Saratoga County

Barkersville property nominated as historic place

A 100-acre property that includes an old country store that served residents of the hamlet of Barker

A 100-acre property that includes an old country store that served residents of the hamlet of Barkersville for three generations has been nominated for inclusion on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

The Packer farm and Barkersville Store at 7189 Barkersville Road in the town of Providence is one of 17 nominations forwarded by the state Board for Historic Preservation, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced Friday.

The next step is for the state historic preservation officer to approve the recommendations for listing on the New York State Register of Historic Places. Then the sites are nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.

Being listed on the registers can help owners get public preservation monies such as matching state grants and federal historical rehabilitation tax credits, according to the state parks office.

Robert and Joan Gerring of Castleton-on-Hudson currently own the Packer farm, which besides the country store includes a house built in 1825 and moved to its current location in 1857 and two frame barns, one built around 1825 and the other around 1860. The dam that forms Packers Pond is also listed on the application as a contributing structure to the historic property.

Joan Gerring is the niece of Blaine G.L. Packer and Mary Packer.

Three generations

Blaine was the third generation of his family to run the country store, which was built around 1893. It closed in 1978, two years after his death.

His widow, the longtime Providence town historian, continued to live in the house after his death and owned the property until she died in 2011 at age 99.

She chronicled the Packer family’s history, starting with Nathan Packer, who worked for David and Samuel Barker, the enterprising brothers who arrived in the area in 1796 and built a grist mill and saw mill, a tanner’s shop and a shoe shop.

Nathan Packer was a millwright and bought land from the Barkers so he could be closer to his work, and moved his wood frame house to the new land, according to the historic application.

Nathan’s son, Jeremy, opened the store across the street, and in turn passed it down to his son Blaine.

After the Barkersville infirmary opened as a county-owned hospital for tuberculosis patients, the Packer store got customers who walked from the hospital when they were feeling better, Mary Packer told The Gazette in 1999.

She moved to the U.S. from Ukraine at age 2 as Mary Pasichnyk and lived most of her life in Barkersville.

The property and the hamlet were her home, and she hoped the area would stay as it was, free of strip malls and big development.

In 1999, she said she watched with some trepidation as people moved away from the cities and bought property in Providence.

“I want it to stay rural,” Packer said. “Not that we don’t want people here … but we want to keep it country.”

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