GLENVILLE — Anyone who has looked at the historic Yates Mansion on Maple Avenue with a preservationist’s eye knows the modern windows don’t look right in a building with pre-Revolutionary roots, and the 20th-century addition on the west side of the building doesn’t fit, either.
The town of Glenville, which bought the building in 2017, is about to do something about both problems.
The Town Board on Wednesday awarded a $49,555 contract to Curtis Lumber of Ballston Spa to manufacture historically accurate “four over four” small-pane windows, and a $160,000 contract to MR2 Construction Services of Clifton Park to install them, and also demolish the “tea room” addition on the west side of the building.
The town bought the 18th-century home of one-time New York state governor Joseph Yates, which is among the oldest and most historically significant buildings in Glenville, to save it from likely demolition.
The building had been carved up inside into modern apartments, and it had deteriorated for many years under previous owners. The town has long-term plans to restore it and make it a town history center.
After the demolition work, what will be left is the core brick structure that was used by the Yates family. The Yates’ were among Schenectady’s most prominent families in the early 18th century, and the mansion served as a summer home in the countryside a few miles outside the city.
“This is the first step toward restoring the building back to its original grandeur,” said Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle. “We have to button up the house, keep the animals and the weather out. This will restore the original appearance.”
The work will also seal the building from outside weather and animals, stabilizing it until the town can raise the money needed to rehab the interior.
The work will be paid for with $150,000 in previously awarded state grant funding, as well as $60,000 taken from town reserves or money donated through private fundraising efforts.
At Wednesday’s Town Board meeting, which was held via audio and video in keeping with coronavirus social distancing policies, Councilman Jim Martin said the work is essential, given what the town wants to do with it.
“This being a historic structure and important to the history of the town, the windows are important component of that building,” he said. “Anyone who is involved in historic preservation knows the importance of windows to preserving the historical integrity of the building. I think it is money well spent.”
The west-side addition is being demolished because it is non-historic, and it needs to be removed before the town can restore the original roof line on the old building, Koetzle said. “We will restore the original roofline at some point in the future,” he said.
The demolition and window replacement can proceed despite a virus-response freeze on many construction projects because municipalities are exempt from the freeze, Koetzle said. “I don’t anticipate it will take much longer than early summer, once they get started at it,” he said.
The use of the $150,000 in grant money obtained in the last two years by state Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, and Assemblywoman Marty Beth Walsh, R-Ballston, will leave the town looking for new funding for interior restoration. The total cost of restoration work is expected to be $500,000 or more.
“It’s going to be a long haul, as we keep fundraising and look for other grants,” Koetzle said.
Now nearly 300 years old, the two-story, 6,200-square-foot mansion was the home of Joseph Yates, who was New York’s governor from 1823 to 1824, and who remains the only governor to hail from Schenectady County. He was also a founding trustee of Union College. The town in 2018 got it listed on the national and state registers of historic places.