Shaker Society honors religion's founder

"It's all a single parcel of land," says Perrin of the area being leased, "The relationship between the county and the Society is through the use of the buildings."

According to Perrin, the land involved contains a barn, the 1848 restored meeting hall, and a few other original Shaker buildings.

The Shakers, originally founded in England in 1772, came to America a few years before the Declaration of Independence.

"The Shakers found themselves in Northwest England, but were not able to practice their faith," said Jones.

After arriving in America, the Shakers, under Ann Lee, created a thriving society that forwarded many innovations that people use today, including the packaged garden seed industry. Men and women shared power equally in the Shaker community, and all ethnicities were welcomed. Like many of the utopian movements of the late 18th and early 19th century, Shaker society was very structured, but ultimately prosperous. Though strict practitioners of celibacy, the society grew throughout the early 1800s through adoptions and conversion.

"It was a remarkable group of people and way of life," said Jones.

The plan was created with the help of Albany County, the Albany International Airport, and the town of Colonie.

Special guests at the birthday celebration will include Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan. The event is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. For more information, contact the Shaker Heritage Society at 456-7890 or visit www.shakerheritage.org.""

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