Bethlehem Historical Association

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Patterson Farmhouse 

Murray Avenue, Delmar
Listed 1997

The Patterson Farmhouse is located in what once was an agricultural settlement known as Adamsville. It survives in an area of large modern residential homes in a major suburb of Albany. The property was once an extensive farm containing several outbuildings, dairy barns, orchards and fields... all which have been destroyed.

The Patterson Farmhouse, built circa 1840, is an architecturally significant example of early nineteenth century Hudson Valley farmhouse in the Greek Revival style of architecture. It has a Greek Revival form and has both Federal Colonial and Greek Revival decorative details in its interior… the essential portions of the building are plain with minimal ornamentation, in keeping with its being a working family farmhouse typical of the nineteenth century.

On May 3, 1810, William Patterson leased 107 acres of land from Stephen Van Rensselaer. Patterson constructed a Dutch Barn on the property… the farmhouse as it presently exists was added circa 1840. Patterson died in 1883 and his son James inherited the farm. James Patterson operated the farm until 1895. A succession of owners followed, until the land was subdivided in 1937.

The Patterson Farmhouse reflects the spirit of Greek Revival architecture—bold in silhouette, broad in proportions, and simplified in details. It also reflects the significant role that agriculture once played in the hamlet of Delmar, which is now a suburban bedroom community.

(The above is paraphrased from the house’s National Register nomination form.)

Albert Slingerland Farmhouse

March 2021

Bridge Street, Slingerlands

Listed 1997

The Albert Slingerland Farmhouse satisfies Criterion C for its architectural significance as intact representative example of vernacular Greek Revival design in the town of Bethlehem. Built circa 1840, the farmhouse and its complement of historic dependencies retain substantial integrity of design and setting from the mid-nineteenth century.

The town of Bethlehem was settled in the seventeenth century by farmers of predominantly Dutch descent, typically leasing land from the Van Rensselaer patroons... The Slingerland family, first appearing in the Dutch colonial records of Albany in the 1650s, prospered …  and farmed land in Bethlehem and the adjacent town of New Scotland.

The early history of the farm occupied by Albert Slingerlands and his wife Catherine until 1854 has not been documented. Oral tradition suggests that members of the Slingerland family farmed this area as early as the 1780s… the present farmhouse and outbuildings were clearly built about 1840 judging from a careful inspection of style and construction. The farmhouse exemplifies the front-gable side ell house type, common in New York State in the period between 1830 and 1870, in its proportions and architectural detailing… The Albert Slingerland Farmhouse stands out as one of the few historic farmhouses … which retains its full complement of historic dependencies and largely unaltered setting.

Albert and Catherine Slingerland sold the house and 12.7 acres in 1854 to Henry and Mary Kilmer… the Kilmer family is believed to have been responsible for building the circa 1860 addition to the rear of the house and installing the Italianate style doors at the façade.

(The above is paraphrased from the house’s National Register nomination form.)

 Bethlehem Post Office

February 2021
U. S. Post Office
Delaware Avenue, Delmar
Listed 1988

The Delmar Post Office, constructed in 1939-40, is architecturally significant as an intact representative example of the federal architecture erected as part of the public works projects initiated by the United States government during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Its simplified design illustrates forms and decoration derived from American Colonial and Federal period architecture... the use of a standard pattern for this building reflects the increasing simplicity of design and standardization of form which are characteristic of post office of this period, the most prolific period of post office construction in the nation’s history… in addition to the architectural importance of the Delmar Post office, the building contains an artistically significant and well-preserved mural painted in 1940.

The Delmar Post Office is one of thirteen virtually identical New York State post offices authorized beginning in 1931 and designed by Supervising Architect of the Treasury Louis A. Simon…. The Delmar Post Office is a simple, but well-proportioned and finely detailed building designed in the Colonial Revival style… The Delmar Post Office and its twelve cousins have particularly fine entrances with fluted Doric columns and blind fanlights, into each of which is set an American eagle.

(The above is paraphrased from the building’s National Register nomination form.)

Town Historian Susan Leath has written up the Delmar Post Office in her blog. Click for a whole series of photos documenting the construction of the Delmar Post Office and then click here to check out this post from 2014 that includes information about the mural in the lobby

 Bethlehem House (aka the Nicoll-Sill House) 

January 2021

Dinmore Road, Cedar Hill, Selkirk
Listed 1973

The Rensselaer Nicoll House, also known as the Bethlehem House, represents an architectural growth not a type. In its multiple additions lie the buildings immense historical interest as the expression of changing needs and life-styles of one family throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Located within the Van Rensselaer Patent, the building site was determined by its proximity to the falls in the Vlaumanskill where a sawmill was built in the mid-seventeenth century… Rensselaer Nicoll, the fourth patroon’s nephew, built his house here in 1736… at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Salisbury… its scale and elegance show a marked resemblance to her father’s house in Leeds near Catskill.

Just over sixty years after the house was built, Francis Nicoll made the southern addition to his father’s house… his addition reflects architectural originality and sensitivity…

Francis Nicoll had been a member of the Albany Committee of Public Safety throughout the Revolutionary War and continued to be a prominent local political figure. His enthusiasm for updating the family house showed again in a second addition made at the end of his lifetime around 1810, the west extension with the first permanently attached kitchens and the slave quarters above.

The family slaves were freed by William Nicoll Sill (1786-1844), Francis’ grandson, who inherited most of the family estate sharing part of it with his brother John. This first subdivision of the property between the Sill brothers was the beginning of a trend which… whittled away the size of a once self-sufficient estate.

(The above is paraphrased from the house’s National Register nomination form.)

Bethlehem House was documented by the Historic American Building Survey in 1934. 

To see photos and drawings, click here