his reactions to the events of the Civil War.

Church also began to manipulate the outdoor spaces of his property, adjusting elements of the landscape in much the same way he might manipulate a landscape on one of his canvasses. Church had trees planted and swampland dug into a lake, laid out roads and made decisions about land use as he created his picturesque landscape in three dimensions.

The Churches welcomed their first child, Herbert, and their second, Emma, in 1862 and 1864, but both died in a diphtheria epidemic in New York City in 1865. The Churches spent the early months of their grief in Jamaica, and after returning, welcomed son Frederic Joseph to renew their family. By 1867, Church finally had the opportunity to purchase a plot of land adjacent to his farm that included the hilltop where he would build his final home. He returned to Richard Morris Hunt to discuss plans for a larger house, and Hunt responded with an idea for a French manor house, but Church left on an 18 month trip to Europe and the Near East with his family before agreeing to a design.

The Churches spent time in the areas that are now Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, and later Germany, Italy and Greece. It is their time in the East that ultimately drove Church's ideas about building a home.

Upon his return, Church secured the services of a new architect, Calvert Vaux, and began designing the new house in earnest. Olana's collection includes architectural sketches by both Vaux and Church that illustrate the collaborative relationship the two had during the home's design. Construction began in 1870, and Frederic, Isabel, Frederic Joseph, Theodore, Louis and Downie moved into the second floor of the unfinished house in 1872. Church continued his development of the landscape as well, taking advantage of the new views afforded by the higher elevation property. Church would continue to make changes and improvements to both the home and landscape throughout most of his life.

By the 1880s, Church was painting less frequently and the tightly brushed and highly detailed pictures of the Hudson River School had fallen out of fashion, replaced by the looser, obvious brushstrokes of the Impressionists. He spent his winters in the warmer, more arid climates of Mexico that alleviated the worsening symptoms of his arthritis, returning to Olana each year as the weather warmed. He died in 1900, during one of his return trips to Olana while visiting the home of a friend in New York City.

Church left Olana to his youngest son Louis, who had returned to manage the property in his parents' old age. Louis soon married Sarah (Sally) Good, who came to live with Louis at Olana. Louis died in 1943, and Sally in 1964. They'd had no children of their own, and Sally left Olana to her nephew in New Jersey. In the mid-1960s, the Hudson River School had not yet seen the revival of its popularity, and Olana and the contents of the house were almost auctioned! Art historian David Huntington learned of Sally's death, and after ensuring Sally's nephew would give him a little time, began to contact individuals who might be able to assist. Olana Preservation, Inc. was formed and began the two-year task of raising funds with which to purchase the property and contents of the house.

At the end of the two-year period, Olana Preservation, Inc. had raised over half the funds necessary to purchase the property, but was unable to raise the full amount. By June, 1966 the State Legislature under Governor Nelson Rockefeller had passed a bill authorizing the State of New York to purchase Olana. Olana Preservation, Inc. purchased Olana in July and conveyed the title to New York State in December. Olana opened as a New York State Historic Site in June, 1967.

Olana Preservation, Inc. disbanded, but several of its key members rejoined to start the non-profit Friends of Olana in 1971, which changed its name to The Olana Partnership in 2000. The Olana Partnership continues to play an integral part in supporting New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's efforts at Olana.

Landscape and historic house tours focus on artist Frederic Church's development of the remarkable landscape at Olana, creating it as a three-dimensional work of art.

Guided historic house tours at Olana introduce visitors to the story of Frederic Church and the development of Olana as a 250-acre farm, studio and family home. The paintings and collections in the richly decorated, Eastern-inspired historic house illustrate the story of Olana's creation and its importance to the Church family as a place of refuge and inspiration.

To book a tour, visit

See Olana's calendar of events for special events, tours, and programs:

Historic Landscape and Viewshed Tours

Olana offers guided walking or electric vehicle tours of the 250-acre artist designed landscape which complement guided tours of the historic house. The restoration of Frederic Church's picturesque landscape and stewardship of its dramatic 360-degree views provide visitors with the opportunity to experience first-hand the full breadth of Church's vision for Olana. For more information and tickets, visit

Daily/All Season: Download the self-guided audio tour app

Olana hosts annual exhibitions from May through November in the Evelyn and Maurice Sharp Gallery on the second floor of the main house. Olana is open all year round for house tours and self-guided landscape tours. There are several events for visitors and families throughout the year. Visit

