Open Space Institute sells Glenclyffe friary

PUTNAM, NY - March 20, 2003 - On March 20th, the Open Space Institute announced the sale of the Glenclyffe friary in Garrison, Putnam County, to the Garrison Institute. The friary and the land surrounding it are part of an historic monastery that Open Space Institute acquired in 2001 through its land conservation affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy. 

The friary, built in 1929, is a 72,000-square foot Georgian brick and marble building with more than 130 rooms. The land surrounding it has stunning views of the Hudson River and the Highlands. Because of its scenic and architectural assets, the building and the land have been encumbered with conservation easements to protect their integrity. Open Space Institute purchased the land, part of a larger 93-acre property, in order to insure that the property would retain its character and beauty. Prior to OSI's purchase, the Glenclyffe property was the subject of a controversial proposal that would have resulted in intensive residential and commercial development. 

“Glenclyffe caught our eye many years ago and continues to intrigue us for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is its location on the banks of the Hudson River surrounded by the magnificent Highlands. It is a deeply spiritual and redemptive place. It is no small wonder that a Capuchin friary was ensconced here for eighty years,” said Joe Martens, President of Open Space Institute. Martens noted that a carriage road traveling through the Glenclyffe property was used as the escape route by Benedict Arnold after his attempted surrender of West Point during the Revolutionary War. Also of historical note, Hamilton Fish, Governor of New York, bought the property in 1861 and built his home there. The Fish estate is one of three buildings located on the Glenclyffe property. “We're working with the community to find ways to adapt these structures for future use,” said Martens. Portions of the property will be made available to the public, providing a compliment to the neighboring Arden Point State Park, a property which OSI helped protect. 

The Garrison Institute is dedicated to applying the wisdom of contemplative traditions to the contemporary issues of the environment and civil society. 

The Institute will use the Capuchin monastery for retreats, symposia, and conferences. “Our intent is to preserve the contemplative qualities of the monastery while fostering practical solutions to the issues of our time,” said Diana Rose, President of Garrison Institute. Ms. Rose founded the non-profit institute with her husband, Jonathan Rose. Mr. Rose, a noted philanthropist, was present at the closing this afternoon at OSI's offices in Manhattan.

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