Hyde Hall is a stunning reminder of a bygone American era, when powerful English families established vast estates in their former colonies. The house itself is considered the finest example of a neoclassic country mansion anywhere in the United States.
Roger Kennedy of the Smithsonian Institution has hailed Hyde Hall as “a great house, architecturally, and a social document of the first importance.” The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called Hyde Hall “one of the most remarkable buildings in America,” and Brendan Gill, long-time architecture critic for The New Yorker magazine and an early champion for Hyde Hall’s restoration, declared it one of the “three or four great buildings in America of its time.”
When New York State took over ownership of Hyde Hall, the passage of time had taken a toll on the mansion and outbuildings. There were no plans and no funds to preserve the structure, and the threat of demolition was very real. The Friends of Hyde Hall was formed in 1964 to save the house and help maintain it for the public’s use and enjoyment. It was immediately accepted on the National Register of Historic Places and subsequently declared a National Historic Landmark, the only such designation in Otsego County. In 1988 the Friends acquired a 30-year renewable lease on Hyde Hall and its immediate environs as well as responsibility for its restoration and management. This lease has been renewed for another thirty years so the restoration and sharing of the site with the public can continue. The Friends was renamed Hyde Hall, Inc. in 1999, but its purpose remains unchanged.