The park grounds, view over the Hudson, and the Mansion are all remarkable and very beautiful, but the history of this site lies within the Livingston Family. You start your introduction at the gift shop, where you watch a very informative video gaining your first insight into the Livingstons before your designated tour time. The house tour lasts about an hour. Our guide was well informed, engaging, and personal. You are immediately given a genealogy chart on the Livingstons that you reference the entire tour. The view from Clermont’s front door is spectacular overlooking the Hudson. The original mansion was built by Robert Livingston around 1740 on land inherited from his father. The family made its wealth from use of their land. The most interesting story, reminiscence of Gone With The Wind, occurred during the Revolutionary War when a small force of British soldiers burned the original Clermont and twenty four other buildings belonging to the Livingston’s to punish them for their support of the rebels. Margaret Beekman Livingston, the mistress of the house, escaped with her daughters and youngest son clutching a few treasures, one being a clock that was recovered and now stands in the hallway. The most famous member of the Livingston family was Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, Margaret’s son. He served on the Committee of Five to draft the Declaration of Independence, but in his absence his cousin Phillip did the signing. Robert had the distinct honor of giving the presidential oath of office to George Washington, was lead negotiator of the Louisiana Purchase and the co-inventor of the first commercial steam boat. The mansion is beautiful and tells the story of this most notable family in American history. Well done
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