|That's me on the right along with Bob Mullens, Sue Virgilio and Kathleen Bragle at the vault site back in January. |
Thank you Times Union for the photo. Go to their web page for some great articles... Timesunion.com
before I was town historian. It is tucked away off of New Scotland Road, behind the old Mangia property, and, when I first encountered it, a wreck, over grown and vandalized. I was sad to find out the town owned it. In fits and starts they would go in and hack back the weeds. But they always grew back.
Surely you are aware of the Slingerland family? We've got a hamlet named after them and individuals named Slingerland still live here. I know lots of stories about them. Like the fact that John I Slingerland was a raging abolitionist even tho (or maybe because) his family had owned slaves. Like the fact that the first Slingerland in our area, Tenuis, in the late 1600s got in trouble with both the Mohawk and the Mohican Indian tribes when he tried to buy land here. Or how about William H who got the Suburban Water company going? Or his daughter Grace who was essential to running the company after he died? Or how about Tunis who fought in the American Revolution while his four sons remained loyal to the British? I could go on and on about Slingerland family connections in Bethlehem.
So, the vault has been on my radar. Then, quite a few things lined up to make this the opportune time to focus on the vault and get it property restored. The Mangia property had sold, development proposals were being floated and conversations about the historic character of the neighborhood were happening. I met Sue Virgilio, a direct descendant of John I Slingerland who is buried in the vault, who was thrilled to discover the vault, but not so thrilled about the condition. I knew we had a new town administration starting in January 2018.
Now was the time to make a fresh start and focus on the future of the vault. I helped organize the Friends of the Slingerland Family Burial Vault and we are committed to preserving the vault, making it accessible once again to the public, and keeping the maintenance ongoing into the future.
And we need your help. It is hard to ask people for money, but I am going to do it right now!
We need your money! Any amount big or small is greatly appreciated.
Please give to help restore this neglected part of Bethlehem history - the Slingerland Family Burial Vault. If we all come together as a community, we can make this gem shine.
Pop over to the website for pictures, progress reports, budgets and the all important DONATE button.
We've got a GoFundMe too!
Thank you so very much!