Schoharie County NYGenWeb Site
Claims against NYC for land taken in building Blenheim Dam
Submitted by Linda Ogborn
Claims made against the City of New York when property located in Schoharie and Delaware County that was taken for the building of the Blenheim Dam. Original papers on file in the Delaware County Clerk= s Office, Delhi, New York.
BUSINESS DAMAGE CLAIM OF EDWARD SPAULDING
The claimant conducts the only blacksmith shop in Prattsville or its immediate vicinity; the evidence indicates that his gross annual receipts average something over $2000.00. The business is conducted upon the property owned by the claimant and taken by the City in these proceedings and we understand the claimant= s contention to be that the business is destroyed. This is obviously not the case; before moving to his present location claimant conducted this same business upon other premises in the Village of Prattsville, only a very small part of which is taken by the city. As a matter of fact, only sic of the claimant= s regular customers have their property condemned in these proceedings, and it is clear that the claimant may easily locate elsewhere in Prattsville and continue his business, retaining a large percentage of his regular customers.
While the business is not destroyed, its value is affected, because of the expense and annoyance of removal, the fact that there will be a period when work will necessarily be suspended and some regular customers are lost. We think the claimant will be fully compensated by the award of $500.00 upon which we have determined.
This property is situated just below the Prattsville Bridge on the Grand Gorge road. There are 1.3 acres of land upon which is a blacksmith= s shop, dwelling, chicken house and barn. The property fronts on the highway about 200 feet and is approximately 100 feet deep on both sides of the highway, extending to the center of the Schoharie Creek. The blacksmith= s shop is in very good condition. Besides the usual removable fixtures of a blacksmith= s shop, it contains one forge and a drill press operated by hand power which we have treated as personal property and not considered in making our award. There is a fair size store room up stairs, in which Mr. Spauling keeps his stock of supplies. The dwelling is two stories in height, contains 8 rooms, pantry and closets and is in good condition, both the exterior and interior well painted and bearing evidence of being well kept up. The chicken house is partly made up of an old small dwelling house, with a long extension. The extension is in very good condition, and the old dwelling, while not in very good condition, answers its purpose. There is a fair size vegetable garden and a number of apple trees and berry bushes. The barn is not large but in good condition.
The claimant purchased the premises in 1905 for $1,050.00 and has made quite extensive improvements since, a considerable part of the work having been done by claimant personally. He has raised and repaired the house quite generally, sided the barn, erected a long poultry house and also the building which he uses as a blacksmith shop. The whole property is well kept up and worth the sum awarded.
BUSINESS CLAIM OF EDITH ROSE
Amount of claim $1,000.00
Nature of claim: Decrease in the value of an established business of dressmaking and sewing conducted upon land.
Find and report as follows:
For the reasons set forth in the accompanying memorandum by Commissioner Quinn, the claim is dismissed.
MEMORANDUM BY COMMISSIONER QUINN ON BUSINESS CLAIM OF EDITH ROSE.
This is a claim for damage to the business of dressmaking by reason of the taking of Parcel No. 233, and as a result of the general taking by the City of New York along the Schoharie Creek.
Parcel No. 233, the home of the claimant and the place where her alleged dressmaking business was conducted, is in the Village of Prattsville, but separated from the business section of the village by the Schoharie Creek. The Village of Prattsville is not destroyed by the plan of the City for the storing of the waters of the Schoharie. There is nothing to prevent the continuance of the dressmaking business by the claimant in the community in which she has lived for many years.
Aside from the above consideration, the testimony in this case does not, in our opinion, warrant the conclusion that the claimant had such an established business as would justify an award. The claimant= s testimony is to the effect that her gross receipts were about ten dollars a week and that the value of her services to the business was $1.50 a day, or $9.00 a week. This would leave $1.00 a week to cover all items of expense, such as rent, heat, light and equipment. It cannot seriously be contended that $1.00 a week would more than meet these demands. In other words, the claimant presents nothing upon which, under the authority of the leading case of Bishop v City of New York.
I think this claimant is entitled to a small award. Having expressed my belief that the Bishop case does not apply to a case like this, where no capital is invested and the profit results from the personal services of the claimant, in the memorandum submitted in the Bevins-Hicks business claim, it is unnecessary to reiterate my views here. The claimant kept no books and the testimony as to her receipts is somewhat indefinite. I think, taken altogether, it shows that her receipts were more than ten dollars per week on the average. Be that as it may, it is not disputed that she is the only dressmaker in Prattsville, and that for five years, ever since her husband= s death, the claimant has, through the conduct of this business and an income of about thirty-five dollars per year from another source, supported and maintained herself and six children, aged form six to fourteen years.
The properties of several of her customers as well as her own, are taken by the City of New York; assuming that the claimant can maintain her business elsewhere in the village, as stated in the majority opinion, the business will surely suffer by the taking and the acts of the City. I am confident that the Legislature intended that this claimant should be compensated for her loss, and I do not believe that the decision in the Bishop case stands in the way.
This property is situated on the Grand Gorge highway just below the Prattsville Bridge and consists of 1.147 acres of land lying on both sides of the highway running to the center of the Creek. It fronts 120 feet on the highway. The buildings include a large two story house, the exterior of which is in very good condition in all respects; the interior is also in very good condition. There is also a good size barn, in very good condition, paint good and foundations good. There are cement steps and a flag walk running from the roadway to the entrance of the house, a distance of about 15 feet or more. There are several fine shade trees along the road. There are tow other good sized buildings and a shed, which are not painted, but seem to be in very fair condition. In the rear of the property and running along a little hillside is a stone retaining wall, and alongside it a kind of smoke house made of metal, not or great value. There is a very good driveway entrance and a small garden alongside of the house. The balance of the property on the other side of the road appears to have been cultivated as a garden.
The house is especially good, although containing no modern improvements. It is in an excellent sate of repair, the rooms are large and light, and it is very substantially built.
This is a very attractive residence property.
BUSINESS CLAIM OF FRANK VAN LOAN
Amount of Claim: $7,500.00
Nature of Claim: Decrease in the value of an established of dealing in meats at wholesale and retail, and in clams, oysters, hides, butter, canned goods, etc., conducted upon Parcel 138.
We find the report as follows:
1. The claimant, Frank Van Loan, was, on the 1st day of December, 1914, the owner of a business, that of dealing in meats, clams, oysters, hides, butter, canned goods, etc.; said business was conducted upon the premises known in these proceedings as Parcel No. 138.
2. On October 29, 1915, said Frank Van Loan sold the said business to one L. R. Ellis, who conducted the same for a period of about four months.
3. On or about March 1, 1918, the claimant Frank Van Loan, and one Clark, as co-partners, bought the business formerly so conducted by said Van Loan and by said Ellis as individuals, and thereafter, for a period of about seven months, said Van Loan and said Clark conducted said business as co-partners under the firm name of Van Loan and Clark. Thereafter the claimant bought the interest of his partner Clark in said business and has ever since conducted the same as an individual.
4. The claim is dismissed.
The Commission is reluctantly forced to record its conclusion that this claim was not frankly submitted to us. The claimant was the only witness in his own behalf; when the members of this Commission were viewing properties in Gilboa he requested us to inspect his method of keeping accounts, and two of us, Commissioner Austin and Quinn, did so one evening. The claimant then exhibited certain slips of paper upon which were entered what were said to be the items of the receipts during each day, and also the items of disbursements during the same day. There was a separate slip for each day, the entries were in lead pencil and the claimant stated that the once he showed us covered a period of about 18 months prior to that time. He said that he kept no books other than these slips, and that he had no accounts of his business prior to that time. We told him that it was of the utmost importance that he preserve these original entries and there is no doubt but that he understood our admonition. Upon the trial, instead of the slips which he had previously shown the Commission, he produced a set of slips of paper upon which there purported to be entered in lead pencil the total receipts and disbursements for each day from about the time he began business, November 1, 1914. None of the papers which he had shown the Commission at Gilboa were produced upon the trial and although the matter was sharply brought to his attention at the trial, he claims to remember very little about it.
The slips which were produced give the appearance of having all been made at the same time, although the claimant testified that the entries thereon were usually made daily, and were taken from other slips similar to the ones shown the Commission, upon which were entered the items of each day= s receipts and disbursements. We are unable to efface a distinct suspicion that these slips were prepared for the trial by the claimant and are not bona fide originals.
But we are clearly convinced that we need not go into the question of what the profits of this business actually were before reaching our determination, because the evidence shows that Van Loan did not own this business continuously from December 1, 1914, to the date when the City of New York acquired the real property upon which it was conducted. About the 1st of November, 1915, Van Loan sold his business to a man named Ellis. The claimant tried to make out that he only let Ellis run the business for him while he went on a vacation, but the evidence is all to the contrary. Van Loan testified A He (Ellis) paid me rent for the market and rent for my tools and I let him stay there. I think he was there about four months. The only connection I had with the market was collecting the rent for the market and rent for my tools.@ It also appears that when Ellis took over the business he paid Van Loan for all the stock the latter had on hand; Van Loan states that at that time he moved all of his papers and vouchers out of the store and took them to his house; he is unable to state where he went on his vacation, how long he was gone and in fact is not sure that he took any vacation at all; for at least a part of the time Ellis was running the store Van Loan admits that he was in and around Gilboa buying and selling hides, etc. Furthermore, in the Fall of 1915, Van Loan advertised in the local paper as follows: A As I am about to stop business I ask all having accounts with me to settle same by November, 1915. All accounts not settled by that date will be given to my attorney for collection and all sales from this date will be for cash only. Frank Van Loan@ . The evidence is clear that, in spite of his claim to the contrary, Van Loan sold his business to Ellis about November 1, 1915, and retired therefrom.
For some undisclosed reason, Van Loan came back into this business about March 1, 1916, but this time with a partner. Although he tried hard to evade the true facts, Van Loan finally admitted that the partnership did exist, that it lasted for a period of seven or eight months, that the firm of Van Loan and Clark paid Ellis for the stock which the latter had on hand, and that Van Loan finally had some kind of a settlement with Clark and thereafter ran the business himself.
Upon all the facts, and without further discussion, it is the unanimous opinion of the Commissioner that this claim should be dismissed.
BUSINESS CLAIM FOR GEORGE L. FULLER
Amount of claim: $5,000.00
Nature of claim: Decrease in value of an established business of printer, publishing the Gilboa Monitor, job printing, advertising, etc., conducted upon Parcel NO. 133.
We find and report as follows:
1. The claimant, George L. Fuller, was, on the 1st day of December, 1914, the owner of an established business, being that of printing and publishing a newspaper known as the Gilboa Monitor, doing job printing and the other incidental business of printing office, and has ever since continued to own said business.
2. On November 24, 1917, the City of New York, pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 724, Laws of 1905, and the acts amendatory thereof, acquired the real estate upon which said business was conducted, being Parcel No. 133 in these proceedings.
3. The said established business of the claimant was decreased in value by reason of the acquiring of lands for an addition water supply, and by the execution of plans therefor in the sum of Two thousand one hundred dollars ($2,100.00).
