Johnson Hall plan complete

JOHNSTOWN — The state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation announced Wednesday it has completed a master plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement, or FEIS, for the Johnson Hall State Historic Site.

An online version of the final master plan and FEIS are available for review at: A non-digital copy of the documents can be provided by contacting this email address: [email protected]

The public consideration period for the documents will end on Oct. 17. The e-mail address to contact during the consideration period is: [email protected]

After the close of the consideration period, a findings statement will be issued along with the state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation commissioner’s decision regarding adoption of the master plan.

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.

Proposed action items in the master plan include removing an outdated restroom from the basement of Johnson Hall and restoration of the space.

The plan calls for continuation of interior restoration work and furnishing of Johnson Hall. The state would continue to install handblocked reproduction wallpaper and textiles, as documented to the time period, throughout the house.

The state would also create reproductions of original furnishings and decorative arts based on the home’s 1774 probate inventory, surviving example, and archeological remains.

Another historical action items would be to open the second floor of the Northwest Stonehouse to interpretive programming by relocating equipment stored on the second floor to another location on-site.

A fire detection system would be installed in the Northwest order to provide for the health and safety of patrons and the integrity of the historic resource.

Other action items listed in the plan include: repurpose the first floor of the Northeast Stonehouse; construct a trade house in the north side yard; construct a blacksmith shop in the north side yard; plant a period appropriate formal garden; update Johnson Hall’s National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmark files with the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service; and increase the number of special events and programs at Johnson Hall.

The public is asked to contact Paige Barnum, AICP, park planner at (518) 473-7402 with questions or to obtain further information about the master plan for FEIS.

By Paul Wager