Tue 26 Sep
Young at Heart: Sketch Your Landscape
Tuesday, September 26, 2023 until Thursday, September 28, 2023 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Olana State Historic Site
Ever wonder how artists like Frederic Church captured detail, contrast, and perspective? Participants ages 55+ are invited to sketch Church's artist-designed landscape and scenic views learning basic artistic principles in the process. During each program led by teaching artist Shawn del Joyce, participants will be provided with basic sketching materials, watch a short live demo, and experiment with sketching their own view of Olana State Historic Site's famous landscape. This course is part of an inclusive, anti-ageist, and participatory series of creative skill building programs designed to provide older adults an opportunity to explore their artistic side, socialize with peers, and learn more about Olana. This class is perfect for those with mobility impairments or specific accessibility needs and will take place at easily accessible sites at Olana. Materials and chairs will be provided. $250 for non members/$150 for members. Advanced registration required at Scholarships are available upon request. For more information, please contact or call (518) 751-6938. Register.
Tue 26 Sep
Plein Air Painting Tour of Olana For All
Tuesday, September 26, 2023 until Saturday, September 30, 2023 01:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Olana State Historic Site
Learn more about Olana State Historic Site's famous views, making art at the sites and viewpoints once experienced and designed by Frederic Church himself. Each class will begin with a demonstration in pastel and oil but the class is open to artists of all skill levels working in all media. Basic sketching supplies will be provided but participants are encouraged to bring materials of their choosing to guide their learning. Each session will focus on the key principles of depicting a landscape, such as harnessing perspective, composition, and detail, while also covering important information on how best to prepare for artmaking outdoors. The course is open to all skill levels and participants without a background working outdoors are encouraged to participate. Each class will meet at a designated outdoor location onsite in Church's designed landscape, offering students a unique opportunity to learn from a living practicing artist while walking in Church's footsteps. Register for one session or all five! $200 for five sessions for members; $40 per session for members. $250 for five sessions for nonmembers; $50 per session for nonmembers. Basic sketching supplies will be provided. Advanced registration required – please register for each session separately. For more information, please contact or call (518) 751-6938.
Sat 07 Oct
Sail and Sketch with Olana and Hudson Ferry Co.
Saturday, October 7, 2023 01:00 PM - 02:30 PM
Olana State Historic Site
See and sail like an artist during this special boat tour and workshop provided in collaboration with The Olana Partnership and the Hudson Ferry Co. During this 90 minute tour and sketching expedition, participants will take in the river and its surroundings like a Hudson River School painter. Participate in drawing exercises, hone your observational skills, and get inspired by learning more about the techniques and practices of 19th Century artist Frederic Church. This special voyage will culminate with a view of Olana, Church's masterwork and family home on the Hudson. Open to all ages and skill levels. Drawing materials will be provided. Participants are also welcome to bring their own additional supplies. Ferry rides depart from the Hudson Waterfront. Adults - $50, Seniors - $45, Children - $40 per person. Register at Email to learn more.
Sat 07 Oct
Sail and Sketch with Olana and Hudson Ferry Co.
Saturday, October 7, 2023 03:00 PM - 04:30 PM
Olana State Historic Site
See and sail like an artist during this special boat tour and workshop provided in collaboration with The Olana Partnership and the Hudson Ferry Co. During this 90 minute tour and sketching expedition, participants will take in the river and its surroundings like a Hudson River School painter. Participate in drawing exercises, hone your observational skills, and get inspired by learning more about the techniques and practices of 19th Century artist Frederic Church. This special voyage will culminate with a view of Olana, Church's masterwork and family home on the Hudson. Open to all ages and skill levels. Drawing materials will be provided. Participants are also welcome to bring their own additional supplies. Ferry rides depart from the Hudson Waterfront. Adults - $50, Seniors - $45, Children - $40 per person. Register at Email to learn more.
Sat 14 Oct
LESSONS FROM THE LAND - Walking in Wonder with The Outside Institute
Saturday, October 14, 2023 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Olana State Historic Site
Join us for a walk and discussion about how human hands shape the landscape and how the land transforms us. During this program, Laura Chávez Silverman, founding naturalist of The Outside Institute, will guide participants in accessing their curiosity and sense of awe in nature. A walk throughout Olana's artist-designed landscape will give participants a chance to observe ecological conditions and think more about the relationship between humans and their surroundings. Identifying flora, fauna and fungi's edible and medicinal properties will help participants cultivate a more intimate connection to their surroundings. Advance registration required at This program is $15 per person or $10 for members. For more information, please contact or call (518) 751-6938. Un traductor de español estará presente durante los programas. Para obtener más información, visite Register (Registro)

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