HILLSDALE—At the January 20 meeting of the Hillsdale Town Board, town historian Peter Cipkowski reported that the current owner of a Route 23 tollhouse, a structure that dates from the 1790s, would like to donate the property to the town. Mr. Cipkowski said he was, “stunned to see so much original detail” preserved at the building.
The tollhouse was originally part of a turnpike that ran from Hartford, CT, to Sheffield, MA, and Hudson. A similar tollhouse—the Columbia Turnpike-West Tollhouse in Greenport—was built in 1800 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.
Several people in the audience, including Highway Superintendent Richard Briggs, said that they remembered people living in the tollhouse as recently as 20 years ago.
Mr. Cipkowski says that the board “will have to decide whether this is something [they] want to take on.” Part of that process will involve determining if the building is worth historic preservation. Mr. Cipkowski says that the process of evaluation will probably take anywhere from six months to three years.
If the building does get added to the National Register of Historic Places, the whole structure could be moved farther back from its vulnerable location near the side of the road. Buildings with this landmark designation must be used for a “municipal purpose.” Mr. Cipkowski said that the building “could even be used for income, potentially” by giving tours of the house or renting it out.
Mr. Cipkowski said that he had sought guidance about the potential donation from representatives of Historic Hillsdale, the Roeliff-Janssen Historical Society, the Austerlitz Historical Society, and the Greenport Historical Society.
Victoria Jensen, the current owner, now lives in Nova Scotia, although she still has family in Egremont.
In other business this week:
- Town Clerk Ruth Dodds will be leaving her position. The board recognized her service with roses and a certificate. The board later went into executive session to interview applicants for the position of interim town clerk
- The sidewalk project continues apace. Engineers have been hired, and there is a meeting with the state Department of Transportation set up for Monday in Poughkeepsie.