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Historical Highlights

Fox Mansion named to
state, national historical registers

Fox Mansion, Sand Lake NY

The Fox Mansion, previously accepted by the New York State Register of Historic Places, was accepted by the National Register of Historical Places and listed April 25, 2001. Peter Shaver of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation at Pebbles Island compiled the nomination.

The Fox house in Sand Lake, built in 1840 for the Albert R. Fox family, is one of the finest Greek Revival style residences in Rensselaer County. The two-story frame house has all the hallmarks of the Greek Revival style, including two-story pilasters framing all five bays on the facade and a stylish one-story porch with ionic columns supporting a heavy entablature that extends across the front onto symmetrical one-story flanking wings.

 
fountain at Fox Mansion, Sand Lake NY

The surrounding grounds are excellent condition and contain a large fountain on the south side. It is remembered that the Sand Lake Baptist Church, of which Mr. Fox was a member, held their baptisms at the fountain in the 1800s.

The Fox house has been meticulously maintained and is the first property in the Town of Sand Lake to be accepted to the Register.

But who was Albert R. Fox? A short review of the glass blowing activity at Glass Lake shed a little light on our subject.

 

Albert R. Fox was born February 18, 1810 in Nassau, son of Isaac B, Fox and brother of Samuel H. Fox. Little is known of his early education, but he did graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Class of 1830.

Isaac Fox formed a partnership with Nathan Crandall and A.V.P. Gregory in 1818 to purchase the Rensselaer Glass Factory from the stockholders of that company. The company failed in 1824. In 1825, the factory was sold to Richard Knowlson, who leased it under various names to short-lived companies.

Albert and his brother Samuel Fox purchased the failed Glass Factory on Glass Lake in 1838 and Fox ran it successfully. By 1845 the glass factory expanded and purchased a glass factory in Durham, New York. It was the largest manufacturer of window glass in New York State.

On December 25, 1852, a great fire destroyed the factory buildings on Glass Lake. The Glass Lake factory was nev1958 Record newspaper ad for The Doll Museumer rebuilt. Albert moved all the remaining tools, horses, fire engine and wagons to the Berkshire Glass Factory where he became superintendent.

In addition to his involvement in glass manufacturing, Albert R. Fox was New York State Senator 1848-1849.

Albert R. Fox died May 30, 1892.

Many local residents will remember when the Fox house was known as the Doll Museum. At that time Lillian Eauclaire Sproule was the curator of Yesteryears Antique Doll Museum. The Museum gained international fame for its fine collection. -- from the Fall 2001 issue of Historical Highlights


Here are some post cards from Yesteryears Antique Doll Museum. Click on any of them to see a larger version.

country store scene from Doll Museum

parlor scene at Doll Museum African-American dolls at Doll Museum doll and trunk scene from Doll Museum

 

     

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Created 2/3/2002; Revised September 4, 2016 -- asm © 2018 Sand Lake Historical Society; all rights reserved.