Saugerties celebrates its large collection of stone houses

A stone house on Nelson Hoff road. (Photos by Phyllis McCabe)

The Saugerties Historic Preservation Commission will host its most ambitious tour yet on May 19, incorporating bus travel and additional sites. After a six-year hiatus, two iterations of the stone house tour will depart from Saugerties High School at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets can only be purchased online.

The focus of this year’s tour will be Saugerties’ 68 stone houses, with a spotlight on the hamlet of Asbury. The commission hopes to designate Asbury a historic district within the next year. The oldest home featured, the First Brink House on King’s Highway, was built in 1701. 

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The theme was the same as for the commission’s initial tour in 2009. It will be more in-depth this time around. In 2010, the second tour celebrated Palatine immigrants who established themselves in West Camp in 1710. The third celebrated Saugerties’ bicentennial year, and the fourth the hamlet of Flatbush.

The four previous tours were self-guided, said preservation commission tour spearhead Susan Peretz. “On this one, the participants make the journey by bus, with guides who will point out some of the 68 stone houses that are located in Saugerties. They will stop the bus at three of those stone houses, where people can stretch their legs and tour the interiors.”

Complimentary light refreshments will be served, and there’ll be things that might have been served in those stone houses back then. “We’ll also be providing an information brochure which will give useful information about the architecture and history of those three houses, plus other additional architectural and historical facts,” added Peretz.

The commission and a special house-tour committee, including local history buffs Michael Sullivan Smith, Mark Smith, Lizbeth Shafer, Miles Putman and Lucette Runsdorf, have been organizing the event since October of last year.

“It’s a good way of seeing the historic houses in Saugerties. They’ll be able to view a good portion of the historic houses on the bus and then get a feel for the houses by going inside them,” said Puretz.”They’ll be able to be inside of an unusual bank house, built into a bank with different entry levels on the top and the bottom, a working farm and to get a feel of history — of their history because they are Saugertiesians. There are many tourists interested in seeing stone houses.”

Tickets can be purchased for $20 at www.housetour.brownpapertickets.com.

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