Mabee House

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Mabee House
Mabee House Jan 09.jpg
Mabee House, January 2009
Mabee House is located in New York
Mabee House
Location S of Rotterdam Junction on NY 5S, Rotterdam Junction, New York
Coordinates 42°51′56″N 74°1′56″W / 42.86556°N 74.03222°W / 42.86556; -74.03222Coordinates: 42°51′56″N 74°1′56″W / 42.86556°N 74.03222°W / 42.86556; -74.03222
Area 9.6 acres (3.9 ha)
Built 1705
NRHP Reference # 78001907[1]
Added to NRHP May 22, 1978

The Mabee House at the Mabee Farm Historic Site is the oldest house still standing in the Mohawk Valley. It is located in the town of Rotterdam, N. Y., in the hamlet of Rotterdam Junction, New York, along New York State Highway 5S, about six miles (10 km) west of the city of Schenectady. The oldest building on the property is the stone house. It was in the Mabee Family for almost three centuries. The original 9-acre (3.6 ha) property, including the house, inn, brick building, a family cemetery and more, was donated to the Schenectady County Historical Society on January 29, 1993. An H-bent frame Dutch barn, dating from the 1760s, was acquired from the Nilsen family in 1997, moved from Johnstown, N.Y., restored, and re erected at the Mabee Farm Historic Site. Various educational programs and events are now offered to the public there. In 2007 the neighboring 27 acres was added to the property. That is where the new George E. Franchere Education Center was built in 2011.


The property was first acquired by Daniel Janse Van Antwerpen in 1671. He purchased the property from the Mohawks and received a grant for the patent in 1680 from the English Governor Edmund Andros to possibly use as a fur trading post. Van Antwerpen, a neighbor of Jan Pieterse Mabee and wife Anna Borsboom in the Stockade Historic District, sold the westerly half of the farm property to Jan in 1705/6. The original deed was given to the Schenectady County Historical Society along with 582 other documents and over 1,000 artifacts. The original structures on the farm are the stone house, a frame pre-Erie Canal inn, in which Revolutionary War General Philip Schuyler stayed in 1792 while surveying for the Western Inland Navigation and Lock Company, and a half brick and half wood probable summer kitchen/mother-in-law house. The Farm's original barns, however, were consumed by fire in the 1870s and 1970s. There is also a family cemetery, which has grave stones dating from 1771. The property has been handed down through the Mabee family 287 years!

George Franchere, the last owner from that particular branch of the Jan Mabee line, donated the property to the Schenectady County Historical Society, with the intention that it would be maintained as a museum and educational center.[2] To that end, numerous family members and volunteers have worked to preserve the property and its donated artifacts, and to develop educational programs and events that present colonial American history to visitors. They built a dock on the bordering Mohawk River in 2004 and acquired two replica bateaux built by students of the Alplaus Maritime Academy for use and demonstration near the river’s edge.

Mabee Farm Historic Site[edit]

The Jan Mabee House and Inn on 9 acres (36,000 m2) of property in Rotterdam Junction, NY were given to the Schenectady County Historical Society by George E. Franchere in 1993, 11 years before he died. In 1996, the Historical Society applied for a matching-funds grant to restore the house, but the grant was denied; the members instead planned a private fundraising campaign.[3] In addition to the House, considered by Cornell University dendro chronology, to be the oldest in the Mohawk Valley, the site now contains a very large Dutch Barn, a smaller English barn and several small outbuildings, and is operated seasonally as the Mabee Farm Historic Site. On neighboring property, 27 acres (110,000 m2) acquired from the county in 2007 is the George Eugene Franchere Education Center, a three-level 13,000 sq ft (1,200 m2). structure which, completed in 2011, now allows the Site to operate year round. The Education Center provides needed storage, offices for staff, a gift shop, a 150-seat auditorium for presentations and discussions related to the family, history of Colonial farming in New York State, and related museum displays and exhibits. Additionally, in 2009 the MFHS acquired 9 acres from NY State Canal Corporation across (north side) the river, to protect its historic viewshed.

Currently, most visitors to the Site are school children on field trips. On site, they cycle through several stops to watch and learn, from demonstrations of blacksmithing, butter churning, use of sheep wool, carding, spinning and broom making. For each of the last several years, a Revolutionary War reenactment has been held in June, and the theme of the 2009 reenactment was the French and Indian War. Special events often feature the history of the Erie Canal, some of whose now-dormant locks are nearby and the land previously owned by, and taken from the Mabees by eminent domain.

The site borders the south side of Mohawk River (and hence the New York State Barge Canal, and the Farm's dock serves not only two bateaux specially constructed for the Mabee Farm, but also visits from a commercial boat that provides River tours to visitors to special events. The Onrust was built here in 2006-2009 in time for the Quadracentennial of Henry Hudson's voyage to what became New Netherland.


  1. ^ Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Hart, Larry (June 20, 1973). "Dutch Farmhouse of the 1600s May Become N.Y. Historic Site". Schenectady Gazette (Schenectady, New York). p. 21. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  3. ^ Roy, Matthew (March 26, 1996). "Grant denied for Mabee Farm". The Daily Gazette (Schenectady, New York). pp. 2B. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 

2. Mabee Family Papers

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