Guilderland Historical Society


New Programs for Winter/Spring, 2023

Thursday, February 16, 2023. 7:30 PM, In-person, Mynderse-Frederick House

History and Historic Preservation, as seen from the perspective of our Town Supervisor, Peter Barber

We open up our 2023 programming with a guest visit by our Town Supervisor, Peter Barber. Because of the interest Peter has shown over the years in preserving sites of historical importance in Guilderland, we were curious to know how this interest began and developed for him. While entreating us to bear in mind that he is not a historian, he has agreed to tell us about his earliest impressions of Guilderland's history, about several of the historic buildings that the Town has sought to save, and about the tension between the need to preserve our common heritage and the limited resources available to maintain them. As a case in point, Mr. Barber will walk us through the Town's efforts to preserve the cobblestone schoolhouse of Guilderland Center and will share captivating details from primary source material (letters, reports) written by the Chesebro brothers, schoolteachers there in the mid 19th c., and he will suggest possible steps forward for the future preservation and utilization of the schoolhouse.  In addition, Mr. Barber will give an update on the Mynderse Frederick House repair project (windows, repainting, etc.). 

Thursday, March 16, 7:30 PM, In-person, Mynderse-Frederick House

Searching for History on Settles Hill, presented by Bryan Swift

Bryan and Lauren Swift have lived on Settles Hill since 1985, and after Bryan retired in 2016 he has spent countless hours in search of information about the earliest settlers and residents of the area.  Come learn about how the land was first divided up among leaseholders of the Patroon Stephen Van Rensselaer III, some familiar and not-so-familiar names of families who lived on the hill, and of course how Settles Hill got its name.  Bryan will describe the many sources of information he has pursued, including maps, deeds, census data, cemetery records, newspaper archives, and more.  And his search is not over, so please bring any information you may have to add to his project of documenting the history of this oft-forgotten part of Guilderland!

Thursday, April 20, 2023, 7:30pm, In person, Mynderse-Frederick House

A Historic Photo Tour of Guilderland, presented by Mary Ellen Johnson, past President, GHS.

Come along with the Guilderland Historical Society members for a virtual history tour of Guilderland’s communities and corners, past and present, as Mary Ellen Johnson presents “A Historic Photo Tour of Guilderland.” Ms. Johnson’s program will cover various areas of the township and provide historic background ranging from the 18th to the 21st centuries. A long-time member and past President of the Guilderland Historical Society, Mary Ellen Johnson writes the monthly column “A Glimpse of Guilderland History” for the Altamont Enterprise and, with Alice Begley, co-authored the Arcadia Press photo history Images of America: Guilderland, NY (1999).

Thursday, May 18, 2023, 7:30pm, In person, Mynderse-Frederick House

One year post-bicentennial: Knox turns 201, presented by Dennis Barber, President, Knox Historical Society.

Mr. Dennis Barber will give us a sweeping tour of the 201 years since the founding of Knox, including its origin, namesake, the first families and the later settlers, the first Town meeting, and the earliest community leaders who accepted the call to serve as Supervisors. He will then highlight the agriculture and manufacturing of the Town, especially the famous basswood pillbox manufactory, and describe the impressive educational endeavors of the 19th century, such as the neighborhood schoolhouses and the Knoxville Academy. The churches, the fire company, the hotels, stores and businesses of the early days will not be left out, nor will that most fascinating chapter in the history of the Hilltowns, the Anti-Rent War. Perhaps most intriguing of all, Mr. Barber will give an outline history of one of the most little known features of the Town, the Knox Cave. For those who missed the bicentennial events, this may be the best chance to wish our neighbors to the west a happy two hundred and first birthday.