4/10/14 meeting: The story of Schuyler Mansion

Picture 3Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush

Attending (12): April Dowd, Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Charlie Foote, Roberto Martinez, Stewart Wagner. (2 reservation no-shows.)

Guests (2): Heidi Hill (speaker), Nancy Siegel (visiting Rotarian).

Program: The Story of Schuyler Mansion

Heidi Hill describes the history of Schuyler Mansion.
Heidi Hill describes the history of Schuyler Mansion.

Bill Dowd introduced Heidi Hill, site director of the Schuyler Mansion historic site in Albany. He noted she had presented a program on Fort Crailo, the other site she oversees, last fall.

Heidi said the mansion was built between 1760 and 1765 for Major General Philip Schuyler and his family and has operated as a museum since 1917.

She explained that restoration of the mansion has been an ongoing project. Presently, there are some funds on hand, but not enough to undertake any major project.

She used a Powerpoint show to talk about changes, repairs and needs such as the outside brownstone stairs leading to the front door. They were a 19th Century  addition to the original structure. Other images included a model based on a 1790s interpretation, showing the property from above and including the house, an enclosed courtyard with several small buildings and a large formal garden to the south of the house.

Schuyler’s property holdings in the 1700s included more than 10,000 acres in Saratoga with a large house, fields and a sawmill.

Heidi spoke about the family, including Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler, her friends and cousins and their activities, such as group activities by age ranges that assured the children of the elite class would grow up with each other and perhaps meet a “suitable” mate.

She also presented photos of restored and redecorated rooms at the mansion. She hopes to begin renovation by 2017 on what is called the Best Parlor with new carpeting and wallpaper. She also has plans to restore the Yellow Chamber at a later date as well as the upstairs large chamber now used for concerts and occasional dances. Many rooms need carpeting and wallpaper. They hope to digitally reproduce period wallpaper originally in the house and now on display in other museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Heidi explained that a cadre of reenactors appears at the mansion at various times, such as 12th Night. The mansion will reopen for the season May 14, with tours on the hour Wednesday through Sunday.


ROTARY RUN — President April asked Peter Brown to follow up with honorary chairman Bob Summerville on particulars of his involvement. Murray Forth reported that permission from Green Meadow School has been received for building use for the Run and reservations have begun to arrive.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, April 17. Guest speaker will be Burt Van Wie, a member of the National Darts Hall of Fame.


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