If formed, would be the first on state or national register for town
Plans are underway for the creation of a state and national historic district in the hamlet of Slingerlands, which if successful would make it the Town of Bethlehem's first.
Despite having single locations on the National Register of Historic Places, Bethlehem has no entire districts on file on the state or national level. This is in part because many of the town's oldest haunts, like the Four Corners in Delmar, have been in use for so long they've become too modernized. In parts of Slingerlands, though, much of the historic feel and architecture remains, said Town Historian Susan Leath.
That district has always spoken to me. The potential to me is just so obvious to be a historic district, she said.
The process to establish a district largely started with the installation of a blue-and-gold historic marker next door to Ilona Muhlich's New Scotland Road home. It announced the burial ground of Andrew Conning to be nearby, but it also rekindled Muhlich's historical curiosity.
"I because interested in the history of our house in particular, and in our neighborhood in general," she said.
This stretch of New Scotland Road is, in many places, largely untouched by history. Muhlich has lived in her early seventeenth-century abode for nearly thirty years and takes measures to ensure it retains its charm, which she said makes up for the traffic noise on Route 85.
"I don't think many people would put up with it if they didn't love the home they were in," she said.
Muhlich's research into the neighborhood eventually brought to her home Tony Opalka from the State Historic Preservation Office, who said while Muhlich's home on its own would not be able to receive an historic designation, the area itself might be eligible.