What do you envision when you think about the Town of Montgomery? Do you see a town full of rich history and acres of fertile farm land, or a Dunkin Donuts?
About two weeks ago, Middletown-based Warner Construction, Inc, started a new project on the corner of North Drury Lane to re-align the road. A house on the corner of the road is being torn down to make room for a Dunkin Donuts.
There has been some speculation that the house, which dates back to the 18th century, is a part of the Colden Mansion estate.
“In the last few years we have lost some very significant historical resources and have allowed the adjacent ruins of the nearby Colden Mansion to deteriorate,” says Robert Williams, a former 15 year Town of Montgomery historian. “Is this really the direction we want to go – wipe out everything old and replace it with something new?”
Williams argues that by tearing down the house on the corner of North Drury Lane, the community will never get the chance to find out how exactly the house was tied in with the Colden Mansion.
Robin Encenza, a direct descendent of the Colden Mansion estate, says that she thinks the property belonged to one of the original owner’s sons, David, a farmer who inherited the house after the passing of both of his parents.
“[David’s] father stated in his will that the [house] would go to him after [David’s] mother deceased,” said Encenza. “His mother lived until 1815 and [his father] deceased around 1799…My thought is that [David’s] family may have resided there, unless they resided in the big house but I’m not sure they did…I’m still trying to look through census data and make sense of things.”
Encenza, who now lives in Highland, says that although development is necessary, the disregard of preserving and teaching history is sad.
“I think that some folks fail to understand what makes Montgomery special,” says Williams. “People are not attracted to Montgomery for her warehouses, [Dunkin] Donuts and current housing developments and, in this case, re-aligned roads. It is the open spaces complimented by the intertwining of historic buildings that make us special.”
The house on the corner of North Drury Lane has not been torn down yet, but the big yellow bulldozers and “do not cross” signs are reminders that nothing will stop the demolishing of the house.
By Jaspreet Gill