By PHIL BROWN
An old farmhouse on the forest preserve that some want preserved has been condemned and partially dismantled.
Located near the confluence of the Hudson and Indian rivers, the structure once served as the headquarters of the Outer Gooley Club. After the state acquired the land in 2013, the future of the building became a subject of debate.
Environmental groups argued that the building should be torn down, but Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) contended that it was worthy of preservation and nominated it for the state and national registers of historic places.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation, which manages the forest preserve, said in a 2016 management plan that it would leave the building in place until deciding its fate. If it were not dismantled, the farmhouse might be used as an interior outpost, a museum, or an overnight lodge, according to DEC.
The farmhouse is the starting point for hikes and bike rides to the former Finch, Pruyn lands lying just to the north, including Pine Lake and the Cedar River. The Explorer visited the area last week and found that the porch roof had been dismantled and the resultant scrap lumber piled outside the front door. A notice of condemnation was affixed to the side of the building.
DEC says the porch roof was removed for public-safety reasons and no decision has been made regarding the building’s future. A shed and other outbuildings were taken down a few years ago.
Steven Engelhart, executive director of AARCH, is disheartened by the building’s condition. “We (are) disappointed that little or no maintenance was done there and this allowed the building to deteriorate to the point of having the porch collapse,” he wrote in an email to the Explorer.
“We were also disappointed that the DEC has not convened any of the interested parties who have expressed interest working with the department in finding a compatible use for this building,” Engelhart said.
The buildings of the nearby Inner Gooley Club, on the Essex Chain Lakes, were dismantled last year. AARCH and local officials lost the battle to have these buildings preserved.
Both sportsmen’s clubs were located on former Finch, Pruyn timberlands that the state bought from the Nature Conservancy. They are now part of the Essex Chain Lakes Complex.