City of Amsterdam receives grant for structural analysis of historic brood mare barn


CITY OF AMSTERDAM – Ongoing efforts to preserve the historic broodmare barn will be given a boost through a state grant given to the city to conduct a structural analysis of the landmark to identify issues at stake. resolve and open opportunities to seek other grants to complete the work.

“It can have a lasting impact,” Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said on Wednesday.

The $ 4,000 technical assistance grant from the New York State Preservation League and State Council on the Arts program partners will cover 80% of the cost of the study. The city will provide a matching share of $ 1,000.

The study will be completed by the city’s engineering firm, Delaware Engineering, later this year to assess structural integrity and explore areas of the building that need to be addressed. The analysis will outline the recommended work with cost estimates, while notifying the city of the appropriate actions that can be taken to address any issues in the interim.

“These grants are used to jump-start preservation projects that need to be done,” DiMezza said.

Significant work has already been done to restore and maintain the remaining structures of the old Sanford stud farm along Route 30 since their acquisition by the city in 2006. Previous work includes exterior structural improvements to stabilize the barns, roof replacement, installation of lighting rods, bypass drainage, installation of water and sewer to support a new bathroom and electrical work.

DiMezza estimated that projects already completed total around $ 600,000 in grant funds, in-kind services provided by the Highways Department, city contributions and funds raised by the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm.

“It will improve that and find out what else the barn needs to preserve this area,” said DiMezza, president of the Friends group.

The brood mares barn is the largest of the structures acquired by the city. The barn has suffered previous damage due to the now corrected drainage issues which will be assessed as part of the structural analysis. The study will also examine options for stabilizing the second floor where the sleeping quarters were located when the farm was in operation.

“Making sure this area is secure and the floors can hold someone riding in that area for visitors to watch and see what it was like the jockeys and farm workers to stay there. There is a lot of historical value to what was there, ”said DiMezza. “Some families in this region still remember their parents or grandparents working on the farm. “

Louis “Sam” Hildebrandt, Jr. described the farm’s global importance during its operation as a breeding and training facility for thoroughbred racehorses for more than 100 years after its inception by Amsterdam carpet industrialist Stephen Sanford in the late 1870s. Hildebrandt is the current clerk of the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm, a non-profit organization committed to the preservation of the site in partnership with the city.

“The farm was a breeding facility, they were known across the ocean for their breeding lines.
He was one of the biggest in America until the 1950s or 1960s, ”said Hildebrandt, whose father was a jockey for Sanford Stud. “The broodmare’s barn was probably the heart of the Sanford stud farm.”

The 1,000-acre property consisting of approximately 40 buildings with clay and turf surfaces, a steeplechase course and an indoor training track was sold in 1986. Most of the original structures were demolished and replaced by a commercial development.

One of the surviving original barns in Tessiero Square behind the Towne Square shopping center owned by Carnegie Development partially collapsed in 2019. The building was subsequently razed to the ground.

“If they are neglected like other buildings age will destroy them and we refuse to let that happen,” Hildebrandt said of the remaining structures. “It’s part of the history of the Mohawk Valley and certainly part of the history of Amsterdam.”

Although there is no immediate threat to the broodmare, the structural analysis will allow the city and the group of friends to prioritize future projects to ensure the long-term preservation of the site and promote its use as as public space.

“It’s stable enough that people can come in and visit, but not to a point where we can finish this and have it as a destination point,” Hildebrandt said.

The city has made the broodmare’s barn available for public and private events in recent years and the Friends have held an annual fundraising open house at the site before the pandemic put the event on hold indefinitely. . Photos displayed throughout the barn testify to the importance of the site during its operation and document the work that has gone into its preservation.

DiMezza hopes that the structural analysis funded by the grant will allow efforts to continue to restore and maintain the brood mares barn for public enjoyment.

“We want to be able to grow, prosper and preserve what is already there so that people, when they go, have a sense of the legacy the Sanfords have had in this area,” said DiMezza.

Contact Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.


Comments are closed.