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

Olana Plein Air Festival

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 

News! Olana Historic Site is Awarded $1.5 million through Governor Cuomo's New York Works Initiative

Hours of Operation

  • Olana's 250-acre artist designed landscape is free and open every day, 8:30 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

Special Events

Please see Olana Programs + Events for upcoming events.

Mark your calendars!

July 18, 2020: The Olana Summer Party

Join us for this highlight of the Hudson Valley summer season. Olana's annual Summer Party features top regional chefs who create hors d'oeuvres inspired by an annual theme, paired with wine, craft beers and signature cocktails - all with spectacular views of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains. More info coming soon!

August 22 - 23, 2020: The Olana Summer Market

Over 30 local artisans, music, and eateries will return to Olana to showcase their wares along the picturesque Ridge Road Come shop, picnic, relax & enjoy the views! More Info coming soon!

December 19, 2020: The Olana Holiday Event

More info coming soon!

Tue 01 Jun
FALLEN by Jean Shin
Tuesday, June 1, 2021 until Sunday, October 31, 2021 08:00 AM
Olana State Historic Site
(518) 751-0344

FALLEN invites viewers to reflect on the cultural history of the Hudson Valley region and the life of the eastern hemlock tree that once stood on Olana's East Lawn. Artist Jean Shin presents a site-specific work installed on Olana's East Lawn through October 31. This public work is a part of Olana's larger 2021 collaborative exhibition, "Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment." When visiting, please touch but do not climb on the artwork. FREE and open to all.
Tue 01 Jun
“Memento Mori Mandalas” by Portia Munson
Tuesday, June 1, 2021 until Sunday, October 31, 2021 08:00 AM
Olana State Historic Site
(518) 751-0344

On view daily 8 AM - sunset through October 31, 2021

In her flower mandala series, Munson memorializes bird, animal, and insect life that has come into harsh contact with man, highlighting the shifting climate and the associated stresses that pollution and modern, industrialized life have on natural places and wildlife. This public work is part of Olana's larger 2021 collaborative exhibition, "Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment." FREE and open to all.

Registration: Required
Sat 12 Jun
Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment
Saturday, June 12, 2021 until Sunday, October 31, 2021
Olana State Historic Site
(518) 751-0344

Presented at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Olana State Historic Site

Please join us to experience this new exhibition exploring the theme of "cross pollination" in art and the environment from the 19th century to the contemporary moment. The project stems from the artist Martin Johnson Heade's 19th century painting series of hummingbird and habitats and includes major paintings by Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, and contemporary art by Nick Cave, Jeffrey Gibson, Paula Hayes, Maya Lin, and more. "Cross Pollination: Martin Johnson Heade, Frederic Church, Thomas Cole, and Our Contemporary Moment" was created by Thomas Cole National Historical Site, The Olana Partnership at Olana State Historic Site, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Its tour is organized by Crystal Bridges. To learn more visit

Tue 02 Nov
Virtual Young at HeART: Memoir as Sight and Sound
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 06:30 PM
Olana State Historic Site
(518) 567-2170

Please visit the following link to read the full event description: click here

Just as acclaimed 19th-century artist Martin Johnson Heade captured visual and aural stimuli on canvas, so are the senses essential to the craft of memoir. In this six-week course, participants will each craft a memoir essay of 1,500 words and will consider such essential topics as: the narrative arc, describing a setting, creating a reliable narrator, and writing dialogue.

$200 person, $150 members. Limited capacity; Advanced registration required at Scholarships are available. For more information, please contact or call (518) 567-2170. During the COVID-19 crisis, The Olana Partnership will refund registration before this program upon cancellation for any reason. Please note that The Olana Partnership reserves the right to cancel this program due to extreme weather or other dangerous conditions.


Thu 04 Nov
Animated Interiors: Frederic Church’s Experiments with Space and Light (Webinar)
Thursday, November 4, 2021 06:00 PM - 07:00 PM
Olana State Historic Site
(518) 751-0344

As a renowned landscape painter, Frederic Church had long grappled with how to capture the vibrant animated world around him. His paintings and drawings attest to both the heights he achieved in these efforts as well as their vexing limits. With his foray into house building in the early 1870s, Church moved into an immersive, three-dimensional format for his art, manipulating space and daylight as artistic materials. During this webinar, Julia B. Rosenbaum (Bard College) considers the first-floor interiors of his home at Olana not only as a deliberate composition—of a piece with his two-dimensional oeuvre—but as an aesthetic culmination of his enduring engagement with issues of visual perception and bodily proprioception. This live webinar is available to members of The Olana Partnership and will be recorded for online viewing.

Julia B. Rosenbaum's work focuses on nineteenth and early twentieth-century American visual material. Author of Visions of Belonging, she is a professor of art history and visual culture at Bard College and has served as consulting Director of Research and Publications at The Olana Partnership.

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