National Register Nomination for Proctoria, Land of the Skies, Orange County, New York

Alison S. Talbot, Roger Williams University


This Capstone is a National Register Nomination for Frederick Freeman Proctor’s Central Valley Proctoria estate in Orange County, New York. The Proctoria, Land of the Skies (Proctoria) is a collection of buildings, structures, landscapes, and sites –recreational, agrarian, and natural– that together reflect the social and leisure privileges of an elite class of Americans during the early to mid-twentieth century. The property is significant in New York as a sizable and semi-intact summer estate and farmstead associated with Frederick Freeman Proctor, the Dean of Vaudeville in North America. The Proctoria estate is significant under Criterion B for listing on the National Register of Historic Places for its association with Proctor as his private vacation retreats. The period of significance is therefore from 1909 when Proctor bought the land until 1929 when he died.

Proctoria is also an outstanding local collection of early twentieth century Colonial Revival, Craftsman, and Italianate Renaissance Revival architecture, which is found throughout the Hudson River Valley. Built between 1909 and 1912, the estate features a number of distinctive elements associated with these popular early twentieth century architectural movements. Special emphasis on the use of natural building materials including locally found fieldstone and puddingstone making the estate significant under criterion C.

The Proctoria estate contains are large amount of intact archaeological deposits dating from the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth century; as well as a representation from the early to mid-nineteenth century, and possibly late eighteenth century. Integrity of these sites has been maintained, and, by default, protected when they came into ownership by USMA in 1944. Proctoria holds the potential to yield important local historical and archaeological information on the lifeways of the upper-middle class, specifically those of Proctor, during the early to mid-twentieth century, rendering it significant under criterion D.