The Lansing Manor is a historical buff’s dream come true. This tourist attraction, located in Blenheim, NY, is free and open to the public.
Try to imagine: It is 1819. You and your family have traveled for several days on a horse and buggy. You are tired and weary and just want to finally relax. At last, you have reached your destination. When the carriage pulls over and draws to a halt, your eyes are immediately drawn to the magnificent country estate in front of you. The next thing you know, you are surrounded by a butler and several servants. They rush over and eagerly greet you while unloading your heavy trunks from the wagon. You are welcomed with the highest respect and regard.
You have just arrived at the Lansing Manor in Blenheim-Gilboa, New York. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and now operated by the New York State Power Authority in cooperation with the Schoharie County Historical Society.
The Lansing Manor was built by John Lansing, who represented New York as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and the state’s Ratification Convention in 1788. The manor was originally built for Lansing’s daughter and son-in-law, Jacob Livingston Sutherland. It is still filled with authentic furnishings from the first half of the 19th century.
The house has four working stories. The cellar houses many pantries, a wine storage room, a huge kitchen hearth for preparing the food, an informal breakfast room, a servant dining room, and a root cellar. There are separate parlors for men and women. They never sat together in the same room unless they were dining with the company. The children ate in their bedrooms while a nanny kept a close eye on them. When there were visitors, the men would sit together and discuss politics or play chess, while the women worked together on needlepoint and chatted in the tea room.
Many servants lived on the premises and each had separate jobs to do. Some had the unpleasant job of shoveling coal into the fire hearth to keep the house warm and to cook. In the cellar sits an old butter churn which was used to make butter and cream. A seamstress came to the house twice a year to sew new clothes for the family and had a separate bedroom reserved just for that reason.
If you enjoy historical places, you do not want to miss a trip to The Lansing Manor. It was restored by the New York State Power Authority in 1977 and has been opened to the public since then. The house is filled with antique furnishings hand-carved by brilliant carpenters of that time. Every room is furnished and set up as though someone actually lived there in the present. The china and silverware are set, giving you the feeling that you were just invited to dinner. Original clothing is hung in the bedrooms revealing the styles of early American fashion.