historic preservation

Thoroughbred Racing at Saratoga


One of the best places to visit in New York State during the summer is the Saratoga Race Course. It is a time honored tradition for many and recently for me through photography and the not-for-profit organization, the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm. FSSF was established to preserve the thoroughbred racing legacy of the Sanford family, whose local Amsterdam farm Hurricana, bred, trained and raced thoroughbred horses for competition at Saratoga. Although most of the original farm is now commercial space, the group would like to save the remaining buildings to create a park where tourists could stop and learn about our rich history in thoroughbred racing.

I first photographed the Saratoga Race Course in the ’80s and several times last season, including the newly established Sanford Exhibit at the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Breakfast at the track is a great way to see the thoroughbreds warm up without the crowds and the cost of admission. Trackside parking for breakfast opens at 6:45am and although you pay the parking fee ($12 weekdays, $15 weekends), the money is refunded if you exit the parking area by 10am.

The following photos were taken Saturday, July 25, 2015, at the 101st running of the Sanford Stakes. The trophy was presented by Landine (Sanford) Manigault and her son Pierre to horse #11 Uncle Vinny, trainer T. Pletcher, jockey J. Velasquez .

The #4 horse, Magna Light actually came in 1st place was was knocked down to 3rd after a formal complaint and controversial technical disqualification. Sanford descendant Landine Manigault felt badly for the owners and trainers of the disqualified Magna Light and asked me to take a photo with one of Magna Light’s owners to signify their win anyway.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Entertainment, Friends of Sanford Stud Farm, historic preservation, History, Outdoors | Tags: , , , ,

FSSF Open House 2015


Friends of Sanford Stud Farm is a not for profit organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Sanford Thoroughbred Training Farm in the Town of Amsterdam, New York. Each year the organization sponsors several events to help educate local residents about the rich history of thoroughbred racing right here in our own backyard.

You can read more about our local legacy on the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm website as well as previous articles on the Grove Street Photographer.

The Sanford Legacy  Sanford Heirs Visit Hurricana – Sanford Stakes Centennial

The 2015 Friends of Sanford Stud Farm Open House was especially nice this year because of the seven Percheron horses that occupied the stables, enabling local residents to interact with these beautiful animals up close and personal. Many thanks to the members of the New York Percheron Association for bringing their horses to the Sanford Stables for the Friends event. Dozens of vendors, raffles, a car show and a bouncy house made this a fun occasion for all ages.

FSSF is also sponsoring a series of outdoor movies at their Tessiero Road and Rt 30 location starting with Field of Dreams tonight at 8:30PM.

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Categories: Entertainment, Friends of Sanford Stud Farm, historic preservation, History, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , ,

Amsterdam’s Walter Elwood Museum


The Rao Center at 100 Church Street in Amsterdam, New York is home to the Walter Elwood Museum. This eclectic collection is part of Amsterdam’s history. Walter Elwood was an educator in the Amsterdam school district in the early 1900s. He traveled worldwide and brought back interesting artifacts to teach his students about world and natural history. This extensive collection was donated to the school district and an organization was formed to help care for and display this collection.

Ann Peconie is the Executive Director of the Walter Elwood Museum of the Mohawk Valley. She and the museum board have done an excellent job displaying this collection for public view. Robert Going, Esq and Vice President of the Walter Elwood Museum of the Mohawk Valley was kind enough to give me a tour of the museum on Saturday during the museum sponsored Amsterdam Farmers’ Market.

For more information about the collection as well as museum hours, please click on the above link.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Art, historic preservation, History | Tags: ,

Amsterdam’s Failed World Trade Center Memorial


City officials never told new Riverlink Park concessionaire it was there, in fact they don’t want anyone to know about a piece of the fallen World Trade Center that sits hidden near the fence at Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park.  It was supposed to serve as a memorial to those who died in the tragic terrorist attack on American soil savagely killing over 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001.

Robert von Hasseln, Amsterdam’s Administrator of Community and Economic Development who also holds the position of City Historian, wanted to make sure that Amsterdamians never forget that day when the hijackers took over American Airline flight 11 that changed course in the air over Amsterdam, New York, eventually crashing into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. Von Hasseln arranged to have a surviving column of the World Trade Center’s north tower transported to the City of Amsterdam to be memorialized in a fitting presentation at Riverlink Park.

The 11,000 pound, 18 foot column was unceremoniously dumped on the East end of Riverlink Park four years ago. There was supposed to be a monument built around the erect column with a public dedication ceremony in Spring of 2012. On December 15, 2011, Amsterdam’s Mayor Thane described the proposed memorial to Recorder reporter Jarrett Carroll;

The cement column will be planted upright into the ground once the ground is workable again. We will be mounting it as an obelisk on the section of land between the cafe and the blacktop, There will be a circular mediation area surrounding it with trees, explanatory signage and benches. It will be a strong symbol that will serve as both a visual and abstract representation.

