Rather than destroy the Crounse House, why not sell it to someone who would preserve our history?

To the Editor:

I read with dismay in a letter two weeks ago from Kristin Casey that the historic Frederick Crounse was slated for demolition and that there was nothing to be done about it. Then, last week, in another letter, from Bill Skowe, I discovered that there is, or at least there has been, significant interest in the property. Mr. Skowe, who wrote that he restores historic buildings, revealed that he had been interested in buying the property at one point.

All over Altamont and Guilderland, there are hundreds of examples of private homeowners who love their 18th- and 19th-century homes so much they have been willing to devote much time and enormous resources into bringing them back to their former glory.

Rather than just condemn the building and destroy it, wouldn't it make more sense to sell the property to someone with a similar interest in preserving our past?

As citizens of Altamont and Guilderland, we should do everything possible to save the abandoned home of Dr. Frederick Crounse in old Knowersville. It is one of the original houses in that tiny settlement that predates the village of Altamont and is worthy of preservation.

It's true that it is in great disrepair, and it may also be true that it has been stripped of many of its original architectural features inside, yet it is nonetheless the home of one of the first and finest doctors in this area.

According to the late historian Arthur B. Gregg, that dilapidated home belonged to an extraordinary medical practitioner. Mr. Gregg wrote in the 1930s, “Over the hills and up the valleys, for over sixty years, the Doctor, with his saddle bags, rode his horse or bounced along in his leathern spring gig. Over sixty years he ministered to the territory for miles around, bringing into the world more of its inhabitants than any practitioner before or since.”

I realize that official government protocols may make it complicated to do the right thing and that financial support is hard to come by these days. But if selling this property is not an option, and if funding is lacking, I propose we form a volunteer citizens’ group to rebuild the roof.

If we can buy a little time, and protect the building for another few years, maybe we can find the grant money down the road for a more full restoration. I for one would certainly be willing. It’s better than destroying our heritage.

Tom Capuano


Editor’s note: Tom Capuano wrote a book-length poem, drawing from the history of Guilderland. Capuano calls his epic The Tale of Tekarionyoken: Being the first known verse account of the ascent of the Hudson River, the arrival at Fort Orange and the passage westward to the foot of the Helderbergs of a certain Band of Wanderers, together with a deft critical edifice casting salutary doubt on its veracity.

More Letters to the Editor

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.