Historic district application nearly complete

Slingerlands would be the town's first historic district; application in the works for months

Plans are moving ahead to have a part of Slingerlands placed on the state and national Registers of Historic Places.

The Bethlehem Town Board is slated to vote on a resolution supporting the move on May 25. Town Historian Susan Leath and a few residents have been working on the application off and on for over a year.

The district contains 92 properties and 73 historic homes and buildings. Part of the process has been going door-to-door through the area to speak to homeowners about their homes and the districting process in general.

I have not received any negative feedback, Leath said. "There will be no restrictions on what they [property owners] can do to their property, it's simply an honor."

There are also tax breaks and grants available to businesses located in historic buildings and districts.

Though the town has several single buildings on the registers, this would be the first entire district. In drafting the boundaries, Leth focused on three periods of historical significance: the pre-1850 settlement era, the time the area was a railroad suburb and the early days of the introduction of the automobile.

Certain buildings that have been heavily modified from their original state are not included in the district, including the hamlet's railroad station, which has been converted into apartments. Many of the Victorian-era homes lining New Scotland Road, however, are in close to their original states.

Leath still has to gather more details about the buildings in the district and get a formal submission together by July to send to the state Board of Historic Preservation. After it's approved for the state register it will be forwarded on to the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places.

Leath is looking for volunteers to help her collect data and also any property owners in the district she has not yet spoken to. She can be reached at 439-4955 extension 1160 or by email at sleath@townofbethlehem.org.""

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