Friends of Sanford Stud Farm will gather today at the distinctly out-of-place old barn wedged among the big-box stores on Route 30 to receive a state grant they say will be a step toward restoring the old structure.
The $1,950 award will be presented by The Preservation League of New York State at 12:30.
“As always, the competition for these funds was intense,” said the league regional grant director Erin Tobin. “[We’re] delighted to help advance the preservation efforts of the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm with timely funding through Preserve New York.”
It’s not a large amount of money considering the thousands necessary to fully restore the 130-year-old barn, but according to Friends President Sam Hildebrant, the grant is integral to their mission. The money will be used to handle the paperwork necessary to nominate the farm for the Sate and National Registers of Historic Places.
“Getting on the registry will enhance the credibility of the group and what we are doing,” he said, adding that it also will increase the group’s chances of landing larger grants.
Back in 2006 the barn and 1.25 acres were donated to the town of Amsterdam. The volunteer group formed shortly after to restore what was left of Stephen Sanford’s 1,100 acre thoroughbred empire that sent so many champions to Saratoga.
From the start, Hildebrant tried to get the structure on the registry, but in upstate New York at least, it’s a fairly exclusive list.
“The process of getting on the registry is more than just saying, ‘Look at this great old building we have,’ ” he said.
The area boasts scores of old buildings with rich history. Not all of them can be on the list, but according to Hildebrant, the old farm should make the cut. He pointed out Amsterdam City Hall, which is on the registry, was originally built as a residence by Sanford, and the carpet magnate arguably spent as much time and energy at the stud farm as at his house.
To help fit that explanation onto a government form, the group hired a grant writer. In a few weeks, they will start gathering information into a narrative reasoning why the farm should be considered an official historic place.
The grant will pay for roughly half of the nomination process, with the rest put up by the Friends. By June of next year they’ll know if they’ve been accepted. Hildebrant is “cautiously optimistic” about their odds.
If they do make it, both the old barn owned by the town and roughly 200 acres of private land behind it will be designated historic. The designation won’t preclude those private land owners from selling, developing or demolishing Sanford’s old outbuildings.