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Built to Use, Not to Last: Temporary Structures and the Use of Space in Community Life
A New York Folklore Society Forum

Mabee Farm
Rotterdam Junction, NY
August 14, 2003

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Built to Use, Not to Last: Temporary Structures and the Use of Space in Community Life
  • Thursday, August 14, 2003
    9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    Mabee Farm

    1080 Main Street (Route 5S)
    Rotterdam Junction, NY 12150
    (5 minutes west of Exit 26 of the NYS Thruway)
    RSVP by August 8th: (518) 346-7008 or email nyfs@nyfolklore.org


On Thursday, August 14, 2003 the New York Folklore Society hosted a day-long forum on vernacular architecture in cooperation with the Mabee Farm, a historic site documented as the oldest Dutch Farm in the Mohawk Valley. The farm is located on the Mohawk River between Schenectday and Amsterdam at Rotterdam Junction, NY (on Route 5S). The meeting took place in the Farm's reconstructed Dutch Barn, and as part of the day we toured the house, outbuildings and grounds with Stan Lee, Co-Chair of the Mabee Farm governing committee.

The New York Folklore Society forums are loosely organized presentations with participatory discussion centered around a theme. This forum’s theme, “Built to Use, Not to Last: Temporary Structures and the Use of Space in Community Life,” explored the use of constructed space and its meanings within the community. Issues for discussion included:
  • What is the nature of “vernacular”?
  • What constitutes “temporary”?
  • What are the issues at play which preserve some structures and not others?
  • What is the role of the folklorist in preservation?
After an introduction by Todd DeGarmo, we started the day with a panel discussion by Melissa Ladenheim, Janis Benincasa, and Joseph Sciorra. The day concluded with a presentation by vernacular architecture historian Peter Sinclair on his work on Hudson Valley Dutch Hay Barracks, and a tour of the Mabee Farm by Stan Lee.

NEW YORK FOLKLORE SOCIETY ♦ 129 Jay Street ♦ Schenectady, NY 12305 ♦ 518.346.7008 ♦ Fax 518.346.6617 ♦ nyfs@nyfolklore.org