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History is the name of the game in Pine Plains

The town of Pine Plains has some incredible assets within its reach, in this case through the Little Nine Partners Historical Society and the Pine Plains Central School District. The historical gems written about here are the Lewis Graham/Brush House in the center of town and the Attlebury Schoolhouse in the town of Stanford.

Both sites offer not only historic treasures of the type that antiquity buffs typically drool over, but also real-life learning tools to understanding the past. A step into either structure, once renovated and brought back to its former glory, promises to be as educational as a read through any history book.

Pine Plains is fortunate to have such eloquent teaching aides, however wooden they may be, to share their pasts with those of us in the present interested in learning what life used to be like in the Harlem Valley years and years ago.

The town is especially lucky to have the Little Nine Partners Historical Society, which has been working so diligently to repair and restore the Graham/Brush House to its original state. The group has been toiling away since it bought the building in 1997. Talk about dedication; talk about having a vision.

But more needs to be done. Once the project is completed the historical society plans to be headquartered in the building — an excellent idea. It will showcase just one more of the town’s treasures for those who live and visit to enjoy.

Another one of those priceless joys is the Attlebury Schoolhouse, which although in Stanford, is owned by the Pine Plains Central School District. Its future lies in the district’s hands.

Currently the building is in disrepair. The Stanford Historical Society has approached the Board of Education about restoring the 1910 schoolhouse and maintaining it in the future. Ideally, it would like to take ownership of the building.

That, however, has to be decided on by requirements set by the State Education Department. If the structure is to be donated to the historical society, voter approval would also be needed. Even if the historical society wanted to hire a contractor to make emergency repairs before winter, the state would have to OK that as well. Legal measures would also have to be taken.

So it’s not a simple task to hand over the historic building, even if it is for its own benefit, as well as for the surrounding communities’. But it was important for the Stanford Historical Society to start the process, and to let the school district know it is interested in reclaiming and renovating what could once again be an educational (and charming) space for many to enjoy.

This is what the Harlem Valley is about — history — and it should be preserved by those who have the know-how and energy to do so. That there is so much in and around the town of Pine Plains is a gift. Its roots run deep, and with these types of projects the recognition and celebration of that fact is something the whole community can both take pride in and enjoy, time and time again.

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