The claimant owns the only newspaper published in the Village of Gilboa; that he has a compensatable claim there is no doubt, but the determination of its amount is difficult because the claimant kept no books worth mentioning. He ran the business himself, with occasional assistance from his wife, and as long as he was making a living, with something to spare, did not consider it necessary to keep anything but a subscription book, as his other business was practically for cash. The circulation of the paper has ranged between 500 and 1100 during the past few years, and stands at 570 now; it carries a goodly amount of advertising of good character and has all the appearance of being a successful enterprise of its kind.
After a careful analysis of the figures submitted by the claimant as to the earnings of his business, charging against the gross receipts all the elements referred to in the A Bishop Case@ , we have determined that the net earnings will average $700.00 per year, and it is upon that basis that we have fixed the award at the sum of $2100.00
The City seems to contend that the business is not totally destroyed because a large number of subscribers to the paper live outside the territory taken by the City of New York. There is no force in this contention; the whole village of Gilboa is to be flooded by the new reservoir, and a newspaper cannot be published successfully except in a community of some kind. The truth is that the claimants business is completely destroyed, and we are not permitted to take into consideration the fact that he may locate elsewhere and build up an equally successful business.
WILLIAM A. RODNEY BUSINESS CLAIM
It is extremely difficult to determine how much, if any, damage will result to the claimant= s business by the construction of the reservoir, the appropriation of claimant= s real estate and the acts of the City of New York, which we are required to consider in making our determination. If we were to follow the strict rule laid down in the Bishop Case, it is quite likely that we might, with perfect propriety, hold that the claimant has failed to prove any damage to his business. We must, however, remember that the statute has been pronounced A liberal in spirit@ ; that the claimant ran his business without the aid of bookkeepers and expert accountants; and that, from a very small beginning in 1911, he did build up quite a business in the raising of chickens and the selling of eggs.
The evidence in this case has very unsatisfactory; it is true that the claimant kept what he calls books of account, but these books were so loosely and incompletely kept, and bore such unmistakable evidences of erasure and change, that they were worse than useless as an assistance in reaching a determination. One might gather the impression from the evidence that as the business increased Rodney= s indebtedness increased in full proportion, and that he was really little better off with two or three thousand hens and chickens than with his original one hundred and fifty, but nevertheless his business did have some value.
But it does not appear that the claimant= s market was local, so that the demolition of the village of Gilboa will not deprive him of a sale for his eggs and poultry to any great extent. We cannot see that the cost of carrying on the business in some other location (for instance on that part of the farm not taken by the City) will be increased; and for the taking of such part of the equipment as is not removable to another locality, claimant is reimbursed by the award for the real property taken.
There will be some damage to the business, however, and as to the amount of the decrease in its value we can gather more form the application of the rules of common sense that these of evidence. We have concluded that the damage is $500.00
MEMORANDUM - William A. Rodney
The whole property consists of approximately 23 acres of land, with a dwelling house, barn and several hen houses of varying sizes thereon. Seven of the smaller hen houses are not built upon foundations of any kind, but are constructed upon skids so that they may be moved from place to place upon the farm, or, we take it, even to other properties. These movable hen houses we do not consider to be a part of the realty, and have treated them as personal property, making no award herein for the value thereof.
The farm is situate a little over a mile from the Village of Gilboa, on the unimproved highway leading from that village to Prattsville. The part taken by the City is 17.523 acres, containing all the buildings. The remaining 5 acres are the poorest part of the property, lying on the side hill above the flow line of the proposed reservoir. The claimant uses the property as a chicken farm, but hay is out from the flats which lie between the Prattsville-Gilboa highway and the Schoharie Creek, upon which the property fronts for considerable distance; some fruit, berries and the like is also produced.
Claimant purchased the property in 1910 f9or $950.00 but the testimony indicates that the farm was in very poor condition at that time. The house was almost uninhabitable, the land was overrun with weeds, under brush and the like, the fences were in very poor shape, and the whole property generally neglected and run down. The claimant described in great detail the work he had done in rehabilitating the property and in constructing the buildings for his chicken business. We have no doubt but that its value has been materially increased by the present owner. When viewed by the Commission the property appeared fairly well kept up and the poultry buildings in good condition generally. The house is obviously a very old one= much was made by the City of the fact that the house had been painted during the summer of 1917, after it was quite generally known that the city had decided upon this site for its reservoir, giving to it a very different appearance from its former unpainted and, upon the outside, dilapidated condition. However that may be, the claimant= s undisputed testimony shows that, prior to painting in question, he had devoted attention to the improving of the interior and the roofs, so that he could live in it in comfort; it is not unusual in the country to find a house with a very weather beaten exterior well kept up and very comfortable upon the inside. Besides, the owner had a perfect legal right to improve his property, title not having passed to the City.
All the witnesses, both for the city and the claimant agree that the land remaining after the taking is of little value; the effect of the taking and the acts of the city of New York upon the value of the residue is so infinitesimal that the claim for indirect damages to the fee was withdrawn. Consequently we have to determine practically nothing except the fair market value of the whole property on the 24 th day November, 1917.
There are three mortgages upon the property aggregating $2050.00 and unpaid interest from dates in 1916. In our judgment, its fair market value on the date name was $3120.00 and the value of the residue was $125.00.
CLAIM OF ZAYDA STEVENS
These parcels (Nos. 244 and 245) are taken from the 200 acre farm of the claimant for the construction of highways. No buildings are taken, and access therefrom to the main highway will be improved, but this fact we have not taken into consideration. Parcel 245 is 4,100 feet long and 66 feet wide; Parcel 244 has a length of 647 feet and width of 50 feet. The whole farm has been rented for several years at an average annual rental of about $375.00. We believe that this property will be decreased in value by the acts of the City (indirect damage) to the same extent as the adjoining property of Cain and that the direct damage caused by the taking is $1000.00, considering the fences which must be built.
CLAIM OF CORNELIUS F. CAIN
These parcels are parts of a farm of 348.2 acres, lying about one mile from Gilboa on the road to Grand Gorge. The farm buildings are all very poor. Parcel No. 243 contains 1.044 acres and No. 246, 1.071 acres; no buildings are taken; the witnesses all agree that Parcel No. 243 is a steep brush lot of very little value and claimant= s experts only placed a figure of $50.00 on it. Parcel .No.246 adjoins the Grand Gorge highway and is taken for the construction of a highway by the city. Upon this lot there are a few young fruit trees.
The claimant is in possession under an uncompleted contract of sale, dated January, 1917, by which he purchased the whole property from his parents for $6500.00, including about forty head of cattle, a horse and other personal property connected with the farm. For the direct damages we believe an award of $310.00 is entirely adequate, while the decrease in the value of the farm by the destruction of the Village of Gilboa will be fully covered by a compensation of $250.00. The damage in this respect will not be as large as that to the Brownell farm, because the claimant= s Grand Gorge market remains and access to the Village of Prattsville will be greatly improved by the construction of a macadam road to that point.
CLAIM OF SABINA S. DECKER
This property is situated on the southerly side of the Prattsville-Grand Gorge highway, and consists of a house, barn and lot containing .575 acres, all of which is taken. The buildings are on a little hill immediately in the rear of the Hunt House, and westerly a short distance from the Addison J. Dunham dwelling. The house sets probably 100 feet back from the rad and a roadway runs up to it with an easy grade. The house is a two story building, with several additions. It looks to be very old and is painted a dingy yellow color. It has evidently not been painted for a long time. The siding shows evidences of decay in a number of places and the roof is in poor condition, especially along the ridge pole of the main part of the house. There is a good garden plot at the west of the house and the land looks to be very good. The main floor of the house has four rooms, clothes press and a cellar level with the floor excavated into the hill. Upstairs there are three rooms, which are finished off for bedrooms, and one other room which is not plastered. The interior of the house, in spite of being in poor condition, is extremely neat, clean and well kept up. The barn is small and not sided; attached to it is a shed, which, like the barn, in unpainted and in poor condition. This is not a desirable property.
CLAIM OF ELLA W. HUNT
This is a very small house and lot on the outskirts of the village of Prattsville. The lot is just large enough to hold the house, which contains four rooms down stairs and two upstairs and has no improvements. The claimant does not live on this parcel but has leased it when she could. It has very little value.
CLAIM OF ADDISON J. DUNHAM
This property is a small farm with buildings. The whole property is 27.9 acres, of which all but 7/10 of an acre in a highway is taken. The part left is practically of no value whatever. This farm is in the town of Prattsville and adjoins the Brenn farm in the direction of Grand Gorge. The claim is $12,000.00. The buildings are in excellent condition, and the property is very well kept up. There are a considerable number of fruit trees, berry bushes, etc. on the property and a very old elm tree, which is worthy of note and has been pictured in official publications of the Conservation Commission as one of the finest types of elm trees in the State. The property was purchased by Mr. Dunham in 1906 for $3,000.00. Many improvements have been made since. Mr. Dunham has built two sheds, a garage, resided the barn, shingled the roof, placed a new steel roof on the whole house and porches, new sink and plumbing, installed heat and bath tub. Claimant cannot state how much these improvements cost. Mr. Dunham has also improved the land, both as to fences and increasing its fertility so that it is now said to produce one and one-half times as much as it did at the time of the purchase. Trees have been planted to take the place of those which died off and many new ones. An average of thirty barrels of apples, twelve barrels of pears, five or six bushes of plums are produced annually; also cherries, raspberries, etc. many of which are sold. Claimant keeps about eight cows, also raises considerable garden truck, which is sold in Prattsville and occasionally at Grand Gorge and Stamford.
The land all lies along the Schoharie Creek, is flat and fertile. We consider that the farm was fairly worth $6400.00 in November last, and that the small part which is not taken by the City is of nominal value only.
CLAIM OF CHARLES BRENN
The property consists of a farm of about 92 acres, of which 5 3/12 acres are taken, with all the buildings, leaving to the owner 88 8/10 acres. All water connected with the farm is taken, including two driven wells and two springs. This is a very large house, containing 25 rooms, originally built for a boarding house. Some of the rooms are occupied by members of Mr. Brenn= s family, and some are unused. It cannot be said that this house is suitable to the premises as a farm proposition, and it is in only fair condition. The land is average pasture land, with the exception of that immediately surrounding the house, which is of very good quality; hay is the principal crop. Brenn claims that he paid $15,000 for the whole property, but it developed that the transaction was a trade, by which Brenn deeded two other farms some distance from Prattsville, together with $3,000 in cash, for this farm, which was sold in 1907 for $5,500.00. In company with the claimant we visited the farms which he claims were figured in on the trade at $12,000.00. These two farms, which adjoin and constitute one property, are almost inaccessible and it is preposterous to consider them worth $12,000.00; one third of that sum would be a reasonable figure.
About five years ago, on the property taken, Mr. Brenn built a new and very good barn, an a poultry house. The barn was built by day labor and claimant is unable to state its cost except in a general way. Some changes have been made in the house so as to adapt it for use by more than one family and at one time Mr. Brenn had a tenant for five rooms in this house, receiving a rental of $6.00 per month.
