History is everywhere in this part of New York.
Enduring relics from the Revolutionary War such as Fort Klock in St. Johnsville and Nellis Tavern, built in 1747, are part of the landscape. But it’s not every day that history comes up for sale.
Historic General Cochran Farm, located on Route 5 in rural St. Johnsville, is on the market. The 177-acre slice of the past is priced at just under $1 million.
General John Cochran was George Washington’s personal physician and the surgeon general during the Revolutionary War. In peacetime, Washington appointed him commissioner of loans for New York state, but when Cochran was paralyzed by a stroke he retired to the Mohawk Valley land awarded him for his service in the Revolutionary War, according to Montgomery County Historian Kelly Yacobucci Farquhar.
The house itself is something RealtyUSA agent Marian DeSantis calls “an enchanting property” and “the listing of a lifetime.”
The brick structure is sheathed in wood and many of the mahogany furnishings are rumored to have been gifts from Washington.
The current owner of the house, Eleanor Distefano, who did not wish to comment on the sale, has owned the property since 1986.
The decision to sell was based on the amount of work it takes to maintain the property, according to real estate agent Philip King, trying to market the property.
Besides the house, the property is set up to accommodate horses, which is one of the main selling points DeSantis highlights. “Besides the history of the place, there are all kinds of incentives for New York thoroughbreds these days. It’s a very exciting time in New York horse racing.”
Saratoga Race Course is just an hour’s drive from the Cochran farm.
Despite the beauty of the house, the history and the horse-ready acreage, the property has lingered on the market for nearly three years.
“We’ve advertised outside the area, even out of the country, and we showed it a lot,” said King, who handled the property for more than two years until DeSantis took over. “People are just wary of the area. There aren’t dinner theaters or fancy restaurants. There are outside amenities people expect when they spend a $1 million that we can’t offer them. It’s not the fault of the property.”
Even the monetary value of history was affected by the housing market. The asking price was originally $1.2 million according to King. Since it has been dropped below $1 million, there has been progress.
“We’ve advertised all over the country,” DeSantis said. “A lot of people have seen it and there’s now an interested party.”