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CLIFTON PARK: Historic houses honored

In December, Clifton Park added three houses to the Town Register of Historic Places. The Abner Irish Houses on Vischer Ferry Road, built in 1795, exemplifies the Federal style that was popular at the time of the American Revolution. The Platt Rogers House on Bruno Road, and the Peters-Lockrow House on Moe Road were built early in the 19th century in the Greek Revival style.

Clifton Park's situation at the junction of the Mohawk River and the Erie Canal made it a hub for people of a variety of backgrounds, including shipbuilders, blacksmiths, and various religious groups. This, together with the changing styles throughout several centuries, gives the area an interesting combination of architectural styles.

Mark Kazmierczak, chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission, presented each of the homeowners with a plaque. The Town Register of Historic Places now recognizes 33 locations of particular historical significance. They are eligible for an optional conservation easement from the town, which would grant tax breaks in exchange for an assurance of preservation.

The more you read and the more you listen, you start to ask yourself if these stories are going to disappear, said Kazmierczak.

The Town Historic Preservation Commission was established in 1993 to help preserve the stories, which create the history of Clifton Park. In addition to the Town Register of Historic Places, the commission provides advice for restoration projects, and works with John Scherer, the town historian, to investigate and record the stories of local families. In 2007, the commission also hopes to start an educational program in Shenendehowa Central School District with an education space in the former Grooms Tavern on Sugarhill Road.

The concept of the Town Historic Preservation Commission ties into issues of community planning, particularly with the open spaces movement, which promotes an aesthetic awareness of the land. It is relatively unique, however, in the way that the town board attempts to work with developers to integrate both old and new.

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