A fair valuation of the whole farm, considering the size of the house and the size and condition of the barn, is $10,000.00, while the residue after the taking has a fair market value of $1,400.00.
CLAIM OF FRED JORDAN
This property consists of a building of conglomerate architecture and a leading platform built by the claimant for the carrying on of his business of manufacturing ice cream and soft drinks; adjoining this is a shell which is, by courtesy, called an ice house. The lot was purchased by the claimant in 1913 for $25.00 and contains about 6/10 of an acre, 2/3 of which is under the waters of the Schoharie creek; its only merit is that it is conveniently located for cutting and storing ice which the claimant owns in his business. The buildings are only five years old, but because of poor material used in construction and look of care appear much older. The property is really an eyesore but nevertheless the buildings do answer the purpose for which they were constructed, and did evidently cost a considerable sum as there was a quantity of concrete of a poor quality used.
It is clear that the machinery in the building cannot be considered a part of the realty; much of it has been used elsewhere, some has been disconnected and placed beneath the building for storage, and the claimant testified that such as is in use may be disconnected and used elsewhere. Our personal view convinces us that this machinery is personal property and we make no award for its value.
The property has practically no value, except for the purposes for which the claimant uses it. We have agreed that $1800.00 constitutes his just and equitable compensation for the taking.
CLAIM OF RALPH MOORE
This parcel consists of a long, narrow lot, partly under water, contain .579 acres, upon which is an old dwelling, a chicken house, barn and woodhouse. All is taken. The claim is for $2800.00. The property was purchased by claimant in 1905, for $135.00, since which time he has made considerable improvements thereon; amount other things, he has shingled and patched the roof of the house, papered and painted some of the rooms, and by inserting partitions, has fixed the house so that it now contains six rooms, although when originally purchased it had but four. These partitions are not lathed or plastered, bu t are papered.
This property is immediately below the suspension bridge at Prattsville; it is habitable and that is about all that can be said for it.
CLAIM OF CLARISSA C. SOULE
This is one of several small parcels containing no buildings, lying between the Schoharie Creek and the Prattsville-Gilboa highway, at the outskirts of Prattsville, for which claims are presented to us. There is very little value attached to any of these lots, which are partly under water and not at all suitable for building purposes. This is the smallest of these lots but at the same time the most valuable because upon it is a spring of soft water from which claimant obtains the water with which she does laundry work. While she has water from a well beside her house across the road, it is said to he hard and not suitable for laundry work. We consider this lot worth $250.00
CLAIM OF GAMALIEL HUGGINS
DISSENTING MEMORANDUM BY CHAIRMAN AUSTIN
In view of my lengthy discussion of the award for the Charles Lewis farm, I shall have little to say here, other than to express my deep conviction that this claimant is not receiving just compensation. Certainly no one can complain concerning the access to this farm, for it is within a few hundred feet of a state road leading direct to all claimant= s markets. The buildings are all in practically perfect condition; the barn is the best we have seen, although not the largest; the fine concrete floors throughout this barn and wagon house are worthy of note, and all the farm buildings are in keeping. The dwelling is pleasantly situated, fronting the highway, and the Schoharie Creek and is as comfortable as one could wish; an expensive, well built stone wall along the bank of the Schoharie Creek protects from the ravages of occasional highwater, and the highway here is lined with two rows of maple trees, which could only be replaced by the lapse of many years. Were this farm as large as the Lewis farm, it would possibly be worth more money because of its location. While not so much land is taken for Huggins as from Lewis, still al the bottom land (the heart of both farms) is appropriated. I do believe, however, that much of the land left to Huggins is better than that remaining to Lewis.
I am as earnest about this property as concerning the two Lewis farms and firmly believe that the sum determined upon by my associates as an award in this case is entirely inadequate.
Of the 189.072 acres in this farm, the petitioner takes 66.258 leaving 123.814 acres in the residue.
The dwelling house and all the other buildings, with the exception of one small structure, are on the part taken.
The farm contains about fifty acres of flat tillable land, admittedly fertile and ranking high as to productivity. In fact, the testimony records remarkably high yields of corn, onions, barley, alfalfa and other products on this tract.
The Schoharie Creek runs along the entire north-westerly boundary of the farm, a distance of about one mile.
The property was purchased in 1887, the consideration named in the deed being $6,488.88, though the claimant said he thought the consideration was $7,000.00.
Since the purchase the claimant has made valuable improvements, notably the barn, which was erected in 1911.
A long stone decking or retaining wall along the creek, barnyard improvements, ditches, the clearing of the land of stones and the meadow land of brush, the construction of a woven wire fence, 160 rods in length and numerous improvements to the house, have given to the place exceptional value as a farm property.
The claimant= s witnesses placed valuations on the entire property ranging from $22,710.00 to $20,000.00, and on the residue of from $3,975.00 to $1,220.00. One of the Petitioner= s witnesses valued the whole at $9,000.00 and the residue, after the taking, at $3,000.00. The other witness for the petitioner valued the whole at $9,500.00 and the residue at $2,500.00, leaving the damage, in his opinion, at $7,000.00.
Weighing all the evidence, after a careful examination of the property by the Commission, it is our opinion that the fair and full market value of the whole property, at the time of the taking by the Petitioner, was $16,000.00 and of the residue, $2,800.00, and that the fair market value of the residue after the completion of the reservoir by the Petitioner will be $2000.00, leaving the claimant damaged in the sum of $14,000.00.
The sum of $14,000.00 is the amount ascertained and determined by us, to be paid to the owner of the said land, for the taking of the fee, and in full satisfaction of all damage sustained or that may be sustained by him by reason of the acts of the Petitioner herein.
Commissioner Shea concurs.
CLAIM OF MAUDE K. TRIPP
This property consists of about 4 2 acres of land lying along the Schoharie Creek, about a mile below Prattsville village, a small one and one-half story house and a small barn. The claimant purchased the property in 1910 for $900.00 and it is claimed that about $200.00 has since been spent in repair.
The Commission stopped at this place upon several different occasions, but it always appeared unoccupied and we were unable to inspect the interior, except through the windows. This gave us a very good idea of its condition, however. For the future historian of Prattsville and vicinity, it may be well to record that this property is the A Red Eagle@ of lamented memory to many a convivial spirit, and we consider its present fair market value as $1500.00
CLAIM OF MARTIN AND LOTTIE CASWELL
The whole farm of the claimants contains 173.3 acres, of which 122.7 acres is taken in these three parcels; it was stipulated that they should be tried together as one claim. The property was bought by the claimants about five years ago for $3500.00, and has been considerably improved by them. The arm adjoins that of the Merwin= s, Parcel No. 310, but the witnesses seem to agree that this soil is not so fertile.
The buildings are not very good. The house is a scant two stores in height in the center, and has a one story wing on both sides; the paint is poor, the foundations bad, and the building shows many signs of decay. The main barn is in better shape and quite good sized, but the other out buildings are pretty poor. There is, however, a considerable quantity of wood on the premises, and the property maintains twenty three cows, three horses, several hogs and some young stock.
The part of the property which the City does not take is not of much value. After comparing this farm with others in the vicinity, we are certain that our award is a fair one.
CLAIM OF GEORGE AND IDELLA MERWIN
This is a farm, located between Gilboa and Prattsville, consisting of 180.2 acres, of which 95.1 acres are taken. The property runs to the center of the Schoharie Creek and from thence to the westward well up the side of the mountain. The part taken includes all the flat land along the creek and a part of the mountain side, together with all the buildings. This farm is peculiarly placed and lies in three counties. Practically all of the flat land appears to be tillable and is good rich land. The buildings consist of a two story house, with a one story addition; the paint is poor, but the exterior appears to be in fair condition. In the real of the house is a woodshed in fair condition. The house contains eight rooms, halls and closets, and is not in very good condition There is a good size barn in fair shape, with good roofs; a corn crib is attached and two small additions, which are in fair condition. There is a wood house and garage also attached to the barn, but these are not painted and in very poor condition, although answering their purpose. Attached to another side of the barn is a good size milk house, in very good condition. The property is supplied with water from a spring upon the mountain side which is piped to both the barn and the house. There is also a medium sized cow stable attached to the large barn. After the taking about eight six acres will remain, all of which is mountain side pasture, containing some fire wood but little or no merchantable timber.
This is a very good farm property, although the buildings are not very good and its location is not the best, and it has doubtless been much improved since purchased by the claimant in 1910 for $5500.00. We consider its fair market value at the present time to be $8600.00 and the part left after the taking to be worth $10.00 per acre.
CLAIM OF LOREN P. COLE
Not a great deal need be said concerning the Cole farm, in view of what is said later about the Caswell and Merwin farms, Parcels Nos. 210, 211, 212 and 213, which are in the same immediate vicinity, except that we consider this property a little better than the Caswell farm and not quite so good as that belonging to the Merwins.
The claimant does not occupy this property, but for twenty-six years has leased it to one De Money under an arrangement by which the latter takes care of the premises, seed the land, pays the taxes and pays Cole $175.00 per year. If this arrangement contemplated that the tenant should keep the buildings in good repair, it has not been fulfilled in that particular. The claimant testified that he has leased the property to De Money at a very low rental (which we judge to be true) because of the relations between them, which have been very close for many years.
CLAIM OF CHARLES LEWIS
There are 453.2 acres of this farm, of which the petitioner takes 179.296, leaving 273.04.
The property is located on the westerly bank of the Schoharie Creek. The flat upon which the dwelling house and other buildings are located contains about 40 acres, separated by a natural terrace from another parcel of 17 acres of level land, and above this are about 3 acres of meadow land on the side hill, with another meadow to the north containing about 15 acres. Adjoining this to the north is a fertile basin under the mountains, containing about 40 acres and supplied with a number of springs. The farm also contains a well-watered pastured of 60 acres besides considerable woodland. The part which remains to the claimant consists of about 73 acres of pasture and timber land on the side of the hill and what is known as the A Hubbard farm@ on the top of the hill, which contains approximately 200 acres.
There was some discussion and considerable testimony as to the value of this so-called A Hubbard farm@ , which is now a part of the Charles Lewis farm. It was contended by some that it was practically worthless, yet, upon examination, one of the claimant= s witnesses admitted that he had known it for 25 years before it was purchased by the claimant herein; that its owner, Hubbard, lived there during that period, tilling the land and conducting a dairy farm. This land, togther with about 73 acres of pasture and timber land, remains in the possession of the claimant.
The dwelling house, barn and other buildings, at the time the petitioner acquired title, were in exceptionally good condition and were well adapted to the purposes for which the farm was used. The residence was constructed for the accommodation of two families, contained 16 rooms, 4 hallways and two cellars and about one-half of the building was practically new, with modern convenience.
The barn, one-half of which was built by the claimant after the purchase of the arm, was large, its main dimensions being 40 x 100, with 24 foot posts, and it was provided with every facility and convenience required on a dairy farm. It had 62 stanchions, four box stalls, a silo 14 x 14 feet, 24 feet high, and direct independent entrance from the ground to each of three stories.
