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Pruyn House celebrates 30 years

Town and volunteer effort turned dilapidated home into historic treasure

The Town of Colonie purchased the Pruyn House in 1983 and this year the historic home celebrates its 30th anniversary.

The Town of Colonie purchased the Pruyn House in 1983 and this year the historic home celebrates its 30th anniversary. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— When the Casparus Pruyn House went up for sale in 1983, it was a complete wreck.

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Friends of Pruyn House Curator Diane Morgan stands at the original beehive oven in the home's basement.

Its last owner had lived alone in the basement, leaving the rest of the two-story mansion at 207 Old Niskayuna Road with a rotting roof, peeling wallpaper and a crumbling foundation. Although fixing up the house was going to take a significant investment, a group of townspeople worked to persuade then Town Supervisor Fred Field and the Town Board that purchasing the dilapidated home was the right move given its historical significance.

“Fred Field really felt it was a great deal to take on this house in very poor condition and they knew how much money was going to have to be invested,” Friends of Pruyn House Curator Diane Morgan said. “They did know that it was one of the oldest private residences of the area. This was really a very special house.”

The decision was made to preserve the historic site and the town purchased the home resting on 5 ½ acres of land for $110,000. After two years and $140,000 in renovations, the town officially opened the Pruyn House to the public in 1986.

On Wednesday, April 24, the Friends of Pruyn House will celebrate the home’s 30th anniversary at their annual dinner meeting at the Century House Inn in Latham, where they will show a 15-minute movie about the historic site.

Although the town is honoring its 30th year as a cultural and historical museum, the Pruyn House has been around since the 1800s. The original Dutch Pruyns came to New York in the 1660s. Casparus Francis Pruyn, a seventh generation Pruyn, worked as a land agent for Stephen Van Rensselaer III, one of the last Patroons of the Van Rennselaer Manor which laid claim to nearly one million acres in the Capital District.

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