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Hyllgarth "The Garden on the Hill"


Hyllgarth, now known as 48 Sutherland Street, once was 61 South Main Street and was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Satterlee. When it was built,, between 1902 & 1907, it was said to be the grandest house in Monroe County. Only Sonnenburg in Canandaigua , Ontario County, was its equal as the George Eastman House and the Strong Mansion were not yet constructed.

The Satterlees had acquired the property in 1895 and had erected a small cabin to be used as a weekend retreat. When Mr. Satterlee accumulated more wealth as the senior partner in the law firm of Satterlee, Yeoman, & Taylor, (a pre-runner of Nixon, Hargrave, et al,) the couple began enlarging the "cottage" to become a primary residence. The house grew into a 40 room mansion and the outbuildings included a carriage house, a peg barn for pigeons, a cow barn, an indoor pool and indoor bowling, an ice house, and tennis courts. The house has changed hands often and has been "un-enlarged" by successive owners. with several wings being removed.

The landscaping was extensive with two of every species planted. The property contained the reported oldest and largest copper beech tree in town. That tree is now on adjacent property that occurred during the partitioning of the original parcel. Many of those trees are still lining the drive that has become Stonegate Lane.

The two-room summer cottage was located amidst large potato fields. The walls were pushed out, new walls added, and wagon-loads of stone were trucked in for the exterior of the house and the walls surrounding the estate. The imposing and grand South Main Street gate and walls were constructed by village resident and stonemason, Eugene Minnamon with help from a young Howard Little. The long wall on Sutherland Street was built by Fred Miller and his son George, also Pittsford residents.

It has been said that Mr. Satterlee supervised every minute detail of the reconstruction. In that way, he was, perhaps, a little like George Eastman when building his mansion and gardens on East Avenue.

The home was as important to Pittsford as the "cottages" of the rich and famous in Newport, R.I. Who else had an upstairs and downstairs maid, a cook, a chauffeur, and gardeners? Who else but Ellwanger and Barry had such elaborate landscaping – turning an ordinary potato field into a veritable bower of trees, shrubs, and flowers?

Eugene Satterlee, as stated previously, was an attorney associated with the law firm of Satterlee, Yeoman, and Taylor that was established in 1875. Mr. Satterlee was a graduate of the University of Rochester and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity. He earned his law degree at Albany Law School and taught modern language at Albany Academy. He also had taught at Middlebury Academy. Perhaps this was all before he passed the bar examination. After two years of practice, he joined with Mr. Yeoman to form the partnership. I don't know exactly who was Mr. Taylor or when he became involved in the firm.

Mr. Satterlee was president of the Rochester German Insurance Co. from 1906 to 1910. He was vice president of the German American Bank which was a predecessor to the Lincoln Rochester Trust Co. From 1908 to 1910 he was the president of the Lincoln National Bank. Mr. Satterlee was one of the 1st businessmen to establish a home in Pittsford. He remained in the law profession until his death in 1910.

According to a former historian, Isabella Hicks Hart, both Mr. and Mrs. Satterlee were loving and indulgent parents to their children, Hugh and Mildred. Isabella told of wonderful birthday parties she attended and always there was a May pole & dance on the lawn on May Day. She remembered it fondly and it involved many of the youngest children in the community who would come dressed in their very best clothes, dance around the May pole and then gorge on wonderful, tempting treats.

Dorothy Satterlee Wetmore inherited the property. She may have lived in it for a while but it was sold to Irving Steele in 1929 who owned it until he had financial reversals and the bank foreclosed upon the estate, divided the property and the house and outbuildings. They were acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Armon Baltzer in 1945. The Baltzers did extensive remodeling. The servant's quarters and the master wing were removed. The carriage house was moved and remodeled into a home, which is currently 13 Stonegate Lane and the ice-house became the garage. The bowling alley, the pool and the tennis courts were abandoned. The property changed hands again in 1950 when the Gaylord Whittaker family became the owners. In 1963 the Robert Lawless family assumed ownership and I must confess that I do not know the current owners!

Mr. Satterlee employed many people while building his mansion. Some of those families lived in homes on West Jefferson Road near the intersection of Sutherland Street. It has been said that the three houses nearest the east corner of Heatherhurst were all built about 1904-05 when Mrs. Satterlee bought the Cady farm and erected these homes as tenant homes for her chauffeur, and gardeners.

About 1940, homes were built along what was then the driveway of the estate. The first home was built in 1937 at #10 as the home of Mr. and Mrs. Warren Allen. They converted a carriage house at the beginning of Stonegate Lane as their unique and charming home. Eventually many other homes were built and occupied along the drive which has become Stonegate Lane. Now the history is connected to the name Hyllgarth that is engraved on the stone entrance gates off South Main Street.

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