Claimant also built a milk house, doubled the capacity of the wagon house and greatly improved all of the buildings, with the exception of the sheep house, which is of small value.
There is a valuable spring near the sap house and claimant laid a pipe to carry this water to the barn.
Upon the land were 159 fruit-bearing trees and 108 trees form two to five years of age. There is a > sap-bush= producing about 200 gallons of maple syrup each year, but only a part of this bush is in the part taken by the petitioner. The one handicap to the property is the character of the road over which its products and supplies must be hauled being at times almost impassable.
Here again we are confronted with the irreconcilable conflict of the experts, one witness for the claimant placing the value of the whole farm at $34,072.00, and a witness for the petitioner placing it at $9,500.00. The highest of the claimant= s witnesses, said that the damage sustained by the claimant was $31,332.00 ($1,332.00 more than the amount of the claim filed by the claimant= s attorneys), while the City= s witnesses practically agreed that the amount of the damage was $7,500.00.
The claimant= s timber expert placed a valuation of $4,380.00 on the timber taken. Petitioner= s expert said its value was $836.28.
Leaving the embattled experts in aerial combat and talking into consideration the amount of land involved and the amount of the enhancement of the land by the buildings thereon, we are of the opinion that the full and fair market value of the entire property, at the time of the taking by the petitioner, was $30,000.00, and that the fair market value of the residue, be $2,200.00. Therefore, the sum of $17,800.00 is the amount ascertained and determined by us to be paid to the owner for the taking of the fee and in full satisfaction of all damage sustained or which may be sustained by him by reason of the acts of the petitioner herein.
Commissioner Shea concurs.
DISSENTING MEMORANDUM OF CLAIM OF CHARLES LEWIS BY CHAIRMAN AUSTIN
It is with the deepest regret that I am impelled to dissent from the determinations of my associates upon this commission as to the three large farm claims which have been presented to us, this farm and those of Emery Lewis and Gamaliel Huggins. From an intimate association with them over a period of ten months, I have learned to respect the soundness of their judgment and to deeply appreciate the earnest, conscientious effort to do justice to all the parties to these proceedings which has been manifested by each; I can only hope that I have been equally sound, earnest and conscientious. Their determination in this case I respect, knowing that it springs from deep conviction, and I feel sure that they entertained the same view toward the motive which compels me to dissent. It is indeed a matter for self congratulations that, with the many diversified claims presented to us, we have been able to agree as to practically all of them.
Returning to a discussion of this particular parcel, may it be said that I was born and brought up in a farming community; my father was a farmer for many years, my ancestors in both lines have been farmers, and all my life I have lived in an atmosphere of contempt for a poor farm and a poor farmer, and admiration for and appreciation of the value of a good farm and of a good farmer. This is a good farm, and a large one according to the standards of the east, containing as it does some four hundred and fifty acres.
In reaching a determination concerning such a property as this, it seems to me that we should look at it from a different angle than we use for village residential property. The state is full of villages similar to Gilboa and Prattsville, and, while one cannot carry associations and friends to another location, it is my belief that all of the claimants whose cases we have tried, with the exception of the three referred to specifically in this memorandum, can, for the compensation awarded locate themselves elsewhere with the same physical comforts which they now enjoy.
But the state is not full of farms such as the Charles Lewis farm; building lots may be purchased on every hand, but bottom flats like those of this claimant are a prize for any agriculturalist.
I have no fault to find with the description of this property as given by Commissioner Quinn, but it does not sufficiently emphasize the details which appeal to me; I shall, therefore, attempt to describe which appeal to me: I shall, therefore, attempt to describe it myself, as I saw it.
The farm lies between Gilboa and Prattsville, about one and one-half miles from Gilboa; the land is flat and extremely fertile along the Schoharie Creek, upon which it fronts for a distance of over 5800 feet, or considerably more than a mile. From these flats the farm slopes gently upward to the hills which will form one of the natural banks for the Schoharie reservoir. Of this land about 73 acres, or practically all of the flat bottom land, is under cultivation, as I understand the testimony and recall from the note taken upon our visit to the farm, while the slopes are partly meadow, but largely pasture and woodland; of this woodland a part is a fine maple sap brush.
Upon the lowland we found, not the finest, but one of the finest sets of farm buildings I have seen in the Catskill region. This is a farmer= s farm, not what we call a A gentleman= s farm@ ; the buildings are practical, not built for display, but were nevertheless in the very best condition, almost without exception, well and neatly painted, and, if beauty is an asset to a farm, this property certainly presented a most pleasing picture.
The house is large, containing sixteen rooms, four halls and four or five closets; it is arranged for occupancy by two families, the claimant using one side and his son the other. One-half of this house is actually now, having been built within four years, while the whole house form cellar to attic is in excellent condition in every way. The large barn was entirely reconstructed in 1903 and was as good as new; it was very large, sided all over, has an excellent roof and was well painted; it has entrances at three levels. The main part of the barn is 40 x 100 feet in size, with 24 foot posts and stables in the basement; where stanchions run the entire length of the barn; there are also four ordinary horse stalls and four box stalls in the basement. Above there are great bays for the hay (the one in the center being double), a large, convenient storage room for the farm machinery, and excellent grain bins. The silo is built in the barn and it has an excellent system of ventilation installed which keeps the air pure and sweet. There is a large corn crib in the best of condition and neatly painted; the same may be said of a good sized two story building erected in recent years for a farm shop, store room, poultry house and hog pen, the latter having a concrete floor. There is a large two story wagon house in fine condition, an excellent milk house or creamery, a good sized ice house, very recently built but not painted, a brick smoke house, a sheep barn which is old and not very good, and a sap house of little intrinsic value. There is a thrifty orchard, many of the trees just coming into bearing, and a large quantity of merchantable timber.
While ordinarily I do not give a great deal of weight to the structural value testimony, yet here I am impressed by the fact that the testimony is that it would have cost upwards of $23,000.00 to reconstruct these buildings in November last, and these figures, in my judgment, are not much out of the way.
It is very unlikely that MR. Lewis can purchase another farm like this, with similar building, but if he can I am very certain he cannot buy one for $17,800.00; he is a farmer, a man of years, not fitted for other employment, and certainly cannot live as he has upon the income from $17.800.00. The more I think about this parcel the more I am convinced that the award for which I have voted is certainly none too large.
Commissioner Quinn refers to the access to this farm; I fear he was too deeply impressed by our ride to this property, which was after a succession of heavy rain, when all country rads were bad. The road along the creek from the Lewis farm to Gilboa is level, with hardly any grade, and in ordinary weather is a good road, I have no doubt, and the witnesses so testified, the evidence being that at almost any time a single team draws a two ton load over it.
Commissioner Quinn= s memorandum refers to the possibility of a living being derived form the part of the farm which is not taken. I refuse to discuss this seriously because there is not an acre of good tillable soil and not a single building upon it. True, some poor soul might build a couple of shacks and eke out a living there, but were the claimant to erect only his present house and barn upon this residue after receiving his award, he would be money out of pocket.
I should like to refer at length to the quantity of valuable timber upon this farm; to the gross sales of milk, wool, lambs and other farm products which amounted to nearly $5,000.00 in 1917, not including the living which the claimant= s family and his son= s family obtained from the property, and many other points which affect its value. But this memorandum is already too long and space and time will not permit. Such farmers as Charles Lewis should be kept in the farming business, especially now, if ever, when the life of the nation depends upon agriculture. In my opinion, he is not receiving just and equitable compensation.
CLAIM OF RENE E. BROWNELL
MEMORANDUM BY CHAIRMAN AUSTIN
Brownell is the owner of a small farm located approximately one mile from the Village of Gilboa, upon the improved highway running to West Conesville. The whole property consists of 36.2 acres of land, with the buildings thereon, in pretty good condition, which are a house of fourteen rooms, a fair size barn, hen house and workshop. The whole farm and all the buildings, except a rough sap house, lie upon the upper side of the road, with exception of a small parcel containing a little more than half an acre, which lies on the lower side of the highway. This small parcel, with a narrow strip on the upper side of the highway, is taken by the City of New York.
The claimant purchased the property in 1914 for $3800.00. The evidence shows that he has improved the whole property to a considerable extent, and I am of the opinion that it had, at the time of the vesting of title in the City of New York, a fair market value of $5000.00. This value will be but slightly reduced by the loss of the parcel taken and, in my judgment, the fair market value of the remainder is $4900.00.
The claimant= s experts estimated the direct and indirect damage combined at from $2500 to $3000, while the witnesses for the City estimated that the indirect damage would be nothing and the direct damage from twenty to twenty-five dollars. I do not believe that the whole property is damaged from five hundred to eight hundred dollars by the taking of the half acre parcel. It seems to me that the direct damage is not over $100.00 at the outside. The parcel taken would not have this value did it not, to an extent, protect the view from the house and furnish a means of access to the Manorkill Falls. I believe, however, that the market value of this particular property would be affected to some extent by the acts of the City of New York which would result in wiping out the village of Gilboa. Proximity to such a village operates to the advantage of a property of this character, in my judgment, but such things less affect the value of property in the country than in the city. I, therefore, believe that a fair allowance for the indirect damage to this property is $500.00, making the total award $800.00.
CLAIMS MARY A. CLARK
Claimant= s property consists of about one acre of land, upon which is a small house and an old unpainted shop and barn. About one-half acre is taken by the city, including all the buildings. We are unable to see any great value in this property, aside from the beautiful view of the Schoharie valley. The house is very old, although in fairly good condition; it has four rooms, closet and pantry, and unplastered kitchen on the first floor, above which are two bedrooms with very low ceilings; the stairs are very steep. Water is piped to the kitchen from a spring which is not on claimant= s property. The shop and barn are unpainted, or at least all traces of original paint have disappeared; the roof on the barn is good but that on the shop is very poor. The approach from the highway is quite steep. On the part of the premises not taken by the City there are 12 apple trees; on the part taken there are 5 apple and 10 plum trees, half a dozen shade trees, & currant bush and grapevine. The property is leased for $75.00 per year to persons who occupy the same only during the summer months, leaving their furniture in the house during the rest of the year. We have examined this property carefully and consider that our award is adequate.
CLAIM OF ADELAIDE A. BAILEY
These two parcels are divided only by the Prattsville-Gilboa highway; the buildings are all upon Parcel No. 190, and it was stipulated upon the record that both claims be tried as one and that but one award be made for the whole property. The property is of peculiar shape; lies upon a steep side hill, fronts upon the improved highway leading from West Conesville to Gilboa, from which it is distant about 3/4 miles. It is divided about in the center by the Prattsville-Gilboa highway, about 5 1/3 acres lying between the Prattsville highway and the West Conesville highway and 4.078 acres between the Prattsville highway and the Schoharie Creek, to the center of which it runs. The whole property contains about 9 2 acres and is taken by the city in its entirety. The buildings consist of a house, a workshop, an old building said to be used a s a garage, and an outside toilet. The property has not been occupied winters for several years, but is used a part of the summer, it is claimed. The house is old, unpainted and weather beaten, but the roof seems to be tight; the condition of the other buildings is very poor. There are a few fruit trees upon the property, as well as some pine and other trees. The view from the house is very fine, but that is not unusual because almost every property in this vicinity has a fine view.
