‘A glimpse of the past is always nice:’ New Picard’s Grove owners to hold generation-spanning sale

— Photo from Valerie Glover

The Picard’s Grove farmhouse will be filled with items going back to the 1800s that will be for sale to the public later this month, says owner Valerie Glover.

VOORHEESVILLE — When Richard and Valerie Glover purchased the historic 87-acre Picard’s Grove property, thereby preventing it from being developed, they knew they were doing more than just buying property. They were stepping into a family’s history, expressed not just in the land and buildings the family had passed down from one generation to the next, but many of their possessions, too. 

Now, six months after closing the deal, the Glovers have sorted through most of the Picard heirlooms, determining which should be placed with the family; which should be donated to special-interest groups, like the local historical society; and which can be sold through an estate sale that will be held at the property later this month.

“There were generations of family living there,” Valerie Glover told the Enterprise this week, “so there’s many collections of just about anything that you can name. It’s just filled. I couldn’t tell you how many china sets there are. There’s clothes from the early 1900s up until now. There’s something for everyone.”

The Glovers bought the property and possessions from their neighbor, Jeanne Picard Fish, who grew up on the land and lived there as an adult until 2019 when, at 75, she was moved into a suboptimal assisted living facility and declared incapacitated — she has since been moved to a nicer facility, her family said this week. 

Her family was waiting for a court decision on the buyer to access the money to move her to a better, closer facility.

After Picard Fish was declared incapacitated, her property was placed under the control of an attorney who was hoping for a “quick sale,” while other members of the Picard family and many in the community worried about the destruction of the property — spiritually or physically — by a developer. 

The property, first established in the late 18th Century by a Scottish immigrant, had been in Picard Fish’s family since 1916, when it was sold to her grandfather, Herman E. Picard. For decades, Picard’s Grove was a popular community gathering spot, known for its clambakes.

Suzanne Picard, Jeanne Picard’s sister-in-law, told The Enterprise this week that the family is happy that the property ended up with the Glovers, who placed 80 percent of the land under a conservation easement through the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, but described the sale of heirlooms as a bittersweet part of the deal.

“It’s just a little sad,” Picard said, explaining that she understood the necessity and that the Glovers had offered to let Picard and her husband, Herman, come earlier than the public to get first pick. Before the sale of the property, too, the family had time to reserve the items they wanted.

“They’re no longer family things,” Picard said of the heirlooms’ ownership, “but it’s still part of the family.” 

Valerie Glover told The Enterprise that she and her husband, as they went through all the items, set aside anything that might have historical or personal significance, like letters and photographs, and said that they’re not “giving away anything of historical value.”

“My husband reads every piece of paper that comes through his hands,” Glover said, “and I would say there are probably thousands of pieces of paper, so you get a feeling of the family [through those]. We do have marriage certificates and diplomas and things I think [the Picards] would be interested in … A glimpse of the past is always nice.”

Glover said she didn’t know exactly how many items there are in total, but that the amount is “overwhelming.” They enlisted the help of a local woman to appraise the items and take inventory, she said.

“We’re still finding stuff everyday,” Glover said. “In the beginning, we donated and filled up a Voorheesville high school collection container at least 10 times with clothes and shoes and curtains and blankets and everything, which benefits one of the school clubs there.”

Last October, Glover told The Enterprise that she was looking for Jeanne Picard Fish’s wedding dress, which Picard Fish hopes to be buried in. This week, Glover said that she hasn’t identified the dress yet, but thinks it could possibly be one of a few antique white dresses that she found. “It’s hard to compare the real thing to pictures,” she said.

Items for sale include china sets, antique furniture, a Wurlitzer baby grand piano, clocks, lamps, handbags, and many more, according to an ad placed in The Enterprise this week.

“It goes back 200 years,” Glover said of the inventory, “so there’s stuff from the 1800s there.” 

All the proceeds from the sale will be put back into the property, Glover said, which contains a farmhouse, barn, dance hall, and other miscellaneous structures that need repair.

“The house needs painting. The barn needs painting,” Glover said. “That’s probably not even going to be covered by what we get from the estate sale. My husband, by himself, has been working on rebuilding the pasture fencing because there’s a 10-stall horse garage and someone might want to set up a horse-boarding business there.”

The Glovers, who have horses themselves, live nearby and are friends with Picard Fish.

The buildings all sit on the 20 percent of the property left outside of the easement, leaving it an open question what the Glovers will do with it once they’re finished clearing out all the items, which Valerie Glover says has been their nearly singular focus since taking over.

“We have been approached about commercial leasing possibilities, but we’re not making any decisions at this time,” Glover said. We’re going to be very selective about what we do.”

She said that preservation of the view of the escarpment is a priority, and expressed joy over a bald eagle she saw flying over the property not long ago, highlighting the property’s natural value and her appreciation for it.

“Anyone will be able to look out their window, if they live or work in that area, and look at the escarpment,” she said.

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The sale will be held at Picard’s Grove farmhouse, 111 Picard Road, Voorheesville, on Friday May 14 and Saturday May 15 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

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