A Brief History of Jacob Sloat & Harmony Hall

The occupants of Harmony Hall ~ family members, guests,

servants, restaurateurs and nursing home operators ~ have

all left their mark on the mansion that is thought to be a

considerable example of the Greek Revival style of

architecture of the early Victorian period. The restoration in

progress is intended to capture the period from 1848 to 1908,

when the house was the dwelling of the Sloat family.

Born in 1792, Jacob Sloat married Sarah Bigelow Hollenbeck

in December 1826 and, together, they had nine children;

five of whom died before the age of four. Jacob Sloat was only

23 years old when he built his first local mill in 1815-1816.

By 1852, Sloat had gained a reputation as an inventor, industrialist and entrepreneur, producing as much as 8,000 pounds per week of the cotton twine that dominated the New York market, supported a thriving village and made Jacob Sloat a wealthy man. He began construction of a magnificent new home in 1846 ~ an avant-guard Greek Revival gem that he may have designed himself with the help his friend Jasper Cropsey, who was both an accomplished artist and student of architecture.

In the summer of 1848, Jacob Sloat and his family moved into the newly-constructed Harmony Hall. When he died less than a decade later in 1857, the house passed into the hands of his wife Sarah and, in 1861, it was purchased from the widow by the couple’s 23-year-old son, Henry. 

Henry married Carrie W. Schultz in 1875, beginning a family of his own in the house where he had spent much of his own life. By this time, the high price of raw materials that had been driven by the Civil War was making it more and more difficult to produce and sell a quality twine product. 

In 1878, the Sloatsburg Manufacturing Company that Jacob Sloat had built collapsed under the pressure of competition from lower-price, low-quality producers. 

With the passing of Henry Sloat in December 1905, the house passed out of the hands of Sloat’s widow in 1908, beginning a period of nearly a century when Harmony Hall served local commercial and institutional needs. In the early twentieth century, the building, which was modified extensively, was used as an inn and restaurant. Later, it served as an adult living facility and a nursing home. 

 

 

 

While the Town of Ramapo begins restoration work on the mansion's exterior, the Friends of Harmony Hall have been hard at work inside the mansion on interior reveals and restoration projects. Click here for more information on what we have accomplished and what we are up to.

Closed by the state in 2003, the building and grounds were purchased by the Town of Ramapo in January 2006 as part of its Open Space Acquisition and Preservation Program. In 2007, a grant was received from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation to begin a major capital improvement initiative that includes full restoration of the roof, cupola, front veranda and entrance door. 

Contact Us

The Friends of Harmony Hall is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Harmony Hall-Jacob Sloat House and the New York Highlands area. Your contribution to our preservation and programming efforts may be tax-deductible.

Tel.          (845) 712-5220

Email       events (at) friendsofharmonyhall.org

Address    15 Liberty Rock Rd., PO Box 293

               Sloatsburg, NY 10974

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