The claimant= s evidence as to the market value of this property at the time of the taking is not at all satisfactory. The witness Coutant, who resides at Kingston, N.Y., and claimed to have no knowledge whatever of sales of real property in Schoharie County, estimated the value of the whole property (both parcels) as $6,000.00. He apparently based this estimate upon an idea that this property has an unusual value as a site for a bungalow colony, because of the view therefrom, and its proximity to the Schoharie Creek and the falls of the Manor Kill. It does not, however, appear that there is a demand or market for property of this character in this vicinity, and the testimony of Mr. Coutant, while very picturesque, affords but little basis for determining fair market value. It requires a very discerning eye to discover the A bungalow colony@ possibilities of this steep side hill, one which no member of this Commissioner seems to possess.
The only other witness for the claimant testifies to the so-called A structural value: of the buildings.
The witnesses for the City fixed the fair market value of the property at $900.00 and $800.00, respectively. We think these figures too low, however, and in our opinion the fair market value of the two parcels on November 24, 1917, was $1700.00. We have fixed upon the same value for this parcel as for No. 196, Mary A. Clark claimant, which is nearby; while there is more land with the Baily property, it has very little value, and the Clark house is in much the better condition.
CLAIM OF JESSE BAILEY
The lot is a steep bank, not suitable for cultivation. The house is a shell and in miserable
condition. Claimant purchased the property in May, 1913, for $400.00 and he claims to have spent in the neighborhood of $100.00 for improvements which are not greatly in evidence now. This property is about 3/4 of a mile from the village of Gilboa on the Conesville improved highway, and has rented for $4.00 per month, the tenant paying the water rental of 50 cents per month.
CLAIM OF NONIE RICHTMYER
This parcel is at the extreme easterly end of the village of Gilboa, and is the last house on the north side of Main Street; it is next westerly from the Gilboa Cemetery. The whole property contains 42.8 acres, of which 26. 836 and all the buildings are taken, leaving about 16 acres; it fronts 321.7 feet on Main Street and extends up on the hill in the rear and around behind a number of adjoining properties. There is a flag walk in front of the house and nice shade trees around it. The house is two stories high, is painted white and has no piazza; it has not been painted for some time, but nevertheless the exterior is in pretty fair shape. This house is very wide in front and the entrance is in the center, and may be said to be colonial in style. There is an addition in the rear, containing a woodshed, which is painted red and has a good roof. The house sets about 25 feet back from the sidewalk on high ground, but the law in front is only in fair condition. The hall is in the center of the house and good size; on the first floor there are six rooms, one closet, no pantry, but there are good built in cupboards. The ceilings are not very high. The paint and paper on the first floor are in good condition, and the rooms are large and airy. There are two cellars; the one under the kitchen is small, with a wood floor and dry walls; the other cellar has a cement floor, extends under part of the main house, and has painted walls, in good condition. There is a small perch in the rear of the house. On the second floor there are six rooms, two closets, with a large hall; these rooms are all fair size, ant the paint and paper is good. The ceilings are of medium height. Two of these rooms over the kitchen have low ceilings and poor paint and paper; there is a large attic. The house is heated by stoves and has no electric lights; village water is just outside of the rear door and not extended into the house. There is a large garden in the rear, with a fairly good orchard at the right of the house. There are a number of fruit trees which look thrifty. Some are young and some are quite old. There are also a large number of berry bushes in the rear of the property and upon the part taken is a very good spring. The barn is small, with a flat roof, covered with tin; it seems to be in fair condition. Inside it is not in as good condition as on the outside, the floor being rather poor. In the rear of the house is a small poultry house covered with paper and in good condition. A part of the land, which is flat , is tilled and seems to be very good soil; the balance upon the hills is good pasture and meadow land and well fenced with wire. There are some bushy trees on the hill, but none are of any great size.
Claimant leases one side of the house for $6.00 per month, and the pasture and tillable land for an aggregate yearly rental of $57.00.
While this house is old and has no modern improvements, it is in fairly good condition, and, in view of the location and quality of land taken, we think the sum of $5400.00 is proper compensation.
CLAIM OF EMMA STEVENS
This property is on the northerly side of Main Street in the village of Gilboa, and consists of a fair sized lot containing a house, barn and small poultry house. The property is situated in the easterly end of the village, upon high land, and is one of the attractive properties in the village. There is a good sized garden plot, which appears to contain very good soil, and a few fruit trees. The house is of the old colonial type, but with a modern piazza on the front which does not improve its appearance. It sets about 20 feet back from the street, is well painted in white, and is a very attractive house. The whole exterior appears to be in very good condition. There is a picket fence along the whole frontage, well painted, and in good condition, and five maple trees shading the house very nicely. The heavy cornice of this house is particularly attractive. The main part is two stores in height and there is an addition in the rear, which is one story high. There is a flag walk in front of the property, in good condition, and also a walk leading from the street to the house, which is of flag, and in good condition. There are heavy stone front steps leading up to the piazza. This piazza is rather narrow, but in very good shape. The entire interior of the house is in excellent condition, well painted and papered. The main floor has very high ceilings and contains a large parlor, sitting room, large bedroom, two closets, a very nice wainscoted kitchen, pantry, with a very good cupboards built in, and a summer kitchen and wood house. The second floor has two large bedrooms, two small bedrooms, one maid= s bedroom, three large closets and a storage room over the kitchen. The attic is large and dry. There is a fine cellar under the whole main part of the house, with a flag floor in excellent condition. The house is heated with a hot air heater, the furnace being set in concrete. All the foundations and foundation walls are well painted and in excellent condition. The barn is rather small and not painted, and the roof looks to be in poor condition. Alongside of the barn is a shed which is not large, but in good condition. There is also a small chicken house. The flag walks run around the house along the easterly side and outside the door of the summer kitchen is a flag square about 11 x 9 in size.
The claimant purchased this place about four years ago for $2200.00. Some minor improvements have been made since that time.
CLAIM OF OLD SCHOOL BAPTIST CHURCH OF GILBOA
This property consists of a good sized lot in the village of Gilboa upon which stands a church building, with open sheds or stables in the rear. In 1867 one Ezra Sellick conveyed to the then trustees of this church that part of the land which fronts upon the main street and upon which the church was subsequently erected. The deed contain ed the following provision: -
A This conveyance is understood and is to be for the express purpose
of the building a house and church and occupying the same for church
purpose of the said church or any other of the same faith and order and
in case that for any cause said church should not be built or if built
should not be occupied for church purposes as aforesaid, then in that
case the premises hereinbefore mentioned shall revert back to the
parties of the first part, their heirs and assigns, and the buildings and
appendages thereon, if any, to be disposed of by the said Society and
for the benefit thereof as may be thought best to their advantage.@
It has been suggested that under this provision the church authorities may not be entitled to the entire award, although no person has presented a claim for an award for this possible reversionary right.
We are of the opinion that there is no reversionary right. If the deed be carefully read, it will be seen that any right to a reversion must be based upon the failure of the grantee in two respects: (1) to build a church, or that the church (2), A if built, should not be occupied for church purposes as aforesaid.@ The first condition is dismissed at once, because the church was built; as to the second, it appears that the church has been continuously used as a place of worship by this denominations for fifty years. We think such continuous occupancy for the purposes mentioned fulfilled the condition imposed by the deed of conveyance and destroyed any possibility of a reverter to Ezra Sellick, or his heirs. This clause in the deed must be strictly construed; it does not say that reversion shall take place if the property shall, after use for some time for church purposes, cease to be so used. What it does say is that if the grantees built a building on this lot but did not use it for church purposes, then there should be a reversion of the land only. The church was built, it has been continuously used for its designed purpose for half a century, and that use is not stopped now through any voluntary act of the church authorities, but because the supreme power of the state demands the property for a public purpose.
Under these circumstances, we believe that the church itself is entitled to the entire award, that the conditions of the deed have been fully performed, and that no right of reversion to any part of Parcel No. 175 existed when the City took title.
There is no question as to the church building, under the terms of the deed, neither is there any question as to the complete ownership of the rear portion of the lot upon which the sheds stand; this prat was subsequently purchased by the church authorities and the deed contains only the usual clauses of conveyance.
However, in order that there may be no necessity for sending this report back to the Commission, if the Court should disagree with us as to the effect of the Sellick deed, we have made findings in such detail as to permit the court to distribute the award in such manner as to it shall seem proper.
CLAIM OF HATTIE T. STEVENS
This residential property is centrally located on the northerly (the better) side of Main Street, Gilboa. The lot has a frontage of 130 feet, is 179 feet deep and is one of the bet building lots in the village. It contains a fine vegetable garden and a beautiful old fashioned flower garden, with many hardy perennial plants of value, also a number of fruit trees and berry bushes.
The claimant is an elderly lady who has lived on the premises all her life; the house as built by her father 80 or 90 years ago, but, in spite of its age, shows no signs of decay, and is in first-class condition, having been kept in good repair. This house is surprisingly roomy inside and the construction is of the very substantial style of the period. The barn on the premises is not in very good condition. The parcel is fairly worth $3900.00, at which sum we have fixed the award.
CLAIM OF ERNEST E. BILLINGS
We consider this to be the best residential property in the Village of Gilboa. It is located on the south side of Main Street near the easterly end of the village, and the lot is probably the bet on that side of the street. This lot has a frontage of about 1865 feet, is nicely graded and the lawn is in the best of condition. The house, while the framework is old, has been altered and rebuilt so as to have the appearance of a good sized modern house. Not only does it bear that appearance, but is such in fact. The exterior is in excellent condition, the roofs excellent, the paint good and the piazza long and wide. The interior is of modern design, the woodwork, paint, paper etc., being in the best of condition. On the main floor the rooms open into the others, giving a light, airy and attractive appearance. The floors down stairs are of hard pine, laid double thickness. On this floor there are three large living rooms, a large kitchen and the offices of the claimant, who is a physician, which are two in number, and a small laboratory or work room. Up stairs there are four excellent sleeping rooms, a very large hall and an excellent bath room. The cellar is remarkably fine, being practically all concrete, and equipped with a fine concrete shelf and various labor saving devices. The house is heated by a modern hot water system, lighted with electricity and has all the improvements which go with a modern house.
The barn or garage is not large, but is in excellent condition outside and within; it is lighted by electricity. The house is surrounded with cement walks, connecting it with the street and barn.
In 1910 the buildings were partially destroyed by fire; completely reconstructed and improved thereafter, they are now as good as new for all practical purposes. The property would be considered a desirable residence in almost any community, and the award upon which we have agreed is but fair to the claimant.
