This Just In: Albany’s Historic Cherry Hill Mansion will be rewarded with 2 Grants totaling nearly $100,000!
For those unaware of the history behind the historic Cherry Hill mansion here is a brief rundown.
Philip and Maria Van Rensselaer erected “The Yellow House on the Hill” in 1787 during an age of industrial tycoons, bluebloods, labor uncertainty and immigration.
This 18 room mansion went through a great deal of historical change and survived many different facets of the Gilded Age.
There is great mystique that surrounds the property as well. In 1827, Elsie-Lansing Whipple a resident of Cherry Hill and an esteemed member of Albany’s elite had plans to solidify her affair with her handyman Jessie Sprang. The man who stood in the way was Elsie’s husband – John Whipple.
After Whipple was murdered by Elsie’s paramour (male mistress) the widow went scot-free (for the most part) Sprang ended up being publicly hung at Gallows Hill which is where the Empire Plaza currently stands. As nearly 40,000 people gathered to watch the public hanging the operation did not go exactly as planned. This turned out to be the last public hanging to take place in Albany in 1827.
Now that you have the backstory, it is important to realize all of the rich history that surrounds Cherry Hill. The last descendent of the historic mansion was Emily Rankin. Her inheritance of the property led her to study at Smith College to intellectually invest in the suffragette movement.
Modern Day News
The newest development surrounding this historic landmark is called We Carry It Within Us: Reinterpretation at Historic Cherry Hill. The project received $48,165 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and a $50,000 Inspire! Grant for Small Museums from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
As an incredible site full of agency and history, there are very rare items that coincide with its existence over time.
This sum of money will allow the site to better serve its mission and offer an intimate setting for visitors to immerse themselves within. A complete remodel of the orientation room will make the space more welcoming in order to contextualize the history of the house.
Once it is open to the public – you should definitely check it out and soak up the wisdom of the Albany area! Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it!
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