Olana State Historic Site in Greenport, New York, was the estate home of Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900), one of the major figures in the Hudson River School of landscape painting. Olana’s villa overlooks parkland and a working farm designed by the artist, with a wide view of the Hudson River Valley, the Catskill Mountains, and the Taconic Range. The estate takes its name from a fortress-treasure house in ancient Greater Persia (modern-day Armenia), which also overlooked a river valley.
The home is a mixture of Victorian, Persian, and Moorish styles. Frederic and Isabel Church were impressed by the architecture they had seen on their travels in Beirut, Jerusalem, and Damascus in 1868. Upon their return to their farm, they abandoned preliminary plans for a manor house in the French style and instead instead created a more personal vision influenced by their travels.
The Thomas Cole House (Cedar Grove) is now a National Historic Landmark. It includes the home and the studio of painter Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of American painting. Cole lived in the home and used the studios from 1833 through his death in 1848. The Old Studio served as Thomas Cole’s primary studio between 1839 and 1846.
Cole’s student Frederic Edwin Church became a close friend of the family and sketched much of Cedar Grove in 1848. Church’s Olana estate is across the river.