Monday, May 16, 2011

Mount Lebanon Shaker Village

 Heading 25 miles east from Albany across the Hudson River brought us to the tranquil hillside remains of Mount Lebanon Shaker Village.

Until 1948, this was home to the largest Shaker community in America.

 Of the twenty Shaker communities once scattered over the eastern united states, practicing a passionate but celibate form of Christianity, Mount Lebanon was the head ministry, founded here in 1785. 

 The community endured until 1947, and around two dozen historic buildings still stand--

 --including this 192-foot stone barn-the largest stone barn in the world when constructed in 1859.  It will eventually be restored to it’s original form.

The washhouse above has hidden wall drawers and perfectly fitted floorboards.  It was built in 1854 and is presently being restored.

 This grainary and a number of other buildings have already been beautifully restored.

 We did not have time to visit a near-by town of Old Chatham, which has the world’s most extensive collection of Shaker-related items--from pieces of Shaker furniture to the tools and devices used to make them.

                              The huge woodshop will eventually be restored. 

 The restored church is used by the students of the Darrow School, a private school which bought part of the property in 1932 as the Shaker community dwindled in size.

Darrow now occupies the 365 acre site, designated a National Historic Landmark. There are now 100 students and 31 teachers. 

There are 26 buildings, play fields, tennis courts, a 15,000 volume library, a 12,000-square-foot arts center, and a three building science facility. 

This is now the library of the Darrow School.

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