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Watervliet

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Shaker South Family Cow & Hay Barn, Watervliet Shaker Road, Colonie Township, Watervliet, Albany County, NY



B&W Photos

HB862202

HB862203

HB862204

HB862205

HB862206

HB862207


Data Pages


Drawings


Supplemental Material


Item Title


Location
Colonie Township, Watervliet, NY

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Created/Published
Documentation compiled after 1933.

Notes
Survey number HABS NY-3245
Building/structure dates: 1800 initial construction
Significance: The size and inventiveness of this structure indicates how far advanced the Shakers were in the field of architecture, and illustrates the Shaker belief in "the sacredness of labor." The following quotation is taken from Edward Deming Andrews', The People Called Shakers, pp. 114-5: "...it must not be forgotten that progress, and a way of life superior to that of the world, had, in the Shaker mind, a moral justification: 'WE have a right to improve the inventions of man, so far as is useful and necessary,' Meacham [and early Shaker leader] said, 'but not to vain glory, or anything superfluous...We are not called to labor to excel, or to be like the world: but to excel them in order, union, and peace, and in good works- works that are truly virtuous and useful to man, in this life." In the October, 1957 issue of Antiques (p. 336), D.M.C Hopping and Gerald P. Watland wrote of the North Family barn at Mt. Lebanon; the comments are general enough, however, to be of value in studying the Watervliet South Family barn. "The dominant building in each community was the barn, whether of stone or wood. Since the Shaker economy was largely agricultural, the barns were inevitably huge. That of the North Family at Mount Lebanon...was 296 feet long, fifty feet wide, and five stories high. As in several other communities, it was built into the hillside, in order to provide access for unloading at all levels. The upper floors were used for storage of hay and grain. Below, on the main grade level, the cows were kept. At one end was a tremendous manure pit, filled by a system of buckets run around on a semicircular catwalk at the main level where the cows were, and emptied at the level below. In the instances where the barn was on level ground, this same accessibility of all floors was achieved by building a series of ramps. In conjunction with the great barns, wooden wings were constructed to house wagons and carts. A place for everything and everything in its place was a part of the Shaker creed."

Collection
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)

Contents
Photograph caption(s): 
1. Historic American Buildings Survey, N.E. Baldwin, Photographer, November 1939, FROM NORTHWEST, Gift of New York State Department of Education.
2. Historic American Buildings Survey, N.E. Baldwin, Photographer, November 1939, FROM NORTHEAST, Gift of New York State Department of Education.
3. Historic American Buildings Survey, N.E. Baldwin, Photographer, November 1939, WEST SIDE (WITH STORAGE BARN, BUILDING #13 TO LEFT), Gift of New York State Department of Education. 4, Historic American Buildings Survey, N.E. Baldwin, Photographer, July 1940, REAR (SOUTH), Gift of New York State Department of Education.
5. Historic American Buildings Survey, N.E. Baldwin, Photographer, July 1940, FROM EAST OF COW SHEDS AND STORAGE WING, Gift of New York State Department of Education.
6. Historic American Buildings Survey, N.E. Baldwin, Photographer, November 1939, DOOR HINGE, Gift of New York State Department of Education.


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