Abandoned Rustic Barn property could be made into an outdoor museum, highlighting the history of Fullers

To the Editor:

A recent Enterprise article raised the issue of what to do with two abandoned and condemned Guilderland properties [“Solution elusive for two vacant Guilderland properties that pose ‘possible environmental concerns’,” Aug. 23, 2018]. I have a proposal for one of the properties, the Rustic Barn site at Fullers Corners on Route 20.

This site is at the heart of once was the historic and prosperous hamlet of Fullers, which dates back to 1803 when a tavern was first built there — the nucleus of Fullers hamlet was based around the intersection of Route 20 (the Great Western Turnpike) and Fuller Station Road.

Additionally, in 1882, the West Shore Railroad built a major rail line crossing the Great Western Turnpike at Fullers, along with a railroad depot station. From there, the hamlet flourished with an inn, post office, general store, school, a major hay-processing operation, a blacksmith shop, and more.

For a number of years, Fullers Station shipped out the highest volume of hay annually of any railroad depot in Albany County and, during the early 1900s, six to eight passenger trains would stop daily at Fullers Station and mail was delivered twice a day!

With all that being said, what I would propose is clearing the site and creating an outdoor museum of sorts, with landscaping, berms, pathways, benches, etc. Throughout this network of trails would be an introductory kiosk, along with outdoor signage staged throughout the trail system.

The outdoor signage, with historical photos and interpretive write-ups, would provide an overview of the history of Fullers and Fullers Station. This project could be a collaborative effort between the town of Guilderland, Albany County, and the Guilderland Historical Society (perhaps with the town and county providing funding).

This outdoor museum and education center would be a fitting use for this “abandoned” site, helping to preserve the history and heritage of this historically important Guilderland hamlet and commercial center that no longer exists today!

Mark Hesler

Franconia, New Hampshire

Editor’s note: Mark Hesler is a former president of the Guilderland Historical Society and a founder of the Dutch Barn Preservation Society.

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