This week, signs of life were visible at the Yates Mansion on Maple Avenue in Glenville for the first time in over a year when a large dumpster appeared in the front of the property.
By early afternoon on Monday, the dumpster was full of debris, old furniture and leftover belongings from the inside.
Last April, the mansion was acquired by the government-sponsored enterprise Federal National Mortgage Association, also known as Fannie Mae, for $180,000.
“The property came into our Real Estate Owned inventory and we have been working for nearly a year with the service to clear the title so the property could be listed for sale,” Callie Dosberg, senior manager for media and external relations with Fannie Mae, said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “As we do with all of our REO properties, we work to prepare the properties for resale, which includes cleaning the properties and removing any remaining items.”
The historic home, located at 133 Maple Ave., was built by Joseph Yates around 1734. Yates’ grandson, also named Joseph Yates, became Schenectady’s first mayor in 1798 and New York’s governor in 1822. He is the only governor from Schenectady County to date, and spent many summers in the family homestead. The mansion is often referred to as the “Gov. Yates Summer House.”
Through the years, the 6,912-square-foot structure was passed down through the Yates family, but it’s not clear when the house left the family.
In the 1930s and some of the ’40s, it was operated as a restaurant called the Governor’s Inn.
On Thursday, Ed LeGere said his former father-in-law, Joe Donadio, purchased the home during World War II. LeGere said Donadio owned the roughly 35-acre property for more than a decade before dividing the land and selling most of it to developer Harold Rocklin, who used the land to build Glenville’s Woodhaven neighborhood.
LeGere was married to Donadio’s daughter Patricia in the 1950s and ’60s, and the couple lived in the Yates mansion for a few years.
After separating, LeGere said Patricia moved back to the mansion with their three sons, Christopher, Steven and Keith. Patricia acquired the mansion after her parents died and, shortly afterward, the nine-bedroom historic home was converted to contain a number of apartments, though it’s not clear when.
A Gazette article from October 1999 said that some of the apartment spaces were used as office space for companies like Mechanical Dynamics & Analysis Engineers.
Patricia Donadio Legere owned the 2-acre parcel and tenants occupied it until her death in 2011, when her son, Christopher LeGere, inherited the property and the mortgage.
“The children continued to live there off and on,” Ed LeGere recalled, and said his son Keith lived in the home until just a year or two ago.
“Chris didn’t have any interest in it,” LeGere said of the house. Christopher has since moved to California.
Patricia struggled to meet mortgage payments before the property fell into Christopher’s lap, but the debt continued to go unpaid.
After a few years of the mortgage not being paid, the house entered foreclosure before the sale to Fannie Mae last year.
Since Fannie Mae acquired the property, it hasn’t paid the school, property or other town taxes. With penalties, a total of $14,787 is due.
Part of the bill is a $775 charge for property maintenance, as the town Department of Public Works did yard work in the fall to clean the unkempt lawn.
Glenville Receiver of Taxes Patrick Aragosa said if the taxes aren’t paid by May, the bill will be turned over to the county, but it takes three years before any action is taken or the property would be put up for tax sale.
“Federal organizations [like Fannie Mae] often don’t pay taxes and fees,” Aragosa said Wednesday. “It’s not terribly unusual.”
To sell, though, Aragosa said the house would have to get a clean title.
“It will likely be a negotiable item with the buyer,” he said.
Dosberg didn’t return further inquiries for comment, or say when Fannie Mae plans to put the historic home on the market.
Now, it sits vacant waiting for new history to be written.
“It’s completely livable,” Ed LeGere said. “Not much of the [house’s] original wood is still there. . . . It’s in fair condition, but it will need some work.”
“It’s habitable, but I don’t ever see it being a single-family home again,” Glenville Building Inspector Paul Borisenko said of the home’s several divided interior units.
The mansion is adjacent to property that was once part of the Yates farm and plantation in the 18th century, which holds the Yates family cemetery plot and a historic farmhouse. It is unclear when the parcel was subdivided from the mansion.
The property is owned by developer Amedore Homes, which broke ground earlier this month on a 44-unit condominium project that was first approved in April 2007.
Amedore Homes purchased the 7.2-acre parcel in 2009 from a previous developer.
In 2015, the historic home was assessed at $388,421, according to the county property record.
Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the town is currently reaching out to potential developers about securing the building and restoring the mansion.
“We’re very interested in restoring the house to its former glory,” Koetzle said Wednesday. “We want to preserve and restore the house, as it’s one of the most historic buildings in the town and probably the county.”
Reach Gazette reporter Kate Seckinger at 395-3113, firstname.lastname@example.org or @KateSeckinger on Twitter.