Highlighting Gilded Age Opulence, Tales of the Titanic, Tea Talks and More

Staaatsburg, N.Y. (3/25/16) - Staatsburgh State Historic Site, also known as the Mills Mansion, will open for the season on Friday, April 15. Drop-in tours will be offered Thursdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., last tour at 4 p.m. Often called a time capsule of the Gilded Age, the 79-room mansion retains its original furnishings and opulent décor. Admission for the standard tour is $8; $6 for seniors and students; children age 12 and younger are free.

In addition to standard tours, Staatsburgh will offer special programs in April. The programs will highlight Staatsburgh's connection to the steamship Titanic and compare life at Staatsburgh to the lifestyle seen in the PBS television series Downton Abbey.


On Tuesday, April 12 at 1 p.m., as part of Staatsburgh's ongoing Gilded Age Tea & Talk Series, guests can enjoy tea and scones in the historic dining room while listening to a talk about "Dining on the Titanic." Everyone attending will receive a 4 oz. tin of Staatsburgh Blend tea brewed by Harney & Sons. The cost is $30 per person; $25 for Friends of Mills Mansion. Reservations are required.


Each April, Staatsburgh commemorates the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic with a special "Tales of the Titanic" tour. Staatsburgh's owners, Ruth and Ogden Mills, had tickets to sail on the Titanic's scheduled second trip. When the ship went down on its maiden voyage, the Millses lost many of their high society friends, including Ruth Mills' cousin, John Jacob Astor, the richest man to perish in the tragedy.

"Tales of the Titanic" may be the closest anyone can come to touring the Titanic without taking a submarine to the bottom of the ocean. The tour shows how the rooms in Staatsburgh bear a striking resemblance to the first class accommodations on the Titanic. The liner was designed to mirror the luxury that the millionaires were accustomed to in their lavish homes. As visitors go room to room at Staatsburgh, they will be shown photographs from the Titanic of nearly identical rooms aboard ship.

At each stop on the tour, stories of the Titanic's last hours will add a poignant note. Looking into the Millses' elegant bedroom suite, visitors will see the similarity to Benjamin Guggenheim's opulent stateroom aboard the Titanic, where a solicitous steward persuaded the reluctant - and doomed - millionaire to don a life jacket. At the room of Mrs. Mills' cousin, W. S. Hoyt, visitors will hear the extraordinary story of Titanic passenger Fredrick Hoyt, who dived off the sinking ship into the icy water and swam into the dark night, hoping to reach a lifeboat.

"Tales of the Titanic" will be presented at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 17; Saturday, April 30; and on Sundays, May 8 and 15. The cost is $10; $8 for seniors and students. Reservations are required.


"Opulent Entertaining in the Downton Abbey Era" is a special tour during which visitors meet servants and guests from Staatsburgh's past, portrayed by costumed interpreters. Fans of the popular PBS drama will see how Staatsburgh was very much an American version of Downton Abbey. As if they were at Staatsburgh 100 years ago, visitors will hear guests gossiping and see servants scurrying as Ruth Mills entertains the elite of Gilded Age Society. The tour will be offered at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 24 and again on Sunday, May 29. The cost is $15; $13 for students and seniors. Reservations are required.

Reservations for all programs can be made by calling (845) 889-8851 x 336.

Staatsburgh State Historic Site and the Ogden Mills & Ruth Livingston Mills Memorial State Park are located on Old Post Road in Staatsburg, off Route 9 between Rhinebeck and Hyde Park. The historic site is one of six sites and 15 parks administered by the Taconic Region of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. For more information, please call 845-889-8851 or visit our websites at www.nysparks.com/historic-sites/25/details.aspx and www.facebook.com/StaatsburghSHS.


Donald Fraser | Donald.Fraser@parks.ny.gov | (845) 889-8851 ext. 338
Chris Steber | Christopher.Steber@parks.ny.gov | (845) 889-3880