The memorial was never built, the public dedication ceremony never happened. The World Trade Center artifact remains where it was dumped four years ago, hidden behind Riverlink Park’s event tent.

This serves as another failed promise of the Thane administration, a disgrace to those who died and a slap in the face to those Firefighters, Police Officers, Paramedics and volunteers who worked so hard to rescue victims of that attack. It is also an insult to my fellow Veterans who joined the service after 9/11, sacrificing their lives and limbs to fight the war on terror.

It is disingenuous of Mayor Ann Thane to say this project was not forgotten and always on the priority list. That is all just political spin. The truth is, the project was tossed around like a hot potato with nobody wanting to take ownership and get it done. It went from von Hasseln to the Veterans Commission, to Joe Isabel, back to von Hasseln and was finally dumped on the Recreation Director in December of 2014. There are no set plans, designs or even a location to erect the memorial. I wrote three blog articles about this situation on the Grove Street Photographer over the past four years, the last one picked up by WCSS radio and then it went viral. I am very pleased to see the WTC memorial finally getting the attention it deserves. There is something wrong with local government when you have to shame politicians into doing their jobs. Mayor Ann Thane should acknowledge responsibility for this failure and apologize sincerely to the citizens of Amsterdam and the relatives of those who died in the WTC bombing on 9/11.

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Categories: Amsterdam, historic amsterdam league, historic preservation, History, Politics | Tags: , , , , , ,

The Sanford Legacy


The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York previewed their latest exhibit, the Sanford Legacy, to the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm, select guests and the press on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. The exhibit, researched and designed by museum curator Victoria Tokarowski of Fultonville, showcases the significant contribution of Amsterdam’s Sanford family to the sport of thoroughbred racing. The exhibit opens to the public March 25, 2015 and runs through 2016. Tuesday’s event was attended by Sanford family descendent Pierre Manigault from Charleston, South Carolina, Son of Sanford jockey Louis Hildebrandt, Sam Hildebrandt, Montgomery County Legislator Barbara Wheeler, Town of Amsterdam Supervisor Tom DiMezza, Friends of Sanford Stud Farm President Scott Friers and several members of FSSF as well as the media. For more information just click on this link: National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame _SKR7989_SKR7991_SKR7998_SKR7994_SKR7999_SKR8002_SKR8008_SKR8012_SKR8019_SKR8020_SKR8021_SKR8026_SKR8028a_SKR8029_SKR8030_SKR8031_SKR8033_SKR8034_SKR8035_SKR8037_SKR8036_SKR8038_SKR8040

Categories: Amsterdam, historic preservation, History, Sanford Stud Farm | Tags: , , , , ,

Sanford Heirs Visit Hurricana


Friends of Sanford Stud Farm is a charitable organization dedicated to preserving the history of Stephen and son John Sanford’s thoroughbred horse farm in the Town of Amsterdam. The original training track and some of the barns were demolished to build a mall but a few of the structures still remain visible from route 30.  Friends of Sanford Stud Farm has accomplished a great deal in their goal of creating an education heritage center, preserving and restoring the remaining barns owned by the Town.  The other barn structures off route 30 that were part of Hurricana are privately owned and the land is for sale. With the help of the organization and Town of Amsterdam the 1880 Hurricana Stock Farm is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Stephen Sanford (1826-1913) born in Mayfield, NY,  built the Hurricana Farm to raise and train thoroughbred racehorses to compete at Saratoga Racecourse in 1880. Stephen’s son John Sanford II (1851-1939) born in Amsterdam, inherited Hurricana and became very successful in the racing industry. John changed the Hurricana Farm name to Sanford Stud Farm. John’s daughter Gertrude Sanford Legendre (1902-2000) born in Aiken, South Carolina, was a very colorful figure. An American socialite, Gertrude enjoyed big game hunting and exploring for the American Museum of Natural History. During WWII she worked for the Office of Strategic Services and became the first woman captured by the Germans and was held for 6 months until she escaped to Switzerland. In 1930 Gertrude and Sidney Legendre bought one of the oldest buildings in South Carolina, the Medway Plantation (c1686).  Gertrude was the inspiration for the 1929 play “Holiday” written by Philip Barry and later made into a movie starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Gertrude Sanford and Sidney Legendre had two daughters, Bokara and Landine. Stories and photos of Gertrude and her daughters appear in the New York Social Diary.

Landine Legendre married Peter Manigault (1927-2004) of Charleston South Carolina, owner of the Evening Post Publishing Company. Landine and Peter Manigault had a son Pierre Manigault who is now the Chairman at Evening Post Industries, Garden and Gun Magazine and the American College of Building Arts. Pierre Manigault and Lee Van Allen,  had two daughters India and Gertrude (Gigi) Manigault, who lives with their mother in the Miles Brewton House in Charleston, South Carolina .