CLAIM OF CHARLES A. CLARK
For this property, consisting of a house, barn and lot on Main Street in the Village of Gilboa, we have agreed upon an award of $5500.00. This is a very attractive residence, the house being large, well arranged, attractively situated and in first-class condition; the barn is in keeping with the house in general appearance. The lot has a frontage of 151 feet on Main Street and is about 155 feet deep, but the rear part consists of a precipitous wooded bank and there is no room for a garden plot. The level portion of the lot is supported by timber cribbing for a considerable distance, running about even with the real of the house. The premises were purchased by Mr. Clark in 1912 for $2750.00, but it is claimed that domestic difficulties of the grantor induced a sale at less than the true market value of the property at that time. Since the purchase the claimant has installed a hot air heating plant in the house, also a bath room and the usual plumbing, laid an oak floor in the bath room, painted the exterior of the house, done some painting and papering in the interior of the house, graded the lot to some extent, constructed some concrete sidewalk and curbing and a driveway to the barn, and constructed a poultry house. Although engaged in the plumbing and heating business, claimant was unable to give the cost, exact or proximate, of these improvements. There are no electric lights in the house. The buildings are all in very good condition, but the lot is not as desirable as many others in the village. The award is fair and reasonable.
CLAIM OF MILO WARNER AND HAZEL HOAGLAND
This property consists of a dwelling and barn on the south side of Main Street, Gilboa, with about nine acres of farm land, seven of which are bottom flats lying along the Schoharie Creek. Milo Warner has owned the property for a number of years, but in 1917 transferred his title and claim to an award form the City to his niece, Hazel Hoagland. Both appeared personally as well as by attorney, and agreed that any award for the taking should be made to both claimants jointly.
The house is quite large, not very attractive from the exterior but in fairly good condition inside. There is a bath and toilet and hot and cold water connections, but no other improvements. The main floor has five rooms, pantry and bath room, and there is a good summer kitchen; upstairs there are six rooms and closets. The interior paint and paper is fairly good. The barn is in fair condition only, and the so-called A summer barn@ and silo are of very little value. In view of the quantity of land taken, most of which is very good soil, we consider this property worth $4000.00.
CLAIM OF MINA ANN BARTLEY
This is a little old house and so-called barn near the Schoharie Creek, in Gilboa, and has practically no value, except as a garden plot. We have awarded $575.00 which is all it is worth.
CLAIM OF JOSEPHINE GORDON
The claimant purchased this property in 1907 for $600.00 and has since built a new wood house and small poultry house, put in the house three new windows, one set of blinds and a new door. She has also erected a very small porch and installed village water. The house is low and very narrow; on the main floor there are four rooms and a hall, while upstairs there are three small bedrooms, hall, closets and a small store room. There are also two rooms and a sort of pantry or cellar in the basement. These basement rooms are said to have been rented for $3.00 per month at times.
This is not a desirable property; it is a trifle more valuable that the Van Loan property, Parcel No. 158, because the lot has more frontage upon the street - the houses are similar in value.
CLAIM OF GILBERT PALMER
The value of this property lies largely in the lot, which is on the better side of Main Street in Gilboa, centrally located, has a frontage of about sixty feet and is about three hundred and twenty five feet deep, being a little wider in the rear upon than upon the street. The house is small and very old, and the exterior has not been painted for years. The roof is good, however, and the interior paint and paper is fair. Of course, this property has no such value as was place upon it by the claimant= s experts.
CLAIM OF VAN PALMER
Parcel No. 163 consists of a good, deep lot on the northerly side of Main Street in Gilboa, upon which is a comfortable two story house, a small barn in very good condition and a chicken house which has greatly depreciated.
Mr. Palmer purchased this property in 1912 for $1325.00. Since then he has improved it considerably, the principal item of expenses being the construction of the little barn, although much as has been done to improve the appearance of the house, by way of painting, papering, etc. This house is arranged for occupancy by two families, the claimant living on the first or main floor, and renting the upper floor at $5.00 per month; at one time he rented both floors for an aggregate of $12.00 per month.
On the first floor there are six rooms, hall and closets, and on the second the same number of rooms, two halls, etc. This enumeration does not include the wood shed, which is arranged for use by two families. Each floor has village water for kitchen use, but no other modern improvements. The house is, generally speaking, in good condition; there is a good garden between the house and the barn.
The verified claim filed is for $18,000.00 and represents the extreme height to which fancy and imagination can carry the expectations and hopes of an anxious litigant. We award $4,200.00.
CLAIM OF MABEL E. COLE AND GLEN E. GRIFFIN
The dwelling on this property is much more attractive on the inside; the exterior is only in fair condition and the piazza shows signs of decay. The lot is well located, fronts 49 feet on the northerly side of Main Street, Gilboa, and is 311 feet deep; there is a small unpainted barn on the rear of the lot and plenty of room for a good garden. The property was rented at $135.00 per year when the City took title, and two rooms were retained for storage by one of the claimant= s. There are 12 young thrifty fruit trees in the yard. We think the property has a fair market value of $2450.00.
CLAIM OF ELIZA J. BEVINS
This parcel is a house and small lot containing .76 acres, on the south side of Main Street, Gilboa. The property sold, in 1912, under foreclosure, for $400.00. Later in the same year, it was sold to one Wyckoff for $525.00, who again, in 1912, sold the property under peculiar circumstances to Mrs. Bevins for $900.00. At the time of these sales the property was in very poor condition, having been partly destroyed by fire theretofore. The lot has a frontage of 50 feet on Main Street and only extends about ten feet back of the house. When claimant purchased the property in 1912 most of the plaster was off the walls, the woodwork was burned and charred and the sashes and windows burned out. Since the purchase claimant has wainscoted two rooms, put plaster board all through the house, new windows, sashes and doors throughout the house. New glasses were necessary in every window and seven new doors were furnished. The property was formerly a creamery, thereafter a hardware store and later, and at the time of the fire, was a grocery store. Mrs. Bevins has made the whole house into living rooms. Three rooms up stairs have been rented at times at from two to four dollars a month. The repairs were cheaply done; The property is still in very poor condition throughout and is very unattractive; a large part of the paper inside has been put on in squares of some twenty-five or thirty different kinds of paper, giving the unique effect of a crazy patchwork quilt; there is village water upstairs and down.
This claim is one which appeals to the sympathies of the Commissioner; without criticism for any one we feel that this poor woman certainly paid more for this property than it was worth and that she has worked hard to make it habitable. But our award must not be based upon sympathy and we are utterly unable to see a value in this property greater than the amount we have awarded.
CLAIM OF FRANK VAN LOAN, PARCEL 158
The claimant purchased this residence property in 1914 for $525.00. Since then he has made some improvements and built an old barn into a small ice house, but it is still a pretty poor property and in poor condition. The house is situated upon a bank so steep that while it is only one and one-half stories at the front or street side, it is about four stories in the rear. The back part of the house has buckled and is held to the main part by iron rods put in by the claimant. However, it is a home for the claimant and his family; we have given it full consideration and consider the award we have recommended adequate.
CLAIM OF MARY E. DICKINSON
Parcel No. 155 is a dwelling house and small lot and Parcel No. 156 is a detached garden plot. Both parcels were purchased by the claimant in 1905 for $700.00, since which time the dwelling has been somewhat improved by interior painting and papering. The dwelling is a large building, setting close to the Main Street, and not very attractive in appearance. Mrs. Dickinson occupies five rooms, herself; one Bette rents six rooms and one Ballard four rooms; each pay a rental of $4.00 per month. A man named Schermerhorn occupies one large room but we are not clear whether he pays any rent. Upon all the evidence and our view of the premises, we consider the awards made as reasonable and adequate.
CLAIM OF NOBLE H. DICKINSON
Parcel No. 153 is situated on the west side of Main Street, Gilboa, and consists of a two story house, with a single story wing or addition, which sets ver close to the street, has a shingle roof over the main part of the house and a metal roof upon the addition; the shingles are decaying and in very poor condition; the tenant states that this roof leaks. There is a porch the entire length of the building on the street side; the windows on the main floor are of large size; the paint on the outside of the building is in fair condition and the house presents, generally, a neat appearance. Downstairs there are seven rooms; upstairs four rooms and closets; there is also an attic. The house is heated by stoves, has village water, a lavatory, but no bath tup and no electricity. Two of the rooms on the main floor are rented. The paint and paper in the interior is in good condition. The little one story addition contains a pantry and kitchen and is neat and well kept up. The bedrooms up stairs are of good size, but the ceilings are low. There is a cellar under the main part of the house, with a compartment for vegetables partitioned off and floored with wood. The foundation is mortar.
Parcel No. 154 belongs to the same claimant. This parcel runs to the center of the creek, is flat and should be fertile by reason of its location. There is a small unpainted barn on the lot, which does not amount to much; there are also a few fruit trees.
The claimant purchased both parcels in 1913 for $900.00 and lived there until May, 1917, when he moved away; since then the property has rented for $7.00 per month. While living in the house Mr. Dickinson put in the lavatory and connections, repaired the chimney and did some painting and papering, but the cost of these improvements does not appear.
CLAIM OF HARRISON H. AND IVA O. STRYKER
This is a house and lot on the southerly side of Main Street in the Village of Gilboa; the exterior is in very poor condition. The roof on the main part of the house is very poor and the occupant, at the time of our view, sated that it leaked badly, which its appearance would indicate; the piazza is settling and decaying, the rear of the house is weather beaten, and the little addition there looks nearly ready to fall down, and the foundation shows many cracks. There are three rooms in the basement, the addition or wing contains a kitchen and two pantries, all in good condition; the first floor of the main building has two living rooms and two bedrooms, and upstairs there are two fairly sized bedrooms, two of which are very small, and a hall; the interior paint and paper is fair. There is a small barn on the premises in very good condition. The lot is larger than most of those upon this side of the street and extends to the Schoharie Creek. The award of $1600.00 is adequate.
CLAIM OF FLEETA GILMORE
This is the property formerly known as the O= Brien Hotel, but it has not been used as a hotel for several years. It is now rented to two families at a gross monthly rental of $16.00. Claimant= s father was the owner of two mortgages upon this property, one of which was for $800.00 and the other for $1200.00. There was also a third mortgage of $500.00 upon the premises. In 1915 the two mortgages formerly belonging to claimant= s father were foreclosed and the property bid in by Joseph Gilmore, her husband, for $1500.00. Shortly thereafter he conveyed the property to Fleeta Gilmore , the claimant. The amount due upon the mortgages foreclosed at the time fo the foreclosure was approximately $3100.00. No material improvements to the property have been made by claimant since the premises were bought in at foreclosure sale. The lot contains .545 acres, with a frontage of 92 feet on Main Street, being 265 feet deep on one side and 277 feet deep on the other. The hotel appears from the front to be three stories in height, but about one-half of the third story is blind. This building sets close to the sidewalk and has a two story piazza across the entire front. The roof is part shingle and part tin. The exterior has not been painted for sometime, but the board and timbers appear sound. There are five or six shade trees in front of the building and flag sidewalks, but the exterior is not very prepossessing. There are two toilets, one upstairs and one down, but no bathroom. The first floor has seven rooms and a large built in cooler. The rooms on this floor are rather large and fairly well papered; the paint and floors are only fair. The floor in one of these rooms, which was formerly the hotel kitchen, is a fine hard wood floor, and the room is wainscoted. The second floor has 13 rooms, besides a large storage room over the cellar; the walls and paper are good, but the paint is only fair. The third floor has eight bedrooms, walls and paint good, floors fairly good. The second story piazza is in good condition, and has tin roof; this piazza extends around the north side of the house, as well as in front. There is village water; no electric lights. The cellar has a cement floor for the greater part and good painted walls; one corner is partitioned off and there is an outside and inside entrance. The barn is good size and in fairly good condition. There is also a fair size ice house, not painted, but in good condition, and seems to have been well constructed. In the rear is a fair sized garden plot. There is a small poultry house at the extreme rear of the lot.
