Historic Preservation is a link through which the memory of an enduring community is preserved and passed on to succeeding generations. It is generally difficult to remember the past without having a connection to the past. The U.S. Congress reaffirmed the reasons for enacting historic preservation programs with the following rational:
- The spirit and direction of the Nation are founded upon and reflected in its historic heritage.
- The historical and cultural foundations of the nation should be preserved as a living part of our community and development in order to give a sense of orientation to American people.
- Historic properties significant to the Nation’s heritage are being lost or substantially altered with increasing frequency.
- The preservation of this irreplaceable heritage is the public interest. Its vital legacy of cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational, economic, and energy benefits will be maintained and enriched for the future generations of Americans.
The Commission meets every third Thursday of the month, except for August and December. Meetings are held at the Historic Grooms Tavern at 7:00 pm and the public is welcome and invited to attend.
During the last decade Clifton Park has become synonymous with subdivisions and shopping centers. Most visitors to our town do not venture past the exit 9 area of the Northway and thus receive a distorted view of Clifton Park. Our town’s six historic hamlets still retain their nineteenth century ambiance. In fact the Erie Canal hamlet of Vischer ferry with its fine Greek revival architecture is on the National Register of Historic Places. Historic homes, churches, taverns and general stores dot our town landscape blending with more modern subdivisions and commercial establishments. Yes, there is history in Clifton Park!
Clifton Park has a very active preservation program to ensure that these historic areas and buildings do not disappear. It began in 1975 with the placement of the Vischer Ferry Historic District on the National register. The historic district also included acreage surrounding the remains of the Erie Canal east of the hamlet. In 1977 this six hundred acre area became the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve. Hiking trails and picnic areas extend throughout the Preserve. A new six acre parcel called Mohawk Landing, just eat of Riverview Orchards, has been developed as a public park with trails, picnic areas and small craft launching ramp for access to Mohawk River. Interpretive brochures and signs guide the public to both natural and historic sites.
The Town of Clifton Park’s Master Plan for 1989 acknowledged the importance of its historic resources. Historic buildings and areas were identified as being of special concern. The historic areas centered on the town’s original hamlets: Vischer Ferry; Rexford; Grooms Corners; Clifton Park Center; Elnora; Jonesville; and Clifton Park Village. A map in the master plan located these historic buildings and areas.
In the fall of 1992, a Historic Preservation was established and Commissioned in 1993. The Commission, which may be composed of fifteen individuals from the community, serves in an advisory capacity to the Town Board and the Planning Board. The Commission helps determine the historic areas and buildings in the Town, and protects them by advising on any building or remodeling projects that affect designated sites.
The model preservation ordinance provided by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation was adopted to meet our needs in setting forth criteria for the selection of historic structures and districts. The members of the commission include an architect; a historian, as advisory member; a licensed real estate broker; an attorney; a resident of a historic district; and others who have demonstrated an interest in historic preservation.