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Revolutionary Route 50 tavern eyed for museum

Town board members are looking at a former Revolutionary War tavern on Route 50 to purchase and turn into a mini-park and museum open to the public.

The former Bettys Tavern, located at 924 Saratoga Road, is a well-maintained stucco building on nearly 5 acres with a meandering creek out back. An aging garage was added to the property many decades ago. The town board recently moved ahead with its interest in the property by authorizing a structural study of the site.

We haven't received the report, but in all appearances, the house is in great shape, said town of Ballston Supervisor Ray Callanan. "It has retained its original character with the large bar room in the front and a working fireplace." William Bettys was the proprietor of the 250-year-old tavern, which was a public inn during the war.

"We don't know when it stopped being run as a tavern, but the owner died in the late 1700s, and since then it has been a private home by various owners," said town of Ballston Historian Rick Reynolds. "It holds tremendous historic significance."

A bit of conflict shrouds the history of the site.

William Bettys and his son, Joseph, were on opposite sides of the war, and Joseph eventually left to fight on the side of the patriots. He later left to become a spy for the British, and was hung for treason. Joseph's parents were buried peacefully on the Hillside Cemetery in Burnt Hills.

According to realtor Sue Thompson of Purdy Realty, there has been some interest shown in site, which carries a price tag of $329,000. However, the building has not yet been declared a historic site, and therefore is subject to sale to a private owner who could potentially significantly change the structure.

"I have had some people looking at the house for a subdivision, and that would mean they would bulldoze the house," said Thompson. "That would be a shame. We're hoping we can maintain some dignity to this treasure."

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