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Historical Highlights

The Town Garage on Eastern Union Turnpike

Clifford C. HastingsWhile [Clifford Hastings was Sand Lake Town] supervisor [in 1933], the 1902 coal-fired steam electric generating plant of the Troy New England railway was torn down. Clifford donated the materials to the town for the Town Barn on Eastern Union Turnpike and Holcomb Road. It is almost a replica of the old power plant and was completed in 1933 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. [SEE: Clifford Hastings brings electricity to Sand Lake]

An article in the September 29, 1933, edition of the Troy Times read:


town garage newspaper photo 1933The town of Sand Lake is now completing a work relief project that, beside giving employment for three months to the heads of at least 15 families, has attracted the attention of the State unemployment relief organization and County Work Relief Chairman Robinson as an example of what even a small community may do entirely within its own resources, with materials at hand and by its own people.

[Right: photo from the 1933 Troy Times article] The project is the erection of a town garage, shop and storage for town road machinery and snow removal equipment. The main building, a substantial brick structure, 58 by 63 feet in dimensions and 80 feet high at the gables, is now ready for the roof, and the foundations are laid for an addition 50 by 36 feet in size. The main building is divided into two sections, one of which will be the blacksmith and machine shop, with space for two or three motorized snowplows, and will be heated in the winter. The other part will be used for storage of road machinery and trucks, while the addition will be devoted to storage for snow fences, lumber and other materials. The entire project is being carried out by the Sand Lake Town Board with Commissioner of Highways Albert Flaxmayer in charge of the construction under the supervision of Supervisor Clifford C. Hastings, who laid out the plans for the buildings.

When the town invested in modern road machinery and snow removal apparatus, the Town Board was faced with the need for some centrally located storage place and two or three years ago the Board purchased about an acre of ground at the intersection of the back road from Averill Park to Crooked Lake with the Glass Lake town road, about half a mile south of the village of Averill Park. Faced with the problem of work relief for unemployed citizens early this summer the Board decided the time was ripe for undertaking the building project and authorized the enterprise.

Supervisor Hastings negotiated the purchase of the abandoned power house of the old Troy and New England Railway, a large brick structure on the banks of the Wynantskill at West Sand Lake. A gang of men was set to work July 10 razing the building, cleaning the brick and salvaging the lumber and materials, which were transported to the new site, about five miles distant. This part of the work was completed in about two weeks at a cost of approximately $500.

town garage 2019[Left: plaque on side wall; Right:photo from 2019.] The construction of the new building was begun about August 1 by a crew of 14 men, including five or six unemployed masons in the town. Every dollars worth of new materials needed, except about $35 for steel reinforcements, was purchased by the Board in the town or from local dealers.
town garage plaque

Approximately 150,000 bricks were salvaged, cleaned and relaid in the walls of the new building and the supporting pilasters or wall supports, 8 by 24 inches base dimensions. The building, now among the more substantial structures in the town, is on a solid rock foundation. It is practically fireproof and should stand for many years.

In carrying out this enterprise as a town-supported work relief project and from materials at hand for the most part, a definite need of the town is supplied at comparatively small cost It is estimated that the completed project will cost the town from $2,500 to $2,700 [$49,377 to $53,327 in today’s currency – Ed.], though the finished structure will have a value of from $8,000 to $12,000 [$158,006 to $237,008 in today’s currency – Ed.]. In meeting the expenses, the town of Sand Lake will receive a refund from the State relief of 40 per cent, of the outlay for wages, it is expected that the buildings will be ready for occupancy in a few weeks. [NOTE: Emphases in the article above are ours. – Ed.] -- from Historical Highlights, vol. 46, no. 2, Fall 2019

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