The organization could not have accomplished so much without funding from private donations. The largest benefactor of Friends of Sanford Stud Farm is the Manigault family.  On Sunday July 20, 2014, Landine Manigault, Pierre Manigault, Gigi Manigault and family friend Clara Saad visited the Sanford Stud Farm. Pierre expressed an interest in starting a summer program at the Sanford Stud Farm for students from the American College of Building Arts in Charleston, of which he is Chairman and one of the founders. The girls just wanted to have fun.

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Tom Foster, Pierre Manigault, Scott Friers, Linda Gates

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Louis "Sam" Hildebrandt, Jr.

Louis “Sam” Hildebrandt, Jr.

 

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Gigi Manigault and Clara Saad

Gigi Manigault and Clara Saad

 

This is what happens when you let preteens take photos with your camera!

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Categories: Amsterdam, historic preservation, Sanford Stud Farm | Tags: , , , , ,

Horse Tales and Cocktails 2013


The Friends of Sanford Stud Farm benefit Horse Tales and Cocktails was held in the Broodmare barn on Rt30 in the Town of Amsterdam New York, Friday evening June 14, 2013. Each year the event gets bigger and better. A buffet dinner was served with cocktails available. There was a silent auction and raffle with a variety of gifts. This year Friends of Sanford Stud Farm celebrated the Stud Farm’s Broodmare Barn and stables listing on the NYS and National Historic Registries. Proclamations were read and presented to the group by NYS Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk. Guest speakers included Michael Veitch, Alan Carter and Town of Amsterdam Supervisor Tom DiMezza. Friends founder Sam Hildebrandt spoke about historic site recognition and gave closing remarks. The event was well attended.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Entertainment, historic preservation, Sanford Stud Farm | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Kentucky Derby Party


The Annual Kentucky Derby Party sponsored by Friends of Sanford Stud Farm, was held in Amsterdam, New York on Saturday, May 4, 2013.  The free event started with a tour of the former Sanford Stud Farm Broodmare Barn, where visitors viewed Kentucky Derby Memorabilia from Amsterdam’s 2 Derby Winners-1916(George Smith) & 1929(Clyde Van Dusen).

The event continued at the Recovery Room Sports Grill where attendees were given a chance to pick the Kentucky Derby winner before the live viewing on the large screen televisions. There was also a hat contest where prices were awarded for the most original and prettiest hats. Fifteen percent of the attendees food and beverage bill went to the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm  preservation efforts.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, historic preservation, Sanford Stud Farm | Tags: , ,

And They’re Off…


Friends of  Sanford Stud Farm started the 2013 season on February 26, with their annual meeting held in the Sanford Room of the Raindancer Restaurant in Perth, NY. The Friends of Sanford Stud Farm is a not-for-profit organization in unison with the Town of Amsterdam formed to help oversee the restoration and preservation of the former Sanford Stud Farm as a heritage center because of its historical, architectural, and cultural significance.

Last night that mission took a giant step forward as Dan McEneny, representative from NYS Parks and Recreation National Register Unit, announced the Sanford Stud Farm will be formally listed on the NYS Historic Places registry next month. The Sanford Stud Farm will then be nominated for the National Historic Places registry so the history will not be forgotten.

Master of Ceremonies last night was Tom Foster standing in for Board President Scott Friers who was home with the flu. Past FSSF President L.F.”Sam” Hildebrandt gave the keynote speech which included funding and restoration initiatives. Jim & Janice Kelly, Sheri Brown and Ron & Audie DeCaprio were presented with the 2012 Raymond Pischel Volunteer of the Year Award for exemplary contribution and efforts on behalf of the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm.

We also heard from Cecilia Tkaczyk, newly elected State Senator for the 46th District, who pledged her support for the cause.

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Categories: Amsterdam, historic preservation, History, Politics, Sanford Stud Farm | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sanford Stud Farm Open House


It wasn’t the kind of day they had hoped for, but the Friends of the Sanford Stud Farm still entertained a good number of people today during their open house just off route 30, next to Walgreens in the Town of Amsterdam. The rain kept some people away and according to volunteer coordinator Scott Friers, only five cars showed up from the scheduled New Wave Cruiser’s Car Club because of the weather. By the time I arrived at 2:00pm, there were only two cars left; but the show must go on and inside the barn there were an array of vendors and prizes to be raffled off.  Montgomery County Board of Elections had a booth encouraging voter registration.  I even signed on to be an election inspector.  Representatives from Historic Amsterdam League were there raising money for the organizations historic marker program. Bob Cudmore was there selling his books with the profits going to charities. There was food and a kettle corn vendor.  There was a bouncy house for the kids and horses in the barns once again. It was a nice diversion even for a rainy day, all for a worthy cause.

Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Entertainment, historic preservation, History, Pets, Sanford Stud Farm | Tags: , , , , , ,

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