Power Authority "Returns" Historic Lansing Manor

Steve Ramsey

June 8, 2002


NORTH BLENHEIM—A thoroughly restored and renovated Lansing Manor House was symbolically returned to the public Saturday by Eugene W. Zeltmann, president and chief executive officer of the New York Power Authority, during ceremonies here at the historic site.

“When I first saw this house a couple of years ago, I thought, ‘What a remarkable place,’” said Zeltmann. “But the signs of wear and tear had me worried. So, I made it a personal priority to get it fixed up, while keeping all the historical flavor and authenticity. That’s exactly what this renovation—carried out with Governor Pataki’s strong interest and encouragement—has accomplished.”

The manor house has been closed since the fall of 2000 for the $700,000 renovation, its second since 1971 when the Power Authority acquired the house and the surrounding dairy farm as part of its development of the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project.

“Lansing Manor is an important part of Schoharie County’s history and a link to our founders and New York’s rural roots,” said Senator James L. Seward. “The second renovation celebrated today is an important step forward in preserving our past and keeping history alive for future generations. I applaud the Power Authority for its work and effort in maintaining the historical and structural integrity of Lansing Manor.”

Assemblyman John J. Faso, said, “Through this initiative and many other supportive works, the New York Power Authority continues to demonstrate its commitment to the people of this state. Thank you for helping preserve this piece of our rich, shared history as a treasure for all to enjoy.”

“I’m happy to be here representing the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors,” said Richard Hanson, the board’s chairman. “Lansing Manor is one of our real cultural gems. I am delighted with the improvements the Power Authority has made to this great building and equally delighted to be able to say ‘thank you’.”

Michael Breen, president of the Schoharie County Historical Society, said “This is a great day for all of us engaged in historic preservation in Schoharie County. The Power Authority and Gene Zeltmann have assured the physical integrity and the historical accuracy of the Manor House for generations to come.”

Built in 1819, Lansing Manor was restored by the Power Authority to reflect the lifestyles of the people who lived in the house during its first 50 years. It was first opened to the public in 1977.  Now the manor house has undergone a second restoration to improve its historic accuracy and add climate controls and better weather proofing to insure the building maintains its structural and historical integrity.

“We made every effort, in all that we did, to use materials and skills that were available when the house was built and to blend the new with the old,” said Zeltmann. “Fortunately, we were able to draw on a group of skilled tradesmen and artisans—many from Central New York.”

Together with the “newest” building on the site, an 1881 dairy barn, and an ice house, smoke house, tenant house and other structures, Lansing Manor creates a world in which time has stood still, evoking New York State’s simpler, agrarian past.  The dairy barn serves as the Power Authority’s visitors center for the Blenheim-Gilboa project.

The house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is operated as a museum by the Power Authority in conjunction with the Schoharie County Historical Society.  Knowledgeable guides conduct tours.

The house was constructed by John Ten Eyck Lansing, a member of the Anglo/Dutch aristocracy that played a prominent role in the development of New York.  He served as a military aide during the Revolutionary War, delegate to the Constitutional Convention, chief justice of the State Supreme Court, and chancellor of New York State. He built the house for his daughter, Frances, and her husband, Jacob Livingston Sutherland, who became a State Supreme Court justice and one of the fathers of the state Constitution.

Lansing Manor and the adjacent Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project visitors center are both admission free.  The visitors center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Christmas, New Years Day and Thanksgiving.

Lansing Manor is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except Tuesday, from Memorial Day through Columbus Day, and by appointment from Columbus Day until Oct. 31.  For more information, call 1-800-724-0309.

The complex is located on New York Route 30, 17 miles south of Middleburgh.