New York, NY April 16, 2007 The Open Space Conservancy, Inc. (OSC), the land acquisition affiliate of the Open Space Institute (OSI), announces the purchase of Arden House and 450 acres from Columbia University. Until July 2005, Columbia operated Arden House as part of its Arden Conference Center, which also included the nearby Arden Homestead.
Located in the Town of Woodbury, New York, Arden House was completed in 1909 by E.H. Harriman. The house was built at the highest point on Mount Orama, with commanding views of the Hudson Highlands in all directions, an area OSI has been actively protecting for decades, conserving more than 25,000 acres. The Arden House property has important conservation value with extensive open spaces including a lake and distinct rocky outcroppings visible for miles around. The property is located adjacent to Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) lands and Harriman State Park.
E.H. Harriman rose from an errand boy on Wall Street to become a wealthy railroad tycoon who acquired thousands of acres of land in New York State. Harriman had a passionate love for wilderness as a source of personal release from the stress of his business life. His sons, Averell (Governor of New York State 1955-58) and E. Roland (financier), continued his legacy of land conservation and conveyed the 100,000 square-foot Arden House to Columbia University in 1948.
Columbia also sold Arden Homestead to a private buyer, who will use the property as a family residence. Arden Homestead is situated on 540-acres in the Town of Tuxedo, two miles south of Arden House.
“OSI is proud to help further the Harriman legacy which is rich in park and wilderness preservation both in the State of New York and nationally,” says Kim Elliman, CEO of the Open Space Institute. “We want to thank the Harriman family for helping to make this transaction possible.”
“The University deeply appreciates the generosity of the Harriman family and is proud to have been entrusted with the stewardship of these historic properties,” said Columbia University spokesman Robert Hornsby.
The protection of the Arden House property brings the total of preserved lands in New York State that were once owned by the Harriman family to nearly 70,000 acres, including Bear Mountain, Harriman and Sterling Forest State Parks.
The Open Space Institute is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting scenic, natural and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats, and sustain community character. OSI has protected nearly 100,000 acres in New York State and, through its Conservation Finance Program, has assisted in the protection of an additional 1.4 million acres in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and North Carolina. OSI achieves its mission through land acquisition, conservation easements, special loan programs, creative partnerships, education, and analytical research.
Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia University in the City of New York is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and today is one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions. Columbia has more than 3,000 faculty members and enrolls nearly 24,000 students, including more than 5,000 international students. The University spans three undergraduate schools, 13 graduate and professional schools, a school of continuing education, four affiliated institutions, a world-class medical center, 22 libraries, and more than 100 research centers and institutes. For more information about Columbia University