This Striking Hudson Valley Home Has a Titanic Connection
In a roundabout way, the Rockland abode survived the historic sinking of the infamous ocean liner.
Photos by Andrea Swenson
An exquisite home in Grand View-on-Hudson has a storied link to a more than 100-year-old maritime disaster.
This year marks 107 years since the tragic sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. Margaret Welles Swift, of the Swift Meat Packing Company, survived the sinking — but the blueprints to the home she was to build in the Hudson Valley went down with the ship.
Following the credo of Swift’s family crest, Nil Desperandum or Never Despair, duplicate prints were found. Several years after the sinking of the Titanic, the home rose on the high banks of the Hudson River in Grand View-on-Hudson, a tiny village between Nyack and Piermont. It is offered for sale by Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty, listed for $1.795 million.
A stucco exterior lends Mediterranean style to the home, which is known as Overledge. Four working fireplaces, including one in the master suite and another in a bright, spacious sunroom with original curved windows, protect against a winter chill. The master suite includes an office/den and a master bath with a walk-in dressing room. There are three other bedrooms, two more full baths, and two half-baths.
The current owners expanded the kitchen by seven feet, adding a comfortable, riverview coffee nook replete with cozy armchairs. The eat-in kitchen itself is a masterpiece, with radiant heated floors, beautiful cabinetry, an island with a stone top, and a separate butler’s pantry big enough to host a party.
Follow a spiral staircase to a finished basement with a half-bath and game room. Outside, there’s a bluestone terrace, a koi pond, beautiful gardens reminiscent of Swift’s gentle hand (she founded Nyack’s Garden Club), expansive river views, and a staircase across the street that leads to a private riverfront lot that once held a teahouse, but now can be a home base for kayaking or paddleboarding.
Many other celebrated owners enjoyed Overledge after Swift: Alba Martinez, the brother-in-law to Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic, who reportedly used the property as a hideout; Michael Shrieve, famed drummer for rock band Santana, who owned it in the 1970s; and George and Elizabeth Peper, editor-in-chief of Golf magazine for 25 years, who owned it in the '80s.
Despite the turnover, however, vestiges of Swift’s ownership remain: in the gardens, in the home’s fine woodwork, and in the window overlooking the home’s main staircase — a stained-glass portrait of lions standing atop the phrase “Nil Desperandum.”
The property is listed by Nan Swaab, Ellis Sotheby's International Realty, Nyack.