|Van Patten Mill, Duanesburg,
Schenectady Co., New York
* Owned and operated by Silas Van Patten
15OCT1840 - 17JUL1932
|Van Patten Mill, Duanesburg, Schenectady Co., NY
|* Photo: about 1870, prior to the Schenectady and Duanesburg Railroad coming to town.
The Deleware and Husdon RR line in Duanesburg, NY as seen in about 1916. To the left
foreground is the water tower for the steam RR engine and to the right of that is the new
Duanesburg RR Depot (Eastbound/Downhill) on the older RR line. The old Van Patten home
was then used as a RR depot for the newer (Westerly/Uphill) section of the RR as seen behind
the white building (the old Van Patten home).
James Duane built his first saw mill and grist mill along the Normanskill Creek in Duanesburgh,
New York where present Depot Road crosses this stream. He built a dam to capture the water
to turn the water wheel which powered a saw for cutting lumber. Additionally the water wheel
turned the grind stones which ground various grains into flour. By the time of the American
Revolution, this area of town was actually more populated than almost any other.
The Schenectady and Duanesburg Railroad Company came to town about 1874/5 and was
merged into the Delaware and Hudson (D&H RR) Company in 1903. The Delaware and
Hudson Railroad took over the Silas Van Patten Mill and his property and was virtually cut into
segments by the Eastbound RR (on the North or South) and the Westbound RR on the (South
or North) in 1908.
Prior to the railroad coming, Depot Road was once called (and or part of) Scotch Ridge Road.
The Van Patten family home (white house) was converted by the D&H Railroad into sections of
a depot and was leased to the freight - express and ticket agent dwelling in 1908.
The Van Patten Mill, named after the Silas Van Patten family which owned and operated it for
many years, fell into disrepair and was torn down in the mid 1960's. A few years later, the dam
washed out and the old mill pond disappeared, as well. To remember the importance of the
old mill and its role in the growth of Duanesburg, the nearby Town Park was named the Van
Patten Mill Park.
Photo date is unknown; between 1910 - 1916
The year of this photo is unknown, but Silas's sons, Howard and Fremont Van Patten
repaired the mill roof (* year - - mid 1930's ???). No professional roofers for them, it was a
'DIY' (Do It Yourself) job for the lads -- then in their 50's+/- years. Howard held the rope
attached to Fremont, as he rolled salvaged roofing to patch the roof, on the south-side. In
this photo, you can see the 'multi-colored' patches! Well, as viewable, the roof is perilously
steep in angle/pitch and Fremont literally lost his footing, commenced to slide DOWN, and
Howard literally saved his life by keeping Fremont from FALLING OFF THE MILL ROOF --
sudden death on the rocks below by the dam!
Source: Narrative from Charles Case Stoodley; 2018.
|Van Patten Mill and dam in total disrepair. YEAR ???
Bridge crossing the Normanskill into the Van Patten Mill property; built: 1886 ???
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