This turn-of-the century photo of the Beekman Mansion recently turned up in our e-mails.

Not too long ago, the director of the library in the neighboring village of Middleburgh sent us a photo of the Beekman Mansion from the turn of the 19th century.

Always interested in how the house has changed over the years, we immediately focused on a structure that seemed to be perched on the roof.  The age of the photo made it difficult to see clearly. For weeks it remained a mystery.

Then one late summer afternoon a woman wandered into the Mercantile.  Tourist season being over we were the only ones in the shop, so I spent a good twenty minutes talking to her.  (At 88, she reminded me of some of my former patients.)

Though she now lives in Florida she had spent her early childhood in Sharon Springs and remembers when the streets were so full of people that “you couldn’t even drive a car down them”.

She also remembered visiting the Beekman as a young girl and as we chatted further, she inadvertently solved the mystery:

We climbed up into the attic of the house and rang the bell.  There was a bell on the roof that could send out a distress call in case of Indian attacks or fire.

After a few more stories, she said goodbye and wished us well.

Later that evening I pulled up the email from our friend in Middleburgh to take a closer look at the bell yoke.  While examining the picture closely, I noticed the maple trees, now giants in the front yard, just beginning to fill out, and then, the very faint image of two people sitting in the front yard beneath one of the windows.

Where are they now?  I thought.

I love to watch TV shows and read tabloid articles that give updates on formerly public figures.  I’m curious about people’s lives and the changes that occur over time.

The truth of the matter is that for most of the people with whom we cross paths we’ll never know where they’ll end up or where there lives will take them.

That’s why during Harvest Festival, as people once again crowded the streets of Sharon Springs.  We took a few moments to learn as much as we could about everyone we met.

What is your name?  Where are you from?  What do you do?

Even if you never know where people are headed, you can always wish them well on their way.

The Beekman now

by Dr. Brent

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Connie Wedding

It would be awesome to live in a 209-year-old mansion like yours……except I am horrified by possibly seeing a ghost, LOL! I am fascinated them, but horrified at the same time. Other than that, I would love to live in a historic home. So, so interesting, and so filled with history. I marvel at what their lives were like there, and all the events that happened. And 209 Christmases! Wow!

Have you looked for loose boards in the attic or floors, or explored the areas inside the fireplaces where they used to hide things in the old days, or the crevices of the basement or explored the grounds with a metal detector? That is what I would love to do at a place like that. My home is built on the spot where a 230-year old house was torn down not too long before I arrived, and I know that it had a very large cellar which was filled in with dirt after the house was torn down. That is why my back yard is so soft and mushy, says my elderly neighbor who used to own the land. I wish I knew where to research the history, and maybe see a picture of it. He said two old unmarried sisters lived in it last, and both died in it. That sort of gives me the creeps, but think of how many others probably died in it, and in your place, but that is also part of the fascination of it. Every time I have dug into the dirt, I have found pieces of old glass, very large old rusted nails that looked man-made, and I found a weird-shaped piece of metal. Lord knows how much stuff was in that cellar when they filled it in, and I would love to dig up this acre to about 10 or more feet down, but since that is impossible, I can only wonder what is beneath me, and the events that have taken place on the property. I love history!!

Deb H.

hey guys I no you r so busy & meet so many but we met in Cols. Gave u the garlic tpot (hope it found a home in the Beekman kitchen) & the Ohio chestnuts edible eh? miss u on TV…Happy Thanksgiving b well

Darryl Waterstraat

That's understandable, Otherwise you two wouldn't have any time to yourselves. Are there certain dates when the farm is open, or does it change from year to year? We might still come to see the mercantile and Sharon Springs. Thanks Darryl

Darryl Waterstraat

Thanks Dr Brent, hope to see you within the next three weeks, our sons will be up here from Georgia. Could you tell me if there are any fees to visit the farm, or mercantile besides the articles you sell? Thanks so much for your wonderful show on tv, my wife, Molly and I love it. (also polka spot) Thanks Darryl and Molly

Darryl Waterstraat

Great blog…..what are the best days to visit and actually meet both of you…..My son and his partner are coming up from Georgia tomorrow and I am sure they would like to visit. Please let me know so we can plan a trip. Thanks, Darryl

centralia heart

Beautiful, Dr. Brent. I wish I could come to the Harvest Festival but it is the same weekend as our family reunion at Winterclove in RoundTop. I hope to be up again soon, still house hunting. Centralia

Helen Bergeron

Someone from our town took old photographs and put new one hundred year later, photos on top of one another. It was wonderful. What an effect!!!


There are 6 people in the photo. Two at the entrance, two at the left and two at the right of the entrance. Wonder who took the photo?


I live on a mt top in s. california, home to the Hale telescope,

Bailey's is now in its 5th generation of passed down ownership.

I love to have folks drop by and tell me stories of their travels to Bailey's and the mt.

I had the pleasure of chatting with a 100 native american who told me about the spirit doors in our valley, and the acorns she collected as a girl.

And a 90 yr. old woman who had her driver bring her up to see if the place was still there, she spent summers working for the Bailey's as a housekeeper and a maid.

She tells of being to young and having no where to go, she told the Bailey's a story about her ability to cook,bake,sew, and was taken in by the family, who she later suspected, was on to her. They happily kept her anyway.

She told me allot about the property and where things were located in her day. Gardens, wells, best berries.

I too fell on this place as a happenstance and never left, I married a Bailey son.

Loved your book.

TR Bailey