The Webb Horton House c1910.
It’s really nice when an old Hudson Valley structure has a fairy tale ending. As opposed to many fine homes and structures that met with ruin by way of age, abandonment, or misguided civic improvement, the Webb Horton House in Middletown, NY, suffered none of these. Be it by intent or by twist of fate the impressive structure remains today in as good a shape as ever.
The mansion was designed and built for Webb Horton, a man from Delaware County, NY, who made big money in the tanning industry in Narrowsburg NY. The Horton family had been living on the property since the 1880s, and had slowly acquired a good deal of surrounding property. In 1902, at the age 76, Webb Horton started construction on the mansion. It was completed in 1906, reportedly at a cost of a million dollars. Quite the tidy sum for that age. Here’s where a twist of fate enters the picture. Horton died in 1908 without ever spending one night in his own mansion. His wife who inherited the estate died two years later. Shortly after in 1918 both his children had died without marrying and without leaving heirs.
Before his death, Eugene Horton (Webb Horton’s son) willed the estate to a cousin and employee, John Morrison. Morrison took care of the estate until his death in 1947. He made few changes to the property and the Horton House and its outlying structures stayed mostly in its original state.