The History of The Hermitage

In 1905, with the help of Father H. Havens Richards, SJ, St. Ann's Hermitage was the first building in Poughkeepsie bought by the Marist Brothers. It had been the homestead of the Mac Pherson family. Brother Zepheriny, FMS, purchased this estate from its owner, Mrs. Goodwin of New York City. The property which was at that time a mile outside the city of Poughkeepsie included some 35 acres north of the Waterworks Road and sold for $9,000. Some accounts state that a large part of the price came, with the agreement of his sister, from Brother Zepheriny's patrimony. There is no specific statement to that effect in the official records, but two extracts from the deliberations of the General Council of the Brothers at that time shed some light on the subject (cf. minutes of the council Feb 15, 1905.) For more details see Go to the Land I Will Show You, p.96 by Leonard Voegtle, FMS.

This building was used as a Provincial House until the early fifties. In addition to the provincial administration, it usually housed about 75 to 130 scholastics. There was a chapel with a pipe organ where daily Mass was celebrated by a Jesuit from St. Andrew's. The provincial tailors who made the cassocks for all the brothers in the province, as well as their young brother assistants, lived there with the director, a cook and several young brothers who helped in the print shop, garden and laundry. A farmer who took care of the cows and pigs, and two farmers who maintained an extensive vegetable garden and greenhouse across from St. Peter's, also resided in the Hermitage. There was also an infirmary that housed anywhere from five to thirteen brothers needing medical attention.


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last updated on June 10, 2004