The Westchester property was a retirement home


At first glance, the Danish house looks a bit out of place in the wooded hills just outside the village of Croton-on-Hudson. With its picturesque arches, cobbled courtyard, and clay-tiled roof, it would seem more at home in Europe. Or in Scandinavia.

And that was the directive of its original manufacturer. The structure was designed as the stables for the estate of businessman JM Kaplan in the 1930s, explained Erik Andersen, executive director and administrator of the Danish Home.

The Danish home opened on the property in 1954, functioning as a retirement home and assisted living facility for around 24 residents. It closed in 2020 and the property is now on the market for $ 2,950,000. He is listed with Paul Adler of Rand Commercial.

The Danish Home, located at 1065 Quaker Bridge Road East, Croton-on-Hudson, is in the market.

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The property, in the Teatown area at 1065 Quaker Bridge Road East, has attracted great interest from potential buyers, Adler said.

“Danish Home offers old world charm and an enchanting location for a variety of possible uses, such as a retreat and conference center, an educational facility or a non-profit headquarters and more,” said Adler , director of strategy for Rand Commercial.

According to Adler, the property, located in the town of Cortlandt, (but with a Croton-on-Hudson address) is zoned R-80, with uses permitted under current zoning listed as single-family residences, place of worship or school for the general learning. The property has been operating for over 70 years under a pre-existing non-conforming use as a Danish home and is currently tax exempt as it is owned by a 501c3 organization.

According to Adler, the property will remain tax-exempt if a qualified 501c3 tax-exempt organization purchases the property. If a for-profit entity purchases the property, it will be put on the tax roll again.

Aerial view of the Danish house.  The property was originally built as a stable complex in the 1930s.

Stables for a domain

JM Kaplan, who held the controlling stake in Welch Grape Juice, was a philanthropist who donated to the New School in Manhattan, helped save Carnegie Hall from wrecking ball and supported causes large and small, from providing start-up capital to struggling arts groups to help fund the South Street Seaport, according to his obituary

For his personal residence, he hired architect Alfred Gray to design a tribute to the castles of Normandy, France, according to a story from the Danish House. However, when completed in 1934, the buildings mostly resembled a traditional Danish farmhouse.

The Danish Home, located at 1065 Quaker Bridge Road East, Croton-on-Hudson, is in the market.

Kaplan’s stable complex – which was later transformed into his residence and ultimately the Danish Home – consisted of four adjoining buildings surrounding a central cobbled courtyard. At its center is a fountain that Mrs. Kaplan had imported from France. The entrance to the courtyard is through an arch located in the center of the eastern wall.

A long driveway curves from Quaker Bridge Road East to reach the site, located at a high point on the property. There are views of the Hudson River and in winter, Croton Reservoir. When it is calm, and especially when the weir is active, it is possible to hear the sound of water splashing over the reservoir.

During the early part of Kaplan’s tenure, the buildings housed animals and farm equipment, Anderson said. The space was then converted into his home.

The Danish house was originally built as a stable for the estate of businessman JM Kaplan.  For 70 years, it has been a retirement home.  The property is now for sale.

“The family then decided to convert what was essentially a stable and barn into living space,” said Andersen. “Ms. Kaplan was an artist and had the dung turned into an art studio.”

Outside, Ms. Kaplan planned and built a large garden – Anderson has the original plans – but today most of it is gone into history. There are walking trails, mature trees and flowering shrubs. The property adjoins the Old Croton Aqueduct.

The Kaplan’s residence was short lived and they quickly sold the estate, which again changed hands in 1948. The 50-acre property became the Ramble Hill Resort Club, which offered guests horseback riding, a tennis court and swimming pool.

Anderson said the Danish Home for the Aged, which was located in Brooklyn at the turn of the 20th century, purchased the property in 1954.

Built in the 1930s, The Danish Home features many original details, including this vaulted cathedral ceiling.

It housed two dozen residents in comfortable rooms on the first and second floors. Kaplan’s original design details were still intact on a recent visit. Dark woodwork and stone floors welcome visitors into the foyer; the great room has a cathedral ceiling with solid wood beams, wood-burning fireplace and casement windows.

The dining room, now fitted out with tables for two or four residents, is elegantly finished with a beamed ceiling, wooden floors and oak panels.

On the second floor, Kaplan has set up a “playroom” for fun on rainy days. The original shuffleboard courts, as well as the vintage paddles and tails, are still there. In the commercial kitchen – with its own beamed cathedral ceiling – the massive walk-in refrigerator sports an original wooden door.

Anderson worked on Wall Street for most of his career and was ready to retire when the Danish Home looked for a new executive director. He was a member of the board of directors for many years, but has assumed the role of managing director for the past 13 years.

He said the Danish house was a wonderful place. “We had residents who didn’t want to go home for the holidays because they liked it so much here,” he said. One of the oldest residents recently died at the age of 103. He had lived in the Danish Home for 13 years.

Anderson said the pandemic had taken its toll on the elderly care industry in general, and with the Danish Home being a single home, caring for less than two dozen people, it was no longer viable to stay open.

Karen Croke is the features editor for lohud.com and poughkeepsiejournal.com. Find my stories here. Contact me at [email protected]


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