Zadock Pratt Museum - "History Feature" 


The Old Manse - Main Street, Prattsville
                                              

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The Reformed Dutch Church of Prattsville to embark on exterior renovation of the parsonage.

Rev.Smith announced in May 2002 that Benjamin Moore Paint Co has awarded the church a grant to paint the Old Manse
in historically correct colors. The Old Manse is of the design of A. J Downing who lived in the early 19th century. 
Using color schemes suggested by Mr. Downing's book , "The Architecture of Country Houses", 
a color scheme appropriate to the mid 1800's has been approved.
Work begins May with the painting to be completed by Labor Day 2002. Watch this space for pictures as the work progresses!

 
"Lutz Villa" in 1910, with Fred Lutz in the foreground


One of the unique old houses in Prattsville today is known  by the local people as the Sayers Lutz House.  Before the Lutz family owned it, it was called the Old Manse.

In 1845 the Protestant Episcopal congregation in Prattsville built Grace Church and, about the same time, the Manse for the minister, designed by A.J.Downing.   

The Old Manse went up on the south side of Main Street and east of the crowded business district.  From his new home, the Reverend Thomas Judd could admire the Gothic Revival style of Grace Church located across the road, just before the bridge over Huntersfield Creek.

If  Rev. Judd looked directly east, he could keep an eye on  the pupils at the new (1842) Academy with its two-story  wrap-around porches.   

Probably his best view was directly across the road  where sat (since 1828) the country mansion of  Colonel Zadock Pratt, town founder and warden (treasurer) of Grace  Church.  

The garden of Mrs. Pratt (Mary Watson) brightened the neighborhood.  She tended it herself.

Click to see a larger image
The Academy, next to the Lutz House


The Old Manse - 1845 - Main Street, Prattsville, after its 2002 restoration

Anyone who had watched  the development of the hamlet during the previous quarter century knew that Colonel Pratt was its moving force.   

In the first place, in 1824, at thirty-four years of age, he had picked this area of Greene Country (from several possibilities) to set up his own tanning business.  

On village land he bought, he built a straight road cutting off the big bend in the Schoharie Creek which the old road skirted. Along both sides  of this new road  there was room for the scores  of new buildings of every description, most of them stores and homes that he built for his employees.  Business flourished and the population grew.

Long before the arrival of Pratt, however, the population had been growing from the tiny settlement in the western reaches of the area during the American Revolution to several dozen families at the beginning of the 19th century.   

By 1804, the consistory of the Reformed Dutch Church put up a proper sanctuary opposite the west end of the big bend.  

Seeking to answer the spiritual needs of the influx of new arrivals in the late 1820�s and early 1830�s, the district of the Methodist Episcopal denomination provided a church building in 1835.  

Soon after, in 1845, they also built the new minister's residence, the manse.

Sayers Lutz House/Old Episcopal Manse ... 

...  from the 1982 NY State Parks & Preservation Building-Structure Inventory Survey of Prattsville:

"This house was originally built in the shape of a cross.  Top of the cross is front of the house.  Unique molding around house under cornice.  Beautiful interior door and window frames in two of the front rooms and hall.  Circular stairway in front hall.

One of the first residences in the mountain towns of Greene County to be built expressly for a manse.  This house is a fine example of Gingerbread Gothic.  

Built in the shape of a cross.  Very similar to designs by A.J.Downing & Davis in their publications of the mid 1800�s.  This dwelling has special architectural importance.  Zadock Pratt donated money towards the building of this house."

Colonel Pratt�s home was just about in the middle of everything and at just about the middle point between the two ends of his new road .  

Too, it was at the only real �corner� in the village.  Washington Street led over the mountain toward Albany.   His home commanded a view of all comings and goings.

In 2000, the Reformed Dutch Church of Prattsville acquired the Sayers Lutz House and converted it back into the minister's residence, a purpose for which it was built over 150 years ago.  

The first resident of the "new manse", the Rev. Dianna Smith, started as the pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church since 2001.  


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This history feature is written by Muriel Pons, Prattsville Town Historian and a past President of the Zadock Pratt Museum.  

Muriel Pons lives in Prattsville and is planning to do more research this year to fill in the history features of interest to Prattsville and the Northern Catskills.  You can reach her at:
MurielPons@hotmail.com

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Updated on:
02 February, 2008

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