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New door opens on Schuyler history

Colonie gains possession of centuries-old door from Schuyler Flatts home

Town of Colonie Historian Kevin Franklin stands with the two parts of the door that once stood in the entrance way of the Schuyler Flatts home. The home was burnt down in 1962, but the door had been removed before the burning.

Town of Colonie Historian Kevin Franklin stands with the two parts of the door that once stood in the entrance way of the Schuyler Flatts home. The home was burnt down in 1962, but the door had been removed before the burning. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— Though Cornthwaite took the door, he, too, didn’t know what to do with.

“I kept it in my barn for several years thinking about what I can do with it. I kind of forgot about it in a way. Last year, I decided I wasn’t going to ever use it for anything, and it belonged in a museum someplace,” he said.

The heavy pine door towers over historian Franklin’s 6’1’’ frame. Partly thanks to some modern repairs over the years, including the changing of some nails in the structure, it is in very strong shape. Since Franklin doesn’t have a frame for the door, right now it’s separated into two parts.

When the two pieces fit together in the Flatts home, they opened to welcome generations of Schuylers. The home sat on hundreds of acres of the Schuyler family’s farm and faced east of the Hudson River. In the 1740s, the Flatts were fortified and became an assembly point for numerous attacks against the French.

“That door, we know it was standing there during the American Revolution, and maybe even before the French and Indian Wars and whatnot. The people who would’ve walked through that door would have been British generals, who were associated with the Schuyler family,” Franklin said.

The Open Space Institute now owns the Schuyler Flatts, and the public can enjoy the area as a park. The historic plaque was preserved from the fire and is now in the entranceway of the park. The stone structure of the house outlines its former footprint as if gravestones.

Franklin said he hopes once the door has a frame, they can set it up somewhere in Town Hall or in the town for the public to see.

Catherine Schuyler was one of the last descendents to live in the Schuyler home, and her granddaughter couldn’t be happier to see it can still be honored in some way.

“I think it’s marvelous. I’m so excited that it’ll be there and preserved. People can see it,” Wheat said. “I think the Schuylers are an integral part of state history and national history. I think that’s important.”

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