GLENVILLE -- The Yates Mansion on Maple Avenue in Glenville has been added to the New York State Register of Historic Places, according to Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle.
"We submitted an application for it to be placed on the state register, and I have received email confirmation that it was approved," Koetzle said Wednesday. "We are very excited about this. I'm expecting to get written confirmation soon, and then within 60 days we expect some action on it being named to the National Register of Historic Places. Typically, that's the way it happens, and the significance and history of this house is certainly compelling enough to have it added to the national register."
The house was built in 1734 by Joseph Yates, whose son Christopher and grandson Joseph were two prominent Schenectadians of their time. Christopher fought in the French and Indian War and was a quartermaster general during the American Revolution, while his son, Joseph, became the first mayor of Schenectady in 1798 and is also the only Schenectadian to become governor of New York (1822-23).
"Being placed on the National Register will really open up some technical assistance for us, as well as more fundraising opportunities," said Koetzle. "Even more importantly, it protects the home forever. It will keep this historic building safe for all time."
While the house most recently was filled with eight apartments, it had been vacant for a couple of years and was purchased by the town of Glenville last year with the help of two state grants equaling $150,000. The building will be known as the Glenville History and Community Center.
"We're doing a lot of work right now, taking out the kitchens and the bathrooms that had been in the eight different apartments," Koetzle said. "We're taking out some rugs that were full of mold and bringing the house down to its bare structure. There's a lot to be done, but we're hoping that by 2020, when we celebrate our bicentennial, that we'll be able to open the building. We're going to use it to store our historic records and to interpret our local history, and it will also be used for community meetings."
Koetzle said there was a late 20th century addition to the building that will be removed.
"We talked to the State Historic Preservation Office and they concurred that the addition has no historic value and that it should go," said Koetzle. "It's the back end of the house that was added I think in the 1990s. It doesn't fit to what we are going to do with the building."
The house, the summer home of Christopher Yates and his son Joseph, both of whom lived in Schenectady, will not be a museum to the Yates family, according to Koetzle.
"We're going to use the building to tell the history of our town, not necessarily the Yates family history," he said. "So it will have a history component to it, but it's also going to be used for rotary meetings and other community events."
Glenville currently has a history center on Glenridge Road adjacent to the town offices. Joan Szablewski is the town historian, and used to visit the Yates Mansion when she was a young girl.
"When I was 16 one of my best friends was Pat Donadio and it was her family who lived there," said Szablewski. "She had everything, and I can remember every room in the house. That was back in the 1940s, and before that it was a restaurant called the Governor's Inn. The last time I was in there was quite a while ago when it was an insurance company. It wasn't the same, so I know they still have a lot of work to do."
To help pay for the cost of restoring the building the town is planning to hold a fundraiser at the Riverstone Manor in Glenville on Oct. 18. Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased at www.glenville2020.com.