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Showing Schine’s history

Event planned at famous family’s estate in Caroga

August 21, 2011
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

Two brothers with ties to Gloversville have purchased several Schine properties in the town of Caroga. They are looking to promote the rich history of the Schines, while donating long-lost items from the famous movie and entertainment family to the city's Glove Theatre Museum.

The museum, located within the Glove Performing Arts Center on North Main Street, already has some movie memorabilia, but brothers Bruce and Richard Veghte said they want to give back to the community by providing more items. The items may include a vintage movie projector, large camera lenses and a reel of old movie film.

The siblings, who are Gloversville High School graduates, want to make a fun event out of the deal, tentatively setting Sept. 10 and 11 as a possible upcoming celebration of the Schine family.

Article Photos

Bruce Veghte of Clearwater, Fla., holds a reel of movie film at the Schine summer home in Caroga on Tuesday.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

"The plan, which is still under design, is to have an event at the [former] Schine estate," says 72-year-old Bruce Veghte, who now lives in Florida.

The Veghte brothers in July purchased seven Schine family parcels at a U.S. Internal Revenue Service auction in Caroga Lake. The Veghtes sold four of the parcels and are keeping one on Kasson Drive in Canada Lake, which is next to their own summer home that has been in the family since 1965.

But the jewel of the Veghtes' property purchase was two other parcels totaling 10.6 acres comprising the former Schine family summer estate. The estate - located at the intersection of Routes 29A and 10, near Benson Road in Caroga - was once known as "Schine's Pines" or "MyHill."

Bruce and Richard Veghte can't salvage the 6,500-square-foot main house of the Schine's summer estate, which has fallen into a state of disrepair and must be torn down this winter. It has six bedrooms, a bath house and a theater and fireproof projection area.

"The place is a disaster," Veghte stated. "We are refurbishing the large garage."

He said the Schine's summer estate is a "very interesting place," with an extensive network of asphalt roads in good condition and a two-story vinyl fenced tennis court. He said the grounds also include a large heated pool, formal garden, three-car garage, kitchen, servants' quarters and five-stall horse barn with a paddock area in decent shape.

The late Junius "Myer" Schine and Hildegarde Schine were entertainment industry and movie chain pioneers with a strong connection to downtown Gloversville. Myer Schine in 1916 got into the theater business and it took off across America. The "New Hippodrome" was a thriving success in Gloversville. After buying a second theater in Amsterdam, Myer later bought several other theaters in rapid succession.

Hildegarde grew up in Johnstown and performed in local theater, eventually marrying Myer.

The Schine couple in 1939 began wintering in Florida and bought a house in Miami. They quickly became socially active, hosting cultural events and entertaining well-known personalities. In 1946, they purchased the Boca Raton Hotel. Eventually through Schine Enterprises, Inc., Myer and Hildegarde owned and operated 15 hotels across the United States.

Meanwhile, the Schines often locally entertained luminaries from around the world. Celebrities included composer Irving Berlin, actress Cobina Wright, The Duke of Windsor, and studio moguls Louis B. Meyer, Harry Warner, Spiro Skouras and Joseph Schenk. Myer Schine died in 1971, and Hildegarde Schine died in 1994.

Now, the Veghte family is looking to do some renovations at their newly-acquired Schine property and hold a public event in September to donate memorabilia to the Glove Theatre Museum.

Evamarie Mraz, vice president of the Glove Performing Arts Center board, has bittersweet memories now that the Schine property is in such disrepair and the memorabilia will be donated.

"It's heartbreaking because I loved it there," Mraz said. "I worked for Hildegarde Schine as her personal assistant. It used to be a gorgeous estate. It was pretty well ransacked by the transients."

She is working with Bruce Veghte on the upcoming event.

"Him and I are going to try to come up with something to promote that property and to try to promote who the Schines were," Mraz said.

Wally Hart, president of the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said Bruce Veghte contacted him about arranging an event in which the Schine property could be shown off, while donating Schine memorabilia from MyHill.

"He's looking to do something to help the community," Hart said.

The Glove Theatre Museum, established in February 2003 with a grant from the Holcomb Family Foundation, was created by a group of volunteers. It already has numerous clippings, photos and memorabilia from years gone by. It houses a Simplex Carbon-Arc motion picture projector from the silent-film era. The museum also includes a candy machine from the 1950s that served theatre patrons. It also includes a uniform worn in the '40s and '50s by the head ushers, with the Schine insignia on the left shoulder.

Veghte said the plan is to promote the Glove Theatre Museum, but at the same time get a number of people to come to the Schine property to see it. He said there may be a charge for attending the possible catered event, whose proceeds would go the museum. He said the event may even include a wine tasting and tour.

"We're pretty decent and sincere folk," he said. "The benefactor is going to at least be the Glove Theatre Museum."



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