Future of Johnson Hall to be topic

JOHNSTOWN — The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will conduct an online public meeting July 22 to plan the future of the Johnson Hall State Historic Site on Hall Avenue.

Albany-based OPRHP Division of Environmental Stewardship and Planning Assistant Director Diana Carter announced the upcoming state informational session.

The public meeting will be conducted online at 4:30 p.m. July 22. It is aimed at development of a Draft Master Plan/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Johnson Hall. The meeting will also be recorded.

During the meeting, OPRHP staff will make a presentation about the Draft Master Plan and be available for a question and answer session.

Free registration in advance of the online meeting is required in order to attend. To register, the public is asked to email Johnson [email protected] no later than noon July 21.

OPRHP is encouraging the public to participate in the online public meeting for the historic site and welcomes all comments on the draft documents.

An online version of the Draft Master Plan and DEIS is available at the following publicly accessible website: https://parks.ny.gov/inside-our-agency/master-plans.aspx.

Signage and posters of the Draft Master Plan Map will be posted on-site at Johnson Hall State Historic Site, 139 Hall Avenue, starting July 22.

Written comments on the Draft Master Plan/DEIS will be accepted until close of business on Aug. 12, and may be submitted to [email protected], or mailed to: Paige A. Barnum, AICP; OPRHP Park Planner; 625 Broadway, 2nd Floor; Albany, N.Y. 12238.

Johnson Hall was the 1763 Georgian-style estate of Irish immigrant Sir William Johnson (1715 – 1774) and Molly Brant, a Mohawk Indian, and their eight children. Johnson was the largest single landowner and most influential individual in the Colonial Mohawk Valley. His success in dealing with the Six Nations of the Iroquois greatly influenced England’s victory over France for control of Colonial North America. For his service, the British Crown bestowed upon Johnson the title of Baronet, and later appointed him superintendent of Indian Affairs, a position to which he devoted himself and held throughout his life.

Differing cultures, traditions and languages combined to create a unique life for the Johnson family, with the Hall bustling with activity as home life and business life intermingled daily, the state says.

Visitors included members of various Indian tribes, sometimes numbering in the hundreds at council gatherings. The home was the centerpiece of a 700-acre working estate, with gardens, a mill, blacksmith shop, Indian store, barns, slave and servant housing and other essential buildings.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected].

By Paul Wager