February 24, 2021
The door was installed today! Adnak Contracting Services LLC, a Women Owned Business located in Saratoga NY, did an incredible job fabricating and installing this beautiful, secure door.
Due to past vandalism at the site, this was built with security in mind. The new stainless steel door weighs nearly 250 pounds and has a very secure locking mechanism. Keys can only be duplicated by the manufacturer. The cut outs are needed for ventilation and are backed by security grade stainless steel screening.
It is estimated the disintegrating iron door was installed in the early 1900s and was not part of the original vault construction.
October 1, 2020
Frank Slingerland, Chris White, Mike White and Tyler Kattrein work to set the posts back into place. The posts were removed to allow for better access to repair stonework at the front of the vault. We are very grateful for the volunteers who share their expertise and donate their time toward this project!
September 2, 2020
We are very excited to share a photo of the completed stonework! Ganem Contracting Corp is finishing up at the site and we couldn't be happier with the job they have done! We genuinely appreciate everyone who has donated funds, material, time and effort to this project to date. We are holding a "Raise the Door!" campaign for the month of September and hope to button the vault up before winter.
August 1, 2020
Today we repeated our very successful fundraising event entitled "A Visit with Slingerlands' Founding Family". This event included a walking tour with first person presentations by costumed performers. Participants were able to see the rebuild of the stonework in person. A very special thank you to Lori Dollard who portrayed Leah Britt Slingerland, Brian Dollard who portrayed John I. Slingerland, Peter Crouse who portrayed William H. Slingerland, Donald Hyman who portrayed James Dickson, Bill Douglas who portrayed Adam Mattice and all of the volunteers who who made this event possible! The $840 raised from this event will entirely go toward restoration efforts.
May 27, 2020
We are very excited to announce that the stonework rebuild has started! Ganem Contracting Corp. brings 50 years of historic restoration experience to this project and they began work today. The engraved stone lintel which will identify the burial vault is on order. An opening will be left for the door, which is a separate effort.
This is the most expensive part of the project, so please consider a donation to help cover the cost.
May 18, 2020
Bethlehem Highway Superintendent Marc Dorsey and Highway Foreman Peter Schmidt joined our socially distant meeting at the vault to discuss plans for the upcoming stonework repair. Check back soon for photos of the stone front repair since we hope to start soon! We placed updated signs near the vault for walk up visitors to enjoy. The sign series entitled "Slingerland Stories" was created by Town Historian Susan Leath. They are best seen in person while visiting the vault, but are included here for those who can't make it.
October 6, 2019
Today we repeated our very successful fundraising event entitled "A Visit with Slingerlands' Founding Family". This event included a walking tour with first person presentations by costumed performers. We opened the vault for this event, allowing participants to look inside. A very special thank you to Rita Michin who played Leah