BARN SITE SECURED!
Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy announces the acquisition of land for the relocation of the historic Hilton Barn
The historic Hilton Barn located in the Town of New Scotland is the largest post and beam structure still standing in Albany County. Completed in 1898, the barn was constructed at the end of an agricultural era when hay was the primary fuel for transportation, before the automobile and gasoline replaced actual horse power. On March 16, the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (MHLC) purchased land for the historic Hilton Barn’s new home, saving it from impending demolition to make way for a housing development.
This exciting project is a unique one for the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. Since its beginnings in 1992, the Conservancy has worked to preserve vital open natural areas of the Capital Region. When the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy was approached by Town officials last March seeking assistance to identify a possible location where the barn could be moved, Mark King, Executive Director of MHLC, saw it as an opportunity to add on to the Conservancy’s ongoing efforts to enhance the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail (ACHHRT) amenities for users.
“The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy has spent close to 10 years working with Albany County, Scenic Hudson, and local municipalities to create a rail trail corridor running from Voorheesville to the Port of Albany for residents that doesn’t just focus on the recreational or environmental aspects of the trail, but provides the total package of benefits that a trail can provide to communities, including public health, economic and transportation benefits, and even community pride,” stated King. “We are excited to be able to provide the historic Hilton Barn with a new home next to the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail while enhancing the trail experience for residents.
One year ago, when the Conservancy began the search for the new home for the historic Hilton Barn, the outcome was very uncertain. In the quest to find land close to the ACHH Rail Trail it was discovered that Hilton family heirs still owned land across route 85A from the present location of the barn and next to the ACHH Rail Trail. A year of negotiations followed before a deal could finally be reached for the purchase of a portion of the former Hilton family property and at the eleventh hour, just days before the historic structure was to be razed, a deal was finalized.
Last week, MHLC purchased the 1.1 acre property for $27,500 with Jennifer Hilton, one of the remaining Hilton family heirs donating her proceeds from the sale of property to the Conservancy and a generous local donor providing the remaining funds. The Conservancy then immediately gifted the property to the Town of New Scotland.
States Jennifer Hilton, “Preservation of this barn is important to me in so many ways. Built by my Great Grandfather, Captain Joseph Hilton, it is the last vestige of the Hilton Farm. It is also an important landmark heralding New Scotland’s agricultural heritage. My hope is that this structure becomes a town focal point for many to enjoy now and in the future. Many thanks to the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy and all who have worked so hard to make this a reality.”
In the coming weeks the Town of New Scotland will have the historic Hilton Barn moved onto its new home alongside the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail. Wolf House and Building Movers have lifted the barn in preparation for the relocation which will take place during the last week in March. The New Scotland Town board is leading this complex undertaking and once the barn is out of harm’s way will work with the community to sort out the many potential uses for the structure.
“This is an exciting moment in the Town’s history,” said King. The Town board members, many of whom are newly elected, are taking on a major project that will create a new destination along the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail and save a wonderful piece of local history. I am thrilled the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy could play an important part in this community project by securing the new home for the Hilton Barn.”
Visit the Town of New Scotland’s Hilton Barn website for more information.