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Historical Highlights

Historical Markers in the Town of Sand Lake

INDEX: Trinity Lutheran | Bernhard Uhlein | Sand Lake Union Cemetery | Burden Lake | Glass Lake | Sand Lake Baptist Church
Faith Mills | Log Church Site | Cotton House | District 1 School House | Methodist Farm | Fox Mansion | Old Town Garage | Interactive Map

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See what we've done to preserve and
restore some of the older markers!

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Until a few years ago, Sand Lake had but one historical marker in the town.

Trinity Lutheran Church

Organized 1776
Present House of Worship
Erected in 1816

That "lone marker" is the one in front of the former Trinity Lutheran Church (currently West Sand Lake Community Churchopens in a new window) and makes reference to the wooden structure that was erected in 1816. The church's history is interesting. A group of Lutheran settlers formed a church in this area in 1776. Their church was log construction, built in Rensselaerwyck about one mile southwest of West Sand Lake on the present Thomas I. Cipperley property. Title to the land was purchased from Stephen van Rensselaer in 1801. Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church opened in 1816 at the West Sand Lake site. Its history meshes with the Second Evangelical Lutheran Church.

In 1838, parishioners left the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church over the issues of antislavery and temperance and formed the Second Evangelical Lutheran Church. This church was a station on the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves. Rev. Nickolas Van Alstyne, with the secret name "Paul," gave messages in code during Sunday sermons for abolitionists' meetings and the movement of slaves to freedom. Zion's Lutheran then became the First Evangelical Lutheran Church.

In 1926, the congregations of the First and Second Evangelical Lutheran churches reunited and became Trinity Lutheran Church. Services were held in the original 1816 Zion Evangelical, or First Evangelical Lutheran Church. The building was struck by lightning and burned on August 14, 1944. Between 1944 and 1954, services were held in the Second Evangelical Lutheran Church building while the present brick building was being completed. The site of the Second Lutheran Church is the present Sand Lake Dry Cleaning and Laundromat. (Location: West Sand Lake, Rt. 150.)

Historical marker for Trinity Lutheran Church in West Sand Lake.
Marker erected by the State Education Department, 1938.

In the late 1990s, Town Historian Judy Rowe began an emphasis on getting deserving sites identified with historical markers.

Bernhard Uhlein

Revolutionary War Soldier
In 1793 purchased 325 acres
and settled his farm. Area
was known as "Ulinesville."
1838, became West Sand Lake

The first marker of this initiative was donated by the Uline Family Association in memory of Bernhard Uhlein, who served in the Revolutionary War. He was a Palatine German who arrived in Philadelphia as an indentured worker. He made his way to Rensselaerwyck's East Manor and received a 325-acre grant of land from the Patroon VanRensselaer. His farm became known as Ulinesville and in 1838 it was named West Sand Lake. (Location: West Sand Lake, Rt.150 South at Shaver Road.)

Historical marker for Bernhard Uhlein in West Sand Lake.
Marker sponsored by the Uline family.

Sand Lake Union

Cemetery formed 1841 from
Rensselaer Glass Factory
and Woodbine cemeteries
Dr. Smith Boughton's grave
"Big Thunder" Anti-Rent War

The Sand Lake Union Cemetery Association purchased a sign to mark the formation of the Cemetery in 1841 from the Rensselaer Glass Factory and Woodbine cemeteries. The earliest marked gravestone is 1807. In addition to many Revolutionary and Civil War gravesites, James Averill's horse Moscow is buried on the Averill plot. The Averill family had Moscow's grave marked a few years ago. Also there is the grave of Dr. Smith Boughton, known as "Big Thunder" during the Anti-Rent War period. Boughton's grave is directly opposite that of Willard Griggs, to this day the only Rensselaer County Sheriff's Deputy to die in the line of duty. (Location: Sand Lake, Routes 43 and 66.)

See also Amazing Graves for more information about Sand Lake Union Cemetery.

Historical marker for Sand Lake Union Cemetery in Sand Lake.
Marker sponsored by the Sand Lake Union Cemetery Association.

Burden Lake

Enlarged by Wynantskill Imp.
Assn. in 1866. The lake water
turned the Burden water wheel
which helped power
the Industrial Revolution

The Burden Lake Associationopens in a new window sponsored a sign noting that the three Burden Lakes were formed by the Wynantskill Improvement Association. Water from Wynantskill Creek flows from its headwaters at Glass Lake. Over the years, the Wynantskill was used for water power by the many mills along its banks in the town of Sand Lake, Albia and Troy until it reached its terminus in South Troy, where it powered the second largest water wheel in the world at the Burden Iron Works. (Location: the "triangle" at Sheer, Burden Lake and First Dyke Roads.) See also Burden Lake and Sand Lake -- Mill Town.

The original marker disappeared in 2005 but was replaced in summer 2007. Sometime in 2020, the original resurfaced, and the Association offered it to Kay’s Pizza, at whose parking lot it now resides! (The replacement remains as noted above.)

Historical marker for Burden Lake in Sand Lake.
Marker sponsored by the Burden Lake Association, 2003.

Glass Lake

Rensselaer Glassworks
Glass House Village
Headwaters of
the Wynantskill

Jeremiah Van Rensselaer founded the Rensselaer Glass Factory in 1804. The village on this site consisted of 34 workers' homes, a store, pottery, ashery, school, doctor's office, wood cutters' cabins, a home for the factory superintendent, a home for the superintendent in charge of glass making, horse barns, warehouses, cylinder packing house and boarding houses. The land consisted of a wood lease from Patroon Van Rensselaer of 5000 acres and 346 acres around the lake. Glass Lake is also the headwaters of the Wynantskill Creek and makes its journey as described for the Burden Lake marker above. (Location: Glass Lake, Routes 43 and 66 at Glass Lake Rd.)

