151 Charlotte St., Canandaigua, New York
The summer home of Frederick and Mary Thompson of New York City
Deer Park & South Lawn
Your first view of the South Lawn is when you enter through the Charlotte Avenue gate. It is only a hint of the treasures you will soon experience.
Photo taken by J.R. Manning in October 2020
+42.89944, -77.2714642°53'58" N, 77°16'17" W
Frederick Thompson was a founder and a director of the First National Bank (today's Citibank.) The Thompsons bought a farm in Mrs. Thompson's hometown of Canandaigua that overlooked Canandaigua Lake. They replaced the farmhouse with the forty room, Queen Anne mansion.
After the unexpected death of Frederick, Mrs. Thompson began the development of the remarkable gardens between 1903 and 1920. Mrs. Thompson built the first privately owned Japanese Garden in North America. She also cancelled her reservation on the HMS Titanic so she and her friends could attend a flower show.
The Thompsons were childless, so when Mrs. Thompson died in 1923, the estate passed to her nephew, Emory Clark. In 1931, Clark sold Sonnenberg to the US Government and the Canandaigua VA Hospital was built on the adjacent farmland. The mansion was used to house doctors and nurses. In 1973, the mansion and gardens were acquired by the State of New York and the gates were opened to the public. In 2005, it became a state park.
National Register information
- Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 1973
- Reference number
- Areas of significance
- Landscape Architecture; Architecture
- Level of significance
- Evaluation criteria
- C - Design/Construction
- Property type
- Historic functions
- Single dwelling; Forest
- Current functions
- Hospital; Park; Forest
- Periods of significance
- 1900-1924; 1875-1899
- Significant years
- 1887; 1900
- Number of properties
- Contributing buildings: 1
Contributing sites: 9
- January 11, 2021: New photos from J.R. Manning
- January 11, 2021: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, added description, and added photos