The Fulton Montgomery Region is rich in history – and in affordable historic homes. Settlements in the area date back to the Colonial period, with some homes as old as the 1740s.
According to Montgomery County Historical Society Museum Director Alessa Wylie, many local historic homes are center-hall Colonials. Other architectural styles include Palatine German, 19th-century farmhouse and more. Fully renovated, family-size properties are available for well under $200,000; for those willing to expend some elbow grease, fixer-uppers can be found for less than $50,000.
Lord and Lady of the Manor
Wylie's own home is a 1920s Jacobean manor-style residence in Amsterdam's Market Hill neighborhood. When she and her husband purchased the 5,000-plus-square-foot house, it was divided into three apartments. They restored it to a single-family layout, updated the kitchen and restored the home's oak paneling and five carved fireplaces to their original beauty.
“We really love all the space,” Wylie says. “We do 'Camp Wylie,' and friends come and stay overnight.”
They also love the many cultural and historic sites that dot the valley and the day-trip proximity to New York City and Montreal.
“This valley is so beautiful and so full of history. Every once in a while, I'll be driving along, and it will just take my breath away,” Wylie says.
Room for a Family
Philip and Jerri Cortese live in another of Amsterdam's historic homes. They purchased their house, built between 1916 and 1918, after adopting their daughter. The previous owner had remodeled the kitchen; the Corteses converted a leaky sun porch and living room into an apartment for Philip's parents.
“When we first walked into the house, we couldn't help ourselves. We just fell in love with it,” Jerri Cortese says.
The couple's favorite features include the home's three spiral staircases, original wood paneling and floors, and ample room to accommodate Philip's six siblings and their families.
“And it's a wonderful neighborhood,” Cortese says. “People watch out for each other.”
Space for Hospitality
Over in Fulton County's Gloversville, John and Lori Stewart own an 1893 center-hall Colonial. They purchased the home from a resident who had owned it since 1937.
“As soon as we walked in, we were hooked,” Lori Stewart says. “It was stunning. We knew it was going to be a lot of work, but we fell in love with the charm.”
John spent two years renovating the home with the help of local craftsmen. They updated the heating and electrical systems, remodeled the kitchen, refinished the original oak floors and decorative moldings, and added a bathroom.
The Stewarts say that the house's large rooms and spacious backyard have been ideal for raising their two children, hosting the kids' friends and welcoming all the extended family who live nearby.
“I feel very safe here, and I can still knock on my neighbor's door and ask to borrow a cup of sugar,” Stewart says. “It's family-oriented; there's a real sense of community.”
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