Historical marker for Glass Lake / Glass House.
Marker sponsored by the Sand Lake Historical Society.

Sand Lake Baptist Church

Sand Lake Baptist Church
Built 1805
First union meeting house
est. for Protestant worship
The Town's oldest public building
Part of the Underground R.R.

The building was erected initially as a meetinghouse for Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians. The Methodists sold their meetinghouse rights to the Presbyterians in 1831 and built their church at Glass Lake. In 1835, the Presbyterians sold their portion of the church to the Baptists and erected a church at the corner of Routes 43 and 66 in Sand Lake (now the Sand Lake Center for the Arts). On December 29, 1831, 18 believers were set apart to form an independent Baptist Church to be known as the "Second Baptist Church of Sand Lake." (After the town of Poestenkill was formed from part of the town of Sand Lake in 1848, the First Baptist Church changed its name to Poestenkill Baptist Church and the Second Baptist Church was called Sand Lake Baptist Churchopens in a new window.) In 2004, the church was named to the National Register of Historic Places. (Location: Averill Park, Route 43.)

Historical marker for Sand Lake Baptist Church.
Marker sponsored by the Sand Lake Historical Society, 2004.

Faith Mills

Faith Mills Site
fully integrated
textile factories
harnessed the power of
the Wynantskill

From the early 1800s up to 1966, any number of factories that produced knit cotton and woolen goods, warp yarn and paper dotted the landscape along the present Burden Lake Road. One of the most notable and enduring was Faith Mills, which finally ceased operations in 1966. (Location: Averill Park, on Burden Lake Road off Route 43.) See reminiscences of those connected with the Faith Mills complex. See also arts letters & numberopens in a new windows, currently occupying several structures in the Mill complex, and Sand Lake -- Mill Town.

Historical marker for Sand Lake Baptist Church.
Marker sponsored by the Sand Lake Historical Society, 2005.

Log Church Site, 1776

Lutheran Church Log Building
Pastor - Schoolhouse
Sand Lake Historian
Office 2007

The marker now designates the site of the first church building in the town, a log building serving as pastor’s home, schoolhouse and Lutheran church located on the present Thomas I. Cipperley property. Several stones from the cemetery are preserved at Eastfield Village. The church was the forerunner of the Zion’s Evangelical Lutheran Churchopens in a new window, which opened in 1816. (Location: West Sand Lake, off Route 43 on Best Road at the intersection of Parker Road.)

Historical marker for Lutheran Church log building in West Sand Lake.
Marker sponsored by the Sand Lake Town Historian, 2007.

Cotton House

Jim Cotton's Ice-Cream Parlor

A carpenter, Cotton built the parlor
and opened it seasonally. He had a
dozen café tables and sold vanilla,
chocolate and strawberry flavors. It
was a favorite stop for travelers, teens
and knitting mill workers.

It was remodeled and became home to
the Dobert family, 1940-70s, and then
used for storage. In 2008 Girl Scout
Troop 1181, local volunteers and
contractors restored the parlor.

This is the only known 1900s parlor
left in New York.

More about the Cotton House.

Historical marker for Cotton House; click on the image to enlarge.
Marker by Girl Scout Troop 1181 and co-funded by the Sand Lake Historical Society and Walter A. Adams American Legion Post, 2005.

District 1 School House

Site of
District No. 1 Sheer Road
one room school house
circa 1895-1929

(Located on the west side of Burden Lake, on Sheer Road, north of Biittig Road.)

More about the this and other Schools Prior to 1929 | Read about the dedication of this marker!

Historical marker for site of 'District 1' school house.
Marker by the Sand Lake Historical Society, 2014.

Methodist Farm

In 1917, the Methodist
Sunday School Association
of Troy and Vicinity, Inc.
established a campground at
this location.

This historical marker was dedicated on July 6, 2019, at the entrance to Methodist Farm, on the southern end of Crooked Lake. (The marker is located at the entrance to the Farm on Methodist Farm Road, off Routes 43 and 66.)

More about Methodist Farm | Read about the dedication of this marker!

Historical marker for Methodist FarmMarker by the Sand Lake Historical Society, 2019

Fox Mansion

Built ca. 1847. Home of
Albert R. Fox, NY State
Senator 1848-1849 and glass
manufacturer. House served
as Doll Museum ca. 1954-1972

Our newest marker was unveiled and dedicated on October 3, 2021! The marker is made possible by a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation.

More about the Fox Mansion | Read about the dedication of this marker!

marker for the Fox Mansion in Sand Lake
Marker via grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, 2021.

Town Garage



Not quite a roadside historical marker; rather, a commemorative plaque noting some of the unique history of the former Town Garage on Eastern Union Turnpike at Holcomb Road.

plaque on former Town Garage
Plaque erected on the northeast corner of the [former]
Town Garage in 1933.

Information taken from Historical Highlights 31-1, Fall 2004; 41-2, Winter 2015; 46-1, Summer 2019; 48-2, Fall 2021; and additional sources.

QR Codes

shows two markers and QR code

Two of the newest roadside historical markers in the Town of Sand Lake, displaying the new QR code badge. Scanning that badge will lead you to more information about these and other markers on our website (this page).

This is one of two concurrent marker-related projects being undertaken by members of the Sand Lake Historical Society, the other being refurbishing older, weathered markers. At the moment, markers at the (former) Trinity Lutheran Church and Sand Lake Union Cemetery are being worked on.

Check out our interactive map showing locations of Sand Lake's roadside historical markers!

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The official logo of the Sand Lake Historical SocietyAugust 10, 2007; revised September 12, 2022 -- asm. © 2002-2023 Sand Lake Historical Society; all rights reserved.