Between 1817 and 1834, a mansion designed by Philip Hooker was built for George Clarke. Clarke was a wealthy landowner who inherited a fortune from his grandfather. Before construction began in 1813, Clarke married Ann Low Cary Cooper, a wealthy widow from a prominent New York family. George named his home “Hyde Hall” after his ancestral home in Cheshire, England.
Hyde Hall sits in Glimmerglass State Park and is a New York State Historic Site. If you are making a trip to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame, a stop at Hyde Hall is a great addition to your trip. The house takes about 45 minutes to tour and makes you think of Downton Abbey as you visit each room. Glimmerglass State Park is a perfect place for a picnic and some exploring.
My family visited Hyde Hall while vacationing in Cooperstown. Like most mansions and historic sites we visit, I spent a lot of time telling my younger kids, “Don’t touch that,” and “Don’t sit there.” Thankfully, our tour guide was fantastic and understanding of my kids’ needs to reach out and touch everything at eye level. We are a history-loving family and appreciated learning about the inhabitants of the house and those that worked inside the mansion.
For my kids, the star of Hyde Hall is Jenny. The previous night, my kids and I went on a ghost tour of Cooperstown. While on the tour, we heard a story about Jenny, a young woman who lived in a downtown house. Shortly after getting married, she passed away. To honor his bride, her husband had a huge painting made of her that he placed at the bottom of the steps in his home. When he remarried, his second wife had the painting removed. At the removal of the painting, strange occurrences happened in the home. The story goes, the painting was placed back on the wall and things settled. Throughout the history of the home, whenever the painting was taken down, Jenny became upset. Recently, a new family moved into the house and since Jenny was a relative of George Clarke, they loaned the painting to Hyde Hall where it is on display in the dining room. It took us all of two minutes of being inside Hyde Hall before my kids asked to see Jenny.
Around mid-tour, we arrived inside the massive dining room and were introduced to Jenny. As described on the ghost tour, the eyes follow you around the room. The painting did not take away from the magnificent dining room set and my kids and I found the lighting of the ceiling candles very interesting. It made us thankful to have electricity.
There’s so much more to see in Cooperstown that is not baseball-related. Set time aside to visit Hyde Hall and explore Glimmerglass State Park, where you will also find one of America’s oldest covered bridges. Tours are offered between 10 and 3 and by reservation only. To make reservations, call (607) 547-5098. Ticket prices are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, military, and youth (6-17), and kids 5 and under are free.
Other Cooperstown Articles:
Safely Visiting Cooperstown was the Vacation I needed
Visiting the National Baseball Hall of Fame with Kids
Tips For Visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame
A Visit to the Cooperstown Bat Company is A Must for Baseball Fans