Friday, August 21, 2015

A Major Restoration Coming to the Major General's Home

by Rebecca Kurtz

Have you ever wandered through downtown Albany and noticed a brick mansion on a hill? Did you wonder about who might have lived in it? When was it built? What historical figures visited? Or where that building fits in history?

Well, I can tell you! That mansion was the home of Philip Schuyler (1733-1804), a too often forgotten founding father of our country who, during the Revolution and early United States of America, served in a number of important political and military positions. Between 1761 and 1765 he and his wife, Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler, built the mansion that would serve as a home to the couple and their eight children until Catherine’s death in 1803 and  Philip’s death in 1804. During the Schuylers’ occupancy, the mansion had its fair share of famous visitors, including George and Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and, interestingly enough, the commander of the British forces at the Battles of Saratoga, General John Burgoyne!

Since 1917, Schuyler Mansion has been a State Historic Site, providing visitors from all over the country and the world with information about the Schuyler family and the enslaved people who made up the household. Now, in 2015, the mansion is only two years away from celebrating its 100th anniversary as a state site. Major plans for commemorating the centennial with an ambitious restoration project are already underway.  Considering that the mansion is over 250 years old, it is in extraordinarily good shape; however, once completed, the different projects will better reflect the way the house would have appeared during the Schuyler family’s residency in the 1790’s

The restoration will include the reapplication of The Ruins of Rome, a hand painted wallpaper which once hung in the mansion’s main hallways, the recreation of the papier-mache ceiling that existed in the family’s most formal parlor, the reupholstering of furniture that belonged to the Schuylers, with reproductions of their original fabric, and the continued reproduction of flocked wallpapers and Brussels carpeting that once adorned the mansion.

Through this new blog, we plan to keep you updated on the ongoing process of this restoration- so don’t forget to check back every so often as we undertake this project one room, ceiling, wall, and chair at a time! Meanwhile, the mansion is open for tours Wednesdays through Sundays from 11am to 5pm. You can also check us out at, and


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