As historic preservationists feared would happen, the old stone house at the corner of Brookline Road and Route 67 has been demolished in anticipation of the land’s commercial development.
The Hubbell house, built in 1831 by woolens industrialist Edmund Hubbell, was one of the last stone houses left in Saratoga County, said Ballston Town Historian Rick Reynolds.
It was demolished late last week by CW Ventures of Mechanicville, the owner of the 6.5-acre property. A pile of stone behind a plastic barrier fence with a “No Trespassing” sign is all that is left.
Reynolds said he hopes the loss of the Hubbell house will be a “wake-up call” for Ballston and other growing towns to develop systems for determining what’s worth preserving and what isn’t, before they face demolition by land developers.
“If we allow everything to be torn down, we will lose all our past,” he said. “This is an example of a visual piece of the past that is now lost.”
He also acknowledged the condition of the house. “You always like to save anything that comes from the past,” Reynolds said. “But the practical historian in me says you can’t save everything. It was in such bad shape, it was abandoned for so long, that it would cost an enormous amount of money to save.”
CW Ventures is owned by Victor Santoro of Ballston Lake, who did not return a call seeking comment on Wednesday. Some town residents have been concerned for years that he would eventually demolish the house, which they thought had historic importance.
Santoro has proposed commercial development for the lot, which has access to both busy state Route 67 and to Brookline Road, which was once quiet but has become a heavily trafficked county road as residential development has occurred in the northern part of Ballston.
In 2004, Santoro proposed a car wash for the site, but those plans were rejected by town officials; a later proposal for 56 apartment units also failed to win town approval. The land is currently being marketed by CB/Richard Ellis, the commercial real estate firm.
Town Supervisor Patti Southworth said she understands that previous owners stripped out much of the historic interior, and a load-bearing wall inside the house was removed, so saving the house would have been expensive.
The Hubbell house was located just across Brookline Road from a picturesque small ravine of the Ballston Creek, in an area that was one of Ballston’s early settlements.
The Hubbell house was built in 1831, probably from local stone.
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