Crowd helps Pruyn House mark 25th year

Scattered thunderstorms didn’t stop about 100 people from touring the grounds of the Pruyn House


Scattered thunderstorms didn’t stop about 100 people from touring the grounds of the Pruyn House on Sunday afternoon and enjoying a jazz music concert as part of the site’s 25th anniversary.

Skip Parsons and the Riverboat Jazz Band performed a live concert in the Buhrmaster Barn on the property. The historic house was open to the public prior to the concert.

Pruyn House Director Diane Morgan said the popular Wednesday night concerts in the barn usually draw at least 500 people. She said the storms throughout the morning and afternoon may have accounted for Sunday’s relatively low turnout.

“We decided we’d try something different for our 25th anniversary,” she said. “We’ll stick with Wednesday night [for future concerts].”

Pruyn House was built in 1830 as a summer home for Casparus and Ann Pruyn and their eight children.

Ownership of the property changed hands several times in the 1800s and the property was eventually purchased by John and Carrie Henkes in 1893.

The town of Colonie purchased the 5.5-acre property for $110,000 in 1983. Workers spent two years restoring the interior and exterior of the main house and have since moved several other historical buildings to the property, including a schoolhouse and the barn.

Pruyn House was restored using a combination of Federal and Greek architecture, according to the town’s Web site.

“It’s become such a center for so many people to come and enjoy things,” Morgan said. “Our concerts in the barn are a really big hit.”

She said that one of the biggest concerts every year is when the band Hair of the Dog performs for Irish night. The band will play this year from 7 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 6. Admission to concerts at Pruyn House are $5 for adults and $2 for children.

“When we first started doing this, there were very few people doing concerts outside,” Morgan said. “It’s definitely become a new thing.”

Pruyn House’s $220,000 annual budget is paid for through a combination of donations, town funds and usage fees. The historic site is operated jointly by the town and The Friends of Pruyn House, a not-for-profit group, according to Town Supervisor Paula Mahan.

“It’s a great asset to our town,” Mahan said. “It kind of brings you back in time.”

The grounds are host to dozens of weddings, fundraisers and other events every year, Morgan said.

Two visitors to the jazz concert on Sunday, Greg and Debbie Rickes of Latham, said they attend three or four concerts at Pruyn House every year.

“It’s a very casual atmosphere,” Debbie Rickes said. “A lot of times we bring a picnic.”

“If you go to a big venue, you’re just part of the crowd,” Greg Rickes added.

Categories: Schenectady County

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