Doctor Crounse house is part of what makes Altamont, Altamont

To the Editor:

I have been following various reports on the Crounse House located Route 146 across Gun Club Road from the State Employees Federal Credit Union. To my understanding, the historic residence became the joint property of the village of Altamont and the town of Guilderland approximately 12 years ago and a $25,000 grant was made available from New York State to repair the roof. This repair never happened,  and the building was condemned.

I had the opportunity to inspect the house recently and I was appalled at the damage that has occurred in the last 10 years. There is considerable damage to one section of the main structure and the rear additions have collapsed roofs.

In my mind, this was preventable and never should have been allowed to occur. I know it is easy to judge, but I find myself angry that the various players along the way seem to have “dropped the ball.” Perhaps “we dropped the ball” is more accurate. What’s done is done, but there are still options.

Much of the interior is salvageable, in my opinion. I was struck by the quality of the mortise-and-tenon framing as well as the beautiful trim details around windows and doors, etc. Certainly one of the oldest houses in Altamont representing our shared history should be saved. Where there is a will, there is a way.

A group of concerned citizens have been nobly attempting to negotiate with the town and village to create a plan to save the house, but without success. Perhaps instead, it should be the local government spearheading the effort, while enlisting the help of its citizenry to achieve the goal. It is a big challenge but it is attainable if we work together.

As I approach the village, I would rather gaze upon a stately 19th-Century residence than a cluster of new homes. After all, it’s what makes Altamont, Altamont!

Paul Scilipoti


Editor’s note: See the most recent Enterprise stories: “Doctor Crounse House may yet be saved,” and “White Cloud wants to waken the spirit to change the face of America” — both from July 17, 2018. Paul Scilipoti is part of the citizens’ group trying to save and restore the Doctor Crounse House.

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