GLENVILLE -- The Yates Mansion, once the home of an early New York governor, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The town was notified of the listing on Monday, Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said. The Maple Avenue mansion had been placed on the State Register of Historic Places in September, and that usually leads, within a few months, to the federal listing.
The designation is good news, Koetzle said.
"Not only will this open us up to more grant opportunities, but also to more technical support from the state and federal governments, so it's really good news," he said. "I'm proud that the federal government has recognized the importance of this house."
The town purchased the property in 2017 and is working to repair it and turn it into a town history and community center. The town's goal is to have the building ready for public use in 2020.
The first structure on the site was built around 1734 by Joseph Yates, whose son Christopher and grandson Joseph were both 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.
Joseph Yates served as governor from 1822-23, in an era when governors served two-year terms and were selected by the state Legislature. Experts consulted by the town believe the current mansion dates from the very early 1800s.
The house's interior was cut into apartments in the mid-20th century, and any historic interior furnishings were removed at some point. Before the town purchased the property for $100,000, it had been vacant for several years and was under the threat of purchase and demolition.
The town cleaned up the exterior and grounds in 2018 and removed most of the modern apartment furnishings, using two state grants totaling $150,000. A 1990s addition on the rear of the building was removed in the fall, revealing an exterior cellar that will require archaeological examination.
In 2019, Koetzle said the town's plans will focus on repairing and replacing the building's aged mechanical systems, as well as the archaeological work on the site. The declaration of historical significance shouldn't change those plans, he said, even though the inside is being modernized.
"We do have be sensitive as we rehabilitate it, but we don't have to put back in historic features that aren't there anymore," Koetzle said.