One of our exceptional state historic sites provided the setting for the conclusion of a productive two-day board retreat in Cooperstown, NY during which the trustees and staff of Parks & Trails New York shared recent successes and strategized for the future. On the afternoon of Saturday, May 16, the retreat participants traveled the eastern shoreline of Otsego Lake, ascending the drive through Glimmerglass State Park to Hyde Hall State Historic Site. This remarkable 19th century agricultural estate has undergone vast improvements and restoration over the years serving as a showpiece for what public and private partnerships can yield.
As the guests lunched upon the porch with a tree-framed view of the lake to the south and Cooperstown in the distance, Hyde Hall Executive Director Jonathan Maney greeted the group with a welcoming introduction and brief history of the estate before everyone headed inside for an in-depth tour of the numerous rooms and hallways decorated in the neo-classical style.
According to the estate’s origin on the Hyde Hall website, “Hyde Hall was conceived and constructed by George Clarke (1768-1835), an Englishman whose great grandfather and namesake was prominent in the colonial government of New York.” It took nearly 17 years to level the site upon the hillside, commission the architectural plans, and finally complete the mansion complex. Following the Clark family’s departure from Hyde Hall, New York State acquired ownership of the dormant estate. The Friends of Hyde Hall was formed in 1964 to rehabilitate and maintain the site in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
Hyde Hall was a fitting location for the culmination of two days of discussions about outdoor spaces and historic sites throughout the state. Visits such as this help cement the relationships of friends organizations with Parks & Trails New York. These experiences are essential for an organization whose goals include developing and guiding the work of friends groups for parks and historic sites in New York State. For more about Hyde Hall, visit: http://hydehall.org/about/history/