$1.5 Million Orange County Estate Has Horse Racing in its DNA


This Georgian estate in the Orange County Town of Chester is on the market for $1,499,000. Photo: Ellis Sotheby's International Realty

An eight-acre, 1794 Georgian estate in the Orange County enclave of Chester is now on the market for $1,499,000 with Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty.

Located at 6 Silvertail Road, the historic six-bedroom, five-bath brick home sits on the original 19th century farmland once owned by Jonas Seely, whose son, Jonas Seely Jr. bred the first Hambletonian stallion in 1849, a famed American racehorse trotter and a founding sire of the Standardbred horse breed. Hambletonian 10, as the stallion was registered, made his first public appearance at the Orange County Fair in Goshen, New York, and was later inducted into the Immortals category of Goshen’s Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. Today, nearly all American trotters and pacers can be traced to one or more of Hambletonian’s descendants.

The estate features panoramic views of Sugar Loaf Mountain and Glenmere Lake. A long driveway leads to a formal entrance, where the center hall foyer opens to a formal dining room and expansive sitting room, with doors leading to a veranda enclosed by white railing with balusters. 

The home’s showpiece is the den, which features a series of original murals from 1879 painted and signed by John Ferguson Weir, the director of fine arts at Yale University from 1869 to 1913. The one-of-a-kind paintings depict scenes of the natural surrounding land, including a gristmill, flora and fauna from the Hudson River valley and farm that was Jonas Seely’s when the Hambletonian was born in 1846.

One of the paintings by Weir’s father hangs in the U.S. Capitol rotunda in Washington. In the late 1800s, Weir was a frequent visitor to the estate when it was the home of his brother, Col. Henry Cary Weir, holder of a congressional medal for his service in the Civil War. 

The home’s showpiece is the den, which features a priceless series of original murals from 1879 painted and signed by John Ferguson Weir, the director of fine arts at Yale University from 1869 to 1913. Photo: Ellis Sotheby's International Realty

The main part of the house is said to have been built immediately after the Civil War by Isaac Henderson, part owner of the New York Evening Post, as a wedding present for his daughter, the bride of Colonel Weir, who also expanded the home in the 1870s by adding a Victorian tower and modifying the main section, which was built from 1794 to 1804.

The home is listed by MaryBeth O’Hara of Nyack-based Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty. She described the listing as “rich in history,” adding: “Formal in its grandeur yet lending comfort in perfectly proportioned rooms, this house has amazing flow for entertaining on a small scale or large gatherings. A large, enclosed garden, expansive slate patio and separate outdoor fireplace beckons for evenings spent under the stars.”

Chester is 75 minutes from New York City and 30 minutes from New York Stewart International Airport, New Windsor. The property is near major highways and area attractions, including Goshen Historic Track, Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, Legoland, Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, farm-to-table restaurants, breweries, distilleries and the Orange Heritage Trailway and Shawangunk Wine Trail.

Robert Brum is a freelance journalist who writes about the Hudson Valley. Contact him and read his work at robertbrum.com.

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