62 Days of Summer
Included in the history of Schenectady County and the Mohawk Valley are a number of tragic Indian attacks, but at the Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction, it’s always been quiet on the western front.
In the first few decades of its more than 300-year history, the small farmhouse on Route 5S just west of Schenectady was a frontier outpost, the last piece of civilization before early 18th century trappers, hunters and explorers headed west into the vast unknown. But despite its remote location and proximity to Native Americans, the Mabee Farm, according to local historians, never came under Indian attack.
Schenectady County does have its tragic engagements (most notably the Schenectady Massacre in February 1690 and the Beukendaal Massacre in July 1748), but at the house built sometime around 1705 by Jan Pieterse Mabee, peace has reigned supreme.
These days, the Mabee Farm is a historic site owned
and operated by the Schenectady County Historical Society.
There is plenty to see there aside from the historic home, including a large Dutch barn and the George Franchere Education Center, which has exhibits relating to local history.
On exhibit now at the Franchere Center is “Canals and Railroads: Collaboration and Competition,” a traveling exhibit exploring the early days of the Erie Canal and the state’s railroad system.
There is also plenty of living history on the farm, with experts like John Ackner (blacksmithing), Dave Cornelius (Native American history) and Pam Bucci (spinning wool) among the staff and volunteers enhancing everyone’s visit.
Jenna Peterson, an educator and assistant curator at the complex, said the farm had more school groups this 2013-14 season than ever before.
The farm is typically closed Mondays, but that wasn’t always the case this spring.
“We brought in 2,492 school kids this season, and we actually ran out of days to have them here,” said Peterson. “We had to open on several Mondays to accommodate them because it’s so hard to say no to school groups.”
The Mabee Farm also hosted several weddings and receptions this summer, and more are scheduled over the last two weeks of August and though the month of September.
The farm’s 11th annual Arts and Crafts Festival will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Among the many items on display will be handmade pottery, wood crafts, handwovens, candles, jewelry and furniture.
Admission is $5 for adults and free for children.
For more information, call the Mabee Farm at 887-5073.
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