Woman to deed home to historical society

Marjorie Schmid is very candid about the first line of her will. “I give to my children what they ga

Marjorie Schmid is very candid about the first line of her will.

“I give to my children what they gave to me in my time of need,” recites the outspoken 84-year-old Rotterdam resident. “Nothing.”

Instead, Schmid will deed her historic 19th century home off Schermerhorn Road to the Schenectady County Historical Society, ensuring her 2.34 acres near the Great Flats Nature Trail is preserved. Though details of the deal haven’t been completed, the historical society’s 24-member board agreed last week to take Schmid up on her offer.

“The board voted to accept it,” confirmed Edwin Reilly Jr., the society’s president. “We are going to acquire it.”

Schmid’s home was originally constructed by the Schermerhorn family in 1885 for John Schermerhorn, who died of pneumonia shortly after it was built. The home was then occupied by Simon Schermerhorn and his wife, Julia, the daughter of Col. John Campbell, who lived there until 1946.

The home bounced between owners for several years before Schmid visited the property with a group of anxious Realtors on a chilly New Year’s Eve in 1955. She paid $11,900 for the property, using money she had borrowed from her father.

“They wanted to unload it,” she recalled Monday.

Schmid decided to offer the property to the historical society last year, after learning she could no longer afford the taxes on it.

The five-room Victorian and nearby carriage house were assessed at $274,500 following last year’s town revaluation; the land alone is valued at $58,600, according to the town assessment database.

In giving the historical society title to the property, Schmid also hopes to preserve the land from future development.

She was an outspoken critic of Putnam Woods, a 52-unit condominium development built off Putnam Road, a short distance away from her land.

“I just want to make sure it doesn’t become another condominium complex,” she said.

Schmid said she’s made few significant alterations to the home since moving in. Aside from improvements to the kitchen, she said many of the features and fixtures remain as they did when it was built.

“It needs major repairs,” she said.

Both Schmid and Reilly declined to discuss their arrangement until the property is officially transferred.

Reilly was uncertain when the historical society will assume the deed to the land, but said there are additional negotiations outside of discussions with Schmid.

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