Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hancock Shaker Village

In 1774, a small group of Shakers left their native England in pursuit of religious freedom.  Led by Mother Ann Lee, the Shakers arrived in America and settled near Watervliet, New York as well as in nearby New Lebanon.

A third Shaker community was established near Pittsfield, Massachusetts in the town of Hancock in 1790.  Known as Hancock Shaker Village, it became a thriving Shaker community.
The Shaker movement reached its peak in the mid-1800’s, and by the early twentieth century, the population at Hancock Shaker Village had dwindled to about fifty.  By 1960, only two elderly Sisters remained. 

A group of interested citizens, composed mainly of local civic leaders, were selected by the Shakers to purchase the 974 acres of land and 18 dilapidated buildings that comprised Hancock Shaker Village.  On June 29, 1960, the Shaker Central Ministry voted to discontinue the Pittsfield/Hancock family as an organized Shaker community.  A few months later a corporation, chartered by the Commonwealth, was formed to preserve the history of the Shaker village.

On July 1, 1961, Hancock Shaker Village opened three of its buildings to the public as an outdoor living history museum.  Dedicated to bringing the Shaker story to life and preserving its history for future generations, visitors can learn, experience, and reflect on the principled life as a Shaker.
Gradually, more buildings were restored and opened to the public, such as the Poultry House in 1962, the Laundry and Machine Shop in 1967, and the Round Stone Barn in 1968.

Today, the fully restored Village includes 18 historic buildings, medicinal and vegetable gardens, and thousands of examples of Shaker crafts, furniture, tools and clothes.  There are daily tours, lectures, and workshops. 

Here visitors delight in the grazing sheep, as seen from inside of the Round Stone Barn:
While on vacation a few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.  Ever since, I have wanted to visit Hancock Shaker Village in nearby Massachusetts.  When an opportunity presented itself yesterday, I jumped at the chance to make the trip!

Thank you for taking the time to read this posting.  Please come back next week to see more of my images of Hancock Shaker Village!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Remember being a kid in the summertime and hearing the sweet melody of the ice-cream truck jingle coming down your street?

Heart racing, you’d make a mad dash for home, hoping there’d be time to beg mom or dad for money and rush back before the music faded away.

If you were lucky, the ice cream truck had stopped for some other kid and you made it back in time, clutching your coins.

And if you weren’t so lucky…

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

One Week Later

Last week I posted some images of the old First Baptist Church in Gloversville, which is currently in the process of demolition. 

Saturday morning my husband mentioned that Main Street had been blocked off on Friday to enable the demolition crew accessibility to the church.  Curious as to how much progress had been made, I checked out the site on my way home from an appointment.

To refresh your memory, this is how the scene looked on Saturday, May 7:

And now…one week later:

Long ago I learned a good lesson from a great teacher:  after taking the shot, turn around!

Those words, spoken many years ago, were on my mind as I pressed the shutter button.  Slowly, I turned around and discovered this scene to my left:
...and then noticed this view to my right:
I had a wise teacher!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Old First Baptist Church

This beautiful old building, built in 1890, was last used as a church approximately thirteen years ago. 

Located at 59 S. Main Street in Gloversville, NY, the building has been structurally unsound and vacant since the church closed.  Theodore Perham, the last chairman of the church board remarked, “No one wants to see a beautiful building destroyed…but we could not afford it.”  They could not support the heating and insurance costs, he said.  “We were not even using the sanctuary when we left.  It cost too much to heat in the winter,” Perham said.

The church was deeded to the city, and officials explored the possibility of restoring the structure.  However, they abandoned that idea when it became clear the cost of restoring it would be far beyond what the city could afford or any potential grant could cover. 

With its deteriorating condition deemed hazardous, the city has considered demolishing the building since 2007.  Before the building could be razed, however, the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation had to give its approval.  State parks spokesman Dan Keefe said that there was so much water damage, roof failure and falling bricks that the building was deemed unsalvageable as well as dangerous.

A grant for about $434,000, awarded in 2008, will cover part of the cost of demolition, but the city will have to cover the rest of the estimated $700,000 cost.  Demolition of the building finally began with asbestos removal in December 2010.

This beautiful old building will soon be gone, but never forgotten.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What do YOU see?

My husband sees a blooming onion.
I see celery sticks.
What do YOU see?