This is a big barn of a place and of course it would take considerable money to replace the buildings. The description sounds quite formidable but there is no demand or opportunity for another hotel in Gilboa and about all that can be done with this property is to rent it as a tenement. The owner lives in Stamford and occupies no part of the premises. Our award represents its full market value.
CLAIM OF DR. ELI S. PERSONS
This property is situated on the east side of Main Street and consists of a dwelling, barn or garage, and a wide lot. The house is of the square type, two stories high and wider in the rear than in the front. The whole property consists of about six acres and is all taken. On three sides of the house is a piazza built close to the ground and in very good condition; the roof is flat and covered with metal, said to be in good condition. The house is painted white, and the exterior is in very good condition. There are two flag walks leading from the sidewalk, which is also of flag, and a driveway at the side of the house, which sets well back from the sidewalk. The main floor contains the doctor= s offices - two rooms- which are well painted and papered, and five living rooms besides the offices; these are all well papered and painted and in excellent condition in every way. There is a nice big bay window off the dining room. Up stairs there are five bedrooms, two store rooms finished off, and a large bath room, all of which are in very fine condition. The house is heated with hot air, the heater being practically new. There are electric lights throughout, hot and cold water, bathroom and lavatory. In the rear is a large wood shed with a wooden arrangement to which water from a very cold spring on the rear of the property is piped. This water is very cold and is used for refrigerating purposes. The cellar is large, in excellent condition, with outside and inside entrance and a flag and concrete floor and the foundations are in fine condition. There is a nice garden and several fruit trees in the rear, plum, pear, cherry and apple. The barn or garage is rather small, but in fine condition. The roof is flat, well sided and well painted; has two horse stalls and water is conveyed to it from the spring before referred to. There are electric lights in the barn. There is a good size hay loft in the upper part of the barn, and a hen house attached to the barn, which is in excellent condition. This is a very good property and, while the house is old, it has been completely modernized.
(Following is a statement which has been crossed off: We are absolutely unable to understand the testimony of the City= s witnesses, we place a higher value upon Parcel 155, Estate of George N. Wyckoff, then upon this property. We all agree that this is more the better and (unreadable) accordingly.
CLAIM OF LEWIS O= BRIEN, PARCEL NO. 148
This parcel adjoins No. 147, owned by the same claimant, and both parcels really constitute one property, although mapped and tried as separate parcels. Parcel No. 147 has on it the residence referred to in the memorandum upon that parcel. As stated, we consider the fair market value of the whole property at the time of the taking to have been $2650.00 and we apportion $800.00 of that sum as the award for this parcel.
CLAIM OF LEWIS O= BRIEN, PARCEL 147
This parcel and No. 148 together constitute one property, and are located on the south side of Main Street, Gilboa. On this parcel is a dwelling house, and upon No. 148 is an old barn and a nondescript building, part of which has been used as a poolroom and barber shop, but which we understand to have been utilized for storage in recent years. The whole property has a considerable frontage on the street, but the buildings are not in very good condition, although covering quite a bit of ground. The house has no modern improvements aside from village water in the kitchen, and the pain and paper is no better than fair. There is a small cellar with concrete floor and plastered walls. We feel that both parcels together are worth $2650.00 and that $1850.00 should be apportioned to Parcel No. 147
CLAIM OF MARTHA J. CHICHESTER
This property is situated on the southerly side of Main Street, Gilboa, and consists of a two story house, with good shingle roof. The lot is shallow and this property backs up against the creek bank. In front is a large and very good porch. The exterior paint and appearance of the house is good. There is a flag sidewalk in front of the house and upon both sides as well. The living room has a nice bay window in front. In the interior, on the main floor, there are four good sized rooms and pantry. These rooms are arranged in a modern fashion and open up into each other nicely. The woodwork and paint and paper down stairs are excellent, and the interior is very attractive. The house has a hot air heater, working well on the occasion of our view upon a very cold day. Village water, hot and cold, is found up stairs and down, and in the cellar, but no electricity. The hall has a good hardwood floor. On the second story there are four sleeping rooms and a bath room, all well painted and papered, and all attractive. The bath room is good size, with open plumbing. There is a closet leading off every bedroom, but no attic. This was a very old house when purchased by the claimant, but has been practically built over, at least in the interior, some nine years ago. In the basement is a large cellar and also a shop. Part of the floor is of concrete. A vegetable cellar is partitioned off from the main part, and in this vegetable cellar the foundation walls are mortared otherwise the foundation is of dry wall construction. The arrangement and condition of the cellar is very good. On the inside this house is very attractive and well kept up. It should be noted that the same person owns a garden plot a little way up the creek, Parcel NO. 168, for which a separate award is made.
CLAIM OF LUMAN HILDRETH
This property consists of a long shallow lot on the southerly side of Main Street, Gilboa, on which there are three buildings; a dwelling, a shop and dwelling combined, and a little building now used for storing an automobile. The buildings set close to the street and have no element of attraction. The exterior paint is poor, and inside the paper and paint is worse; the ceilings are bad also. Claimant rents these properties when he can, with the exception of the little shop and a room or two which he occupies; the maximum rental when occupied by four tenants has been $19.00 per month, but much of the time all or a part of the rooms have been vacant.
The property was described by one of the claimant= s witnesses as the poorest and cheapest property he had seen in Gilboa and in the worst state of repair, but in view of its size we have concluded that an award of $2700.00 is justified.
CLAIM OF LOUIS C. BALDWIN
Parcel No. 144 is a residential property situated on northerly side of Main Street, Gilboa. The lot is large, having a frontage of 137 2 feet and a dept of 187 feet. The house is large, practically square, with entrance hall in the center, and very attractive, especially inside. It is well painted and surrounded by shad trees; probably because of this shade the lawn is not in the best of condition. The house contains fourteen rooms, a bath room, and two very large halls. The floors are not of hardwood, but are in excellent condition, as is the interior paint and paper throughout. There are many closets and a good attic, also a cellar and basement in good condition. The piazza is two stories and is particularly inviting. The house is heated by a hot water system, but a number of the rooms have no radiators; it is not equipped with electric lights; the plumbing connects with a cesspool on the property. The barn is not in very good condition.
The claimant purchased the property from his brother-in-law in 1897, the consideration named in the deed being $2900.00; he testified that this represented and indebtedness due him of $1400.00 and a mortgage of $1500.00 on the premises which he assumed and paid; in addition to this the claimant agreed that his brother-in-law (Dr. Hagadorn) should occupy the premises, rent free, during his lifetime. Dr. Hagadorn lived about two years; his widow still lives on the premises and the claimant spends all or a portion of the summer there.
Since obtaining title to the property claimant has made many repairs and improvements, having installed the heating system, bath room and plumbing, built a porch on the rear of the house, rebuilt the front porches, repainted and re-roofed the house, put new sills under the same, built concrete outside entrance to the cellar, etc. We think this property not quite so valuable as the Billings property, and our award is accordingly a little less in amount.
CLAIM OF ESTATE OF HENRY N. BROWN
Although this residence is not on the Main Street in Gilboa, and is reached by the driveway leading into the barns of Sidney Rivenburgh and Dr. Baldwin, nevertheless the lot is very good and the property is easily accessible. A part of the house is very old, but about four years ago a wing, larger than the original house, was erected and this is in very good condition. There are no modern improvements in the dwelling except village water. The barn is small but in very fair condition. This is a comfortable home for the widow of Mr. Brown and her children, while the old part of house is rented.
CLAIM OF SIDNEY RIVENBURGH
Claimant owns a little less than an acre of land about in the center of the village of Gilboa, upon which stands his house and barn; he purchased the main property in 1904 for $1350.00, in 1908 he paid $30.00 for an easement for sewer purposes and in 1913 bought a small lot in the rear for $50.00. Many improvements have been made since the purchase; the barn has been shingled and a new plank floor put in, the roof of the house shingled on one side, the yard filled in, flag walks laid, kitchen repaired and raised about 18 inches, a hen house constructed, the residence painted inside and out, hot air heating plant, electric lights, bath room and necessary plumbing installed, cesspool built and connections made, new windows put in throughout the house, new eave through installed and a number of young fruit trees set out. Mr. Rivenburgh gave the cost of a portion of these improvements as follows: laying walks and filling in the yard $140.00, installation of plumbing and heating $395.00, wiring and lights $220.00, and construction of cesspool and sewer connections $200.00.
This is a very good property, but is not as valuable as some of those in its immediate vicinity. The house gives the impression of being narrow, and while it contains a large number of rooms, six of these are located in the second story of the low addition in the rear of the main building, are very small and practically of no use, unless the premises be used for keeping boarders as we understand it once was. This dwelling has a fine cellar, with a vegetable room, and the foundations are good. The barn and attached hen house are in good condition, as is the detached hen house in the rear. There is a good spring on the premises, but the village water supplies the house. All things considered, we have a agreed that $5100.00 constitutes a fair award for this parcel.
CLAIM OF AGNES WYCKOFF
Nathan C. Wyckoff, husband of the claimant, purchased this property in 1904 for $1400.00. It was conveyed to his wife in 1913, without consideration. After the purchase many improvements were made. A shed was erected on the property by Mr. Wyckoff= s son, about the ownership of which some question was raised. Upon the evidence this shed appears clearly to be a part of the realty. While the cost of constructing this shed was paid for by Mr. Wyckoff= s son Imer when first built nine or ten years ago and has been used in part by him since, it appears that there was no agreement that the shed should remain personal property and belong to Mr. Wyckoff= s son. Part of the shed has been rented to one Christman, who has paid rent to Nathan Wyckoff and the latter, at his own expense, kept the roof painted and built large swinging doors on a part of the shed and other general repairs. We have no hesitancy in concluding that the shed is a part of the realty, and Imer Wyckoff disclaims any interest in it.
After the purchase in 1904 and before transferring the property to his wife, Mr. Wyckoff made many other improvements. He says that the property, when purchased by him, was in poor condition, that it needed painting, that the cellar and basement walls were in very bad shape and the whole barn needed overhauling. Mr. Wyckoff tore out the pantry in the wing of the dwelling and put in cupboards and sink, cemented the cellar bottom in the wing, put a sink in the basement, also a window in the basement, and installed additional facilities for bringing in village water. The yard was filed in and graded, the house painted with two coats on the outside. The partitions in the basement were torn out and the cellar completely renovated. A hot water heater was installed, the heater now standing upon a concrete floor. Two toilets, two lavatories and one bath were put in. The inside of the house was papered and painted from top to bottom and certain partitions upstairs in the house were moved. The wing was raised and a second story built on it, so as to give three additional bedrooms upstairs in this wing. The horse block was rebuilt, two new windows put in the front of the house, an acetylene gas plant in installed and a fine porch built on the front of the main part of the house. The wing is rented at the present time to tenants who have been there for a number of years, at $7.00 per month.
