The first New Yorker to buy property and build a grand summer house in Washington was Edward Van Ingen, a wool importer. Around 1892, Van Ingen asked Ehrick Rossiter, the renowned architect, to design a hotel on a hillside overlooking the Shepaug River as a memorial to his oldest daughter who died of Scarlet Fever. Completed in 1893, Holiday House was conceived as a vacation retreat for working class women affiliated with Saint Bartholomew’s Church in New York City. Since there were no labor laws or protection against exploitation, the Van Ingen’s wanted to provide a space for gracious and simple living for these women to enjoy life and leave their sweatshop jobs behind for a few weeks. After World War I, the family could no longer afford the upkeep of this summer getaway and closed the doors in 1918. Unable to sell or donate the building, the family chose to dismantle the house and donate the building parts and furnishings to the townspeople. All that now remains on-site is the foundation of the original building.
A seven-minute walk transports you back a century in time. Bisecting the pine-crowned hills, the gently trail provides occasional views of the equestrian riding ring before reaching what remains of Holiday House (0.36-mile one-way).
Directions: From the main parking lot (next to the horse riding ring), take the blue circle trail to what remains of the Holiday House.