The process to transform the Colden ruins site from an overgrow patch of trees and shrubs to a parkland has begun, with the Montgomery Town Board approving an archaeological and interpretive study of the site for just under $21,000.
The town board approved the study at its Sept. 1 meeting, with a 3-0 vote. Absent were Councilwoman Sherry Melick and Town Supervisor Brian Maher, who was with his wife Becky awaiting the birth of their third child. (Benjamin William Maher arrived Sept. 2 at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Warwick).
The study will be conducted by Historical Perspectives, Inc. (HPI) a cultural resources consulting form based in Westport, CT. The Firm’s resume includes a wide range of archeological-related projects in the Hudson Valley, including sites for Medline and a Searsville Road subdivision in the Town of Montgomery, a Town of Wallkill Industrial Park and Gardnertown Commons in the Town of Newburgh. Other clients have included the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Metro North Railroad and a proposed National Coast Guard Museum in New London, CT.
According to its proposal, HPI will begin the documentary data collection and consultation process immediately, with the site survey and photographic record of the site to take place in the fall of 2022 to avoid full leaf cover.
HPI will prepare a written technical report that will include the compilation of the documentary data, the results of the site survey and archaeological excavation and any recommendations or conclusions for the site master plan. Findings will be presented in a public program on a yet-to-be-determined date.
In August, the town board discussed a four-phased plan to create a park at the historic site, located at the intersection of Route 17K and Stone Castle Road. The estimated cost would be $715,000.
The site is listed on state and national historic registers and is considered significant in local and state history. It contains the stone foundation and several remaining walls from the Colden Mansion, built around 1767 for the family of Cadwallader Colden Jr. It remained in the Colden family until the mid 19th century. The house was abandoned in the 1930s following a probate lawsuit and fell into disrepair. Some of its original paneling and furnishings are preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.