The barn is in good condition and the lot is well located and very deep, affording space for two garden plots, one back of the house and the other on the hill above the barn. While this is as good property, the house is not in as good condition as the billings and Baldwin houses, and the property is not so valuable as either.
CLAIM OF REVILLE RICHTMYER
This property lies on the south side of Main Street in Gilboa; it consists of a small two story house and one story wing; the lot is very shallow and the rear of it is a steep bank leading down to the creek. The wing, which is settling, contains three small rooms and the main part of the house two rooms down stairs and two upstairs, besides halls and closets; in the basement there is a workshop and cellar; the ceilings are low and there are no modern improvements, except village water. The interior paint and paper is fairly good.
The claimant has owned this property since 1875, at which time he paid $700.00 for this Parcel and No. 189, a detached garden plot; since then a number of repairs have been made to the house and the village generally has been improved. We think the place was reasonably worth $1700.00 at the time of the taking.
CLAIM OF JOHN C. MATTICE
This property is a dwelling situated on the southerly side of Main Street, Gilboa, and is attached to and really a part of the building occupied by the Gilboa Grange. The lot is very shallow, but is centrally located and the house presents a very neat appearance from the outside. This house is not very large and is in rather poor condition. In reaching our conclusion we have not been unmindful of the fact that Mattice purchased this house and lot in 1913 for $300.00 and that no expensive repairs have been made since that time; we believe it was fairly worth $1150.00 on November 24th last.
CLAIM OF GILBOA GRANGE
This is a long, low, white building, situated on the southerly side of Main Street, Gilboa, used as a meeting place and recreation center by the local Grange, Patrons of Industry; a small part of the main floor has been rented for a store, but all the rest of the building is used for the purposes of the society. The lot is centrally located, but is very shallow, and is just large enough to hold the building, which is one of the oldest in Gilboa and has been commonly known for years as the A Arcade Building@ .
Aside from the store mentioned, the first floor is principally used for a kitchen and long dining room, the ceiling of which is of metal; iron posts run through this room supporting the upper floor. Upstairs the entire length of the building is used for al hall, stage and dressing rooms, the hall being equipped with a good floor for dancing. The Grange rooms are lighted by electricity and the stage has electric footlights, curtain ,drops and other scenery. The building is heated with stoves.
In 1904 a group of interested men took title to this property, at the same time entering into an agreement to convey it to the Grange upon the fulfilment of certain conditions; the testimony shows that the Grange has complied with the terms of the contract, but the title remained in the original purchasers at the time of the taking by the city. The purchase price in 1904 was either $650.00 or $700.00; since then the building has been rearranged fro use by the Grange as indicated.
Some revenue is derived from the leasing of the hall for entertainments of various kinds, and the store has rented for $40.00 per year. We cannot see any such value in this property as was put upon it by claimants= s witnesses, who estimated it at $7000.00 and $7500.00, the latter sum being given by one of the active members, and late high officer of this society; in our opinion the award we have made is full compensation.
In reaching our determination we have considered the large ice box in the store as personal property, and also the stage scenery and equipment on the authority of N.Y. Life Ins. Co., v Allison, 107 Fed. Rep. 179.
CLAIM OF TRUSTEE= S METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
This is the Methodist Parsonage. It is situated on the north side of Main Street, Gilboa, and consists of a two story white frame house, with a two story L or wing on the south side. There is also a small barn in the rear. There are cement sidewalks in front of the house. The outside paint is not very good. The roof is of shingles, in fair condition; the outside stairway entrance is very wide; the entrance hall is also wide and there is sort of a colonial doorway. In the main part of the house there are five rooms and a large hall downstairs, and four rooms and large hall up stairs. The house has running village water, but no bath. Stoves are used for heating, and there are no electric lights; the basement contains three rooms which have been finished off, but appear to be used for nothing but storage. The ceilings in the main part of the house are unusually high down stairs. The paint and paper is only fair. The bedrooms up stairs are of very good size and in the rear of the upstairs portion is a porch extending all across the rear of the building, with stairs which lead to the ground. The L or wing is occupied by a separate family, and although two stories in heights does not contain very much room. On the rear of the L is a woodshed, which is in fair condition. The lot is quite deep and contains a good size garden plot. On the rear of the lot is a small barn, which is not painted, but the woodwork is in fair condition, especially on the outside. The interior is not so good. Part of this building is used for a chicken house, and there are two horse stalls inside the barn, one of which is a closed stall.
This property is not well kept up, although the buildings are substantially built. The church authorities bought it in 1906 for $1500.00; since then new doors and stalls have been put in the barn, the yard graded, some concrete walks laid, roof renewed and gutters repaired, some papering, painting and other minor repairs made. The compensation awarded is ample.
CLAIM OF ESTATE OF GEORGE M. WYCKOFF
The property consists of a house and lot on the north side of Main Street in the village of Gilboa. It was purchased by Mr. Wyckoff in 1906 for $2000.00, since which time he has made many improvements of which the following are chief: concrete walks have been laid around the house and in front, and the yard graded and filled in to a depth of 15 inches; extensive repairs have been made to the barn, including new siding, new windows, new roof, the barn moved about 15 feet to the east, new stone foundation laid, new shed and hen house built, village water put in the barn, seven stalls constructed and a large grain box built. On the house a new veranda has been built, six new windows and a bay window constructed, stairs removed so as to provide a place for the dining room, addition built on the rear of the house of considerable size, concrete driveway constructed, acetylene gas plant, with seventeen lights installed, new sink, hot water boiler and attachments, making complete hot and cold water installation, bathroom and lavatory complete, new oak hardwood floor in the dining room, cesspool constructed, new range installed, all buildings repainted except the woodshed.
Since these improvements were made the property appears to have been somewhat neglected. The gas plant was not in use when we viewed the property, although said to be in working condition; there is no heating plant and the piazza showed signs of decay. However, this is a comfortable home, with many conveniences and we consider our award fair.
CLAIM OF STEPHEN L. HAINES
This property consists of a house, barn, small ice house and lot on the north side of Main Street, nearly opposite the post office. The house is small, is painted white and has a piazza across the front. The kitchen extension is about 20 x 20 and connects with a woodshed in the rear of the house. There are five rooms down stairs, three up stairs, besides halls and closets. The house is equipped with hot air heat and electric lights throughout. There is village water in the house, but no bath room. One room, the dining room, has hardwood floors. The lot is about 57 feet wide and 200 feet deep. The exterior paint, etc., appears to be in shape. The paint and paper inside the house is in excellent condition. There is a good cellar under the whole main part of the house. The cellar floor is of cement and the foundation walls are in very good shape. There is a cement sidewalk in front of the house and a small garden in the yard. The barn or shop is small, and is in very poor condition. The sides are in bad shape and the interior much exposed to the elements. There is also a small chicken house. The property presents a neat, well kept appearance, and was purchased by the claimant in 1897 for $1200.00. The many improvements made by him since then have added greatly to its value.
CLAIM OF HARRIET R. GAYLORD
This property is a house and small lot, containing .107 acres, situate on the southerly side of the main street in the Village of Gilboa. The property is next door to the post office and the lot is one of those which back directly up against the Schoharie Creek, there being a steep bank in the rear, with no place for a garden plot or fruit trees. The claimant owns a garden plot some distance from the house, Parcel No. 157, for which a separate award is made.
The house gives the impression, from the exterior, of being small, but seems larger when one gets inside. The exterior is in excellent condition, is well painted and the roof is very good. There is a little piazza on the front of the house, which sets close to the sidewalk, and there is also a piazza on the real overlooking the creek, and well shade by trees. The interior of the house is in excellent condition in every way; there are four rooms down stairs and two rooms and large hall up stairs. All are well papered and painted, and the interior is very neat and attractive. The kitchen has a number of very nice cupboards built in and the basement is in first-class condition. The house is heated by a hot air heating plant, set on a concrete foundation, with the air pipes covered with asbestos. All the foundations walls are very heavy and in excellent shape. There is a good cellar with a concrete floor.
This property makes a very comfortable little home for the claimant, who occupies it alone. She purchased this parcel and No. 157 in 1912 for $500.00,but has made extensive improvements to it since which she claims cost her about $1500.00, although her memory was very hazy about details; it is evident, however, that the repairs have been quite extensive.
We believe the house and lot is fairly worth $2300.00.
CLAIM OF GEORGE L. FULLER
The main floor of this building is used for the village post office. There are living rooms upstairs and in the basement the office and plant of the Gilboa Monitor, a weekly newspaper, is located. The property is on the south side of Main Street, in about the center of the business section. It presents a two story appearance from the front, but the lot is shallow and the property backs up against the steep bank leading down to the creek. The building is four stories high in the rear. There are plate glass windows in the post-office part. The building is constructed with an ornamental front; and there are stairs up the east side of the building leading to the living rooms it has a Neponsit roof over shingles, and the porch connected with the upstairs living rooms has a tin roof. These roofs are in good condition. The outside of the building is painted white and is in fair condition. The dwelling rooms upstairs, six in umber, are light and neatly kept; the paper and paint in these rooms is in fair condition, and there is a nice bay window in front; there is also a large pantry and plenty of closet room in addition to the dwelling rooms. Village water is installed in the building and the dwelling rooms have a bath and lavatory. A small back porch connects with the living rooms, as well as a side porch. The building is equipped with hot and cold water apparatus and hot air heater. There is one large room on the main floor used for the post office, with a small store room in the rear. In addition to the post office fixtures, this room contains a long counter and has evidently once been used for a store. There are electric lights in the post office room; the paint and paper in this room is not in very good condition. The basement contains the printing office and a stone stairway leads down the side of the building from the street to the basement. The heater is situated on this floor, as well as the printing press and general equipment of the newspaper office. There are electric lights in the basement. The sub-basement is open and not finished.
This building is not new and was, at one time, a store in Red Falls, a settlement some eight or nine miles from Prattsville; about 1907 it was taken down brought to Gilboa and reconstructed and seems to be a solid, substantial property. Mr. Fuller paid $1800 for the parcel at a foreclosure sale in 1911, and has since installed electric lights, constructed a pantry, enlarged the heating plant, built two new porches, covered the side stairway, put on a new Neponsit roof and made other minor repairs. $4000.00 is its fair market value.
A Note to Researchers using this Web-site: As you use this site, please keep in mind the difference between primary and secondary sources and the importance of building a preponderance of evidence. Accept nothing without further checking. It is our hope that through this collection of data from many sources, you will find a piece of the puzzle that you are working on and that may lead you to further discoveries.
Links to external web sites are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or approval of any of the products, services or opinions contained in any external web site.
Welcome Page of the Schoharie County NYGenWeb Site