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.
SLS Dubai says
Hey! this is a great story of the Outer Gooley Farmhouse, alas! AARCH and local officials lost the battle to have these buildings preserved.
David Gibson says
Adirondack Wild tried to remind DEC of the law in 2015, which should have resulted in the immediate demolition of this structure which legally cannot remain on the Forest Preserve. The law gives DEC authority to retain certain structures deemed historic on the Forest preserve, under certain conditions. One of those conditions is that the State’s ownership of the historic structure pre-dates the date the law was enacted (1983). The land on which the farmhouse sits was only acquired in 2013, and it not acquired prior to the law’s enactment in 1983, which is a prerequisite for its preservation and maintenance on the Forest Preserve. Adirondack Wild concludes that DEC should have safely taken down the farmhouse from the Forest Preserve asap and, if deemed historic by some, rebuilt in the hamlet of Indian Lake as an interpretive exhibit. Instead, DEC allows this structure to become structurally hazardous. Not good.
Joe Martens says
It’s always easy to point the finger at big bad DEC. At the urging of local government officials and AARCH, the Department retained the building to see if some arrangement could be made to preserve and use it. But I put the onus on the local government and preservation interests to find the answer; DEC simply did not have the resources or the time to figure out a solution that involved state funds. As Dave correctly points out, there were legal as well as resource constraints but DEC bent over backwards to others an opportunity to see if something could be worked out. The parties interested in saving the farmhouse were unable to deliver, but the blame, as usual ,falls on DEC.
Mike Hauser says
How do I find out more about this piece of property. I believe it has some significant professional boxing history attached to it. I think it is safe to assume it was once used to house loggers. I am trying to find out if it is the site that the Husson family once acted as caretakers for.