Town History

Visit Old Austerlitz, home of the Austerlitz Historical Society and experience the rural beauty of Austerlitz, New York – it’s mountains, valleys, streams and small hamlets.

Did You Know Austerlitz used to Have a Ski Area?

The story of Oscar Beckwith

Past

Founded in the 1750’s, the town is rich in history – some early settlers and sons served in the Revolutionary War. The streams of Austerlitz gave rise to industries such as farming, raising sheep, and mill operations. Saw mills, grist mills, mills for wool carding and the making of cider, shingles and planes enabled the settlers to make a living. Vestiges of old milk, early gravesites and historic buildings still remain.

The Austerlitz Historic Society, organized in 1988, celebrates the heritage of the Town and has as its goal making this heritage known and appreciated through the collection and preservation of documents, artifacts, and buildings.

Historic buildings on the beautiful 15-acre site on Route 22 and Harvey Mountain Road enable the society to educate visitors through house tours, exhibits, and demonstrations.

The 1850’s church is a wonderful setting for our Holiday Sing in December. The one room schoolhouse provides local school children with a different experience of games, lessons, and stories presented by persons who attended this school.

Present

Our quarterly meetings bring history to life through guest speakers on topics such as old barns, rock formations, Hudson Valley paintings, nineteenth century gardens, and much more.

Two programs, the Blueberry Festival and Autumn in Austerlitz, grow in popularity each year.  Blueberries, prolific on Harvey Mountain, figured prominently in the life of earlier settlers, since sale of blueberries helped them pay their taxes.  Summer now brings demonstrations of early crafts, blueberry sweets, a puppeteer, hand-made products and music – all at the Blueberry Festival.

At Autumn in Austerlitz, you are greeted by men, women and children in 1830’s period dress.  Games, stories, home baked goods, music, sheep-shearing, tinsmithing, and more add to a day of family enjoyment.

An attractive yearly calendar presents a pictorial and written account of the architecture, industry, dress and culture of an earlier era.

Future

The re-creation of Old Austerlitz, a village which reflects the lifestyle of the 1830’s, is well on its way.  Two early buildings, gifts to the society, have been re-assembled, by member volunteers.  These serve as locations for exhibits and demonstrations of early craft making.

The restoration of a 1794 house, called Morey-Devereaux for its former owners, will house a research library and provide a place for lectures, workshops, and receptions for the society and community group.

The beauty of the setting will be preserved and enhanced with gardens and nature trails. These will reveal to residents and visitors the values, tenacity, ingenuity and energy of those who helped our town grow.

Austerlitz Historical Society
P.O. Box 144
Austerlitz, NY 12017

Phone: (518) 392-0062
Email: oldausterlitz@fairpoint.net
Web: www.oldausterlitz.org