Staatsburg, N.Y. — Staatsburgh State Historic Site will offer a special tour called “Tales of the Titanic” this spring. 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.
The tour shows how the rooms in Staatsburgh, also known as the Mills Mansion, bear a striking resemblance to the first-class accommodations on the Titanic. “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 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 at 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 Saturday, April 28, and on Sundays May 6 and 13. The cost is $10; $8 for seniors and students. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (845) 889-8851, extension 336.
Tours are offered Thursdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 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.
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 6 sites and 15 parks administered by the Taconic Region of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. For more information, call 845-889-8851, or visit Staatsburgh’s websites at https://parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/25/details.aspx
Staatsburgh’s events are listed at https://parks.ny.gov/events/event-results.aspx?hs=25
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 62 million people annually. A recent study found that New York State Parks generates $1.9 billion in economic activity annually and supports 20,000 jobs. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.