John Cowper Powys in Upstate New York


The above photo shows his house at Phudd Bottom, near Harlemville, where he lived with Phyllis Playter from 1930 until they left for England in 1934.

The Google map below will make it relatively easy to actually find the house which is easily recognisable from the photo and which is now at the address:
753 Harlemville Road,
Hillsdale, NY 12529


View Larger Map

The map displays initially a satellite image at a moderate zoom level with labelled routes. Clicking the "Ter" button produces a relief map showing that there was, in accordance with John Cowper's constant desire, a hill behind the house which he would climb almost every day.

Clicking the "Map" button and then the minus sign a couple of times to zoom out will immediately show the route to follow to find the house :
      — leave the Taconic State Parkway at the route 217 Philmont exit but instead of taking Route 217 west to Philmont, take immediately County Road 21C east. Stay on Co Rd 21C to traverse Harlemville, then take the first right south on Harlemville Road, the house is on the right after 350m.

My thanks to Pat Quigley for his assistance in relating reality to the maps!

Life and work at Phudd Bottom...

The four years he spent there with Phyllis were probably the most felicitous time in his life, when he wrote two important books, as well as his Autobiography.

If you are interested in seeing the Phudd Hill area as it is now, you will be happy to investigate the site of the Hawthorn Valley Farmscape Ecology Program. I have been in contact with Conrad Vispo of the HVFEP, who runs a blog which examines with much care and love the natural surroundings, the wild life, the plants and flowers and mosses which JCP describes in his Diary. In one post he illustrates the Diaries for several selected days in 1930 and 1931.

There are many other subjects that need examining, but for the time being I have concentrated on the importance for John Cowper of living in an area where he felt a certain influence emanating from the Indian culture, and more particularly exerted by the first inhabitants of the region, the Mohawks.

So, you will find here a modest study of the strange similiarities which seem to have existed between the Amerindians' rites and culture, and what Powys felt and made of them, which determined his way of life from then on.