Ed Oberhaus had been driving his wife Dorothy to work at Mercy College for the past 35 years. He always enjoyed the view of the Hudson River from the Dobbs Ferry campus, and one day it occurred to him what he needed to do.
He needed to draw it.
He captured the views in sketches from Mercy College and Dobbs Ferry because they have a rich history and are beautiful to look at, he says. Oberhaus has lent his sketches to Mercy College and are on display in Maher Hall.
“I have always been enchanted by the view,” said Oberhaus. “I want to give people an idea of the history and the importance of this area.”
The history that Oberhaus is speaking of is actually the history of the Dobbs family, and the ferry that was used to cross the river from Willow Point to Sneden’s Landing.
According to Oberhaus, in 1698, John Dobbs operated a ferry from a Native American village called Wysquaqua (later named Dobbs Ferry) to the western shore of the Hudson River, an area owned by the Sneden family. Dobbs’s daughter married Robert Sneden in 1730 and moved across the river to start a family and operate the western ferry landing, which became known as Sneden’s Landing. In 1775, the crossing was made famous, as Martha Washington and her son crossed on their way to meet Gen. George Washington in Massachusetts.
“I wanted to show how beautiful the scenery is at Mercy, and I tried to relate it to what the scenery was like before anything was built here,” Oberhaus said of his sketches.
The collection is a series of 15 sketches in pencil on paper, of views from Mercy College and Dobbs Ferry of the Hudson River and the Palisades. The sketches contain several different perspectives, both up river to the Tappan Zee Bridge and down river to the George Washington Bridge. One interesting angle is a triptych sketch showing a full panoramic view from Willow Point to Sneden’s Landing. Oberhaus then gives the perspective of Mercy College and Dobbs Ferry from Sneden’s Landing. There are also other sketches of boats on the river and Scaperrotta’s Deli.
Oberhaus said of the collection, “I feel that as an artist I owe it to the viewer to come away with something. So it came natural to me that I share my experiences of the river.”
“There is so much tradition and history in this area, and unfortunately many in the community are not aware of it. It’s important that we appreciate those who made major contributions before us,” said media studies Prof. Michael Perrota. “The sketches have seemed to give Maher Hall some real zest.”
Oberhaus has all of the sketches available for purchase via Dean Gogal’s office and will be on display in the lobby of Maher Hall through the end of June. The price list is also available.