Sanford farm eyed for National Register
Landmark played role in state’s horse racing history
AMSTERDAM The historic Sanford Stud Farm is being recommended for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, a step caretakers hope will spark new energy into efforts to restore what remains of the site, which played an important role in the state’s horse racing history.
The farm founded in 1880 by Amsterdam carpet entrepreneur Stephen Sanford made the list of 27 properties and sites being suggested for national recognition, according to the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The farm joins a diverse group of properties now listed as historically significant by the state, including a Livingston County church that started the first American Red Cross Chapter following a speech from Clara Barton in 1881.
“The multifaceted story of New York can be traced in its many distinctive buildings and unique landmarks,” Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said in a news release. “It is an honor to help preserve these unique landmarks by listing them on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.”
Historic recognition for the thoroughbred breeding facility has been a longstanding goal of Friends of The Sanford Stud Farm, founded by Sam Hildebrandt, whose father, Louis Hildebrandt, was a competitive jockey based at the Amsterdam farm.
A staunch advocate for preserving what is left of the farm property — most of it has been replaced by commercial development over the past 50 years — he said he wished his father could be around to see part of that dream come true. He died in 2011 at age 93.
“It would’ve been nice if dad could’ve hung on,” Hildebrandt said.
Properties recommended by the state for the National Register typically get approved, and that national listing will go a long way toward restoring the aged barn, he said.
Research to detail the Amsterdam site’s history and craft a nomination form was made possible with the help of a $1,950 grant the Preservation League of New York State provided Friends of the Sanford Stud Farm last year.
Hildebrandt said he estimates at least $150,000 in restoration work is required, and fundraising will continue to that end.
“This is not a destination moment. This is a new beginning,” he said. “What we’re hoping is this opens up some new possibilities for revenue streams. We have a lot to do and we’re hoping we’ll be able to tap into some state and federal grant money now.”