Clio Logo
Wildcliff, also known as the Cyrus Lawton House, is a Gothic Revival style cottage built in 1852. Located on the eastern point of Davenport Neck, part of what is now Hudson Park in New Rochelle. Designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, a notable 19th century architect who designed many Gothic Revival style buildings and picturesque villas.

Wildcliff 2002

Wildcliff 2002

Brochure for Wildcliff Youth Museum

Brochure for Wildcliff Youth Museum

In 1852 New York lawyer Cyrus Lawton, commissioned Alexander Jackson Davis to design a Gothic style cottage-villa on the hilltop of the eastern side of Davenport Neck, now the neighborhood of Echo Point. Lawton’s wife was the daugther of Lawrence Montgomery Davenport, who’s family had owned the peninsula of Davenport Neck since the late 18th century. Twelve years after construction, Davis harmoniously added to the house.The home was on top of the hill to provide sweeping views of Echo Bay and the Long Island Sound. [1]

Following Lawton’s death in 1902, the property went to his son Newberry Davenport Lawton, until Julius and Clara Prince purchased it in 1913. The Princes made alterations to the home in the Neo-Tudor style, but the original structure remained.[2] In 1940, Clara Prince donated Wildcliff to the City of New Rochelle. The building has been used for many purposes including a wildlife learning center and a performing arts theater. 

Wildcliff falls into the category of picturesque, asymmetrical, stone villas. Wildcliff featured prominent steep-roofed gables, with elaborately carved decorative bargeboards. In 2018 the home was destroyed in a three alarm fire, most of the interior of the house burned away with only the walls remaining.[3]

[1] Williams, Grey.Jackson, Kenneth T.. Picturing Our Past National Register Sites in Westchester County. New York. 2003.

[2] “National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form”, United States Department of the Interior-National Parks Service, Statement of Significance completed by Andrew S. Dolkert

[3] Villeda, Ray. “Historic Mansion in New Rochelle Goes Up in Flames.” NBC New York (New York, New York), November 28, 2018.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

National Register of Historic Places

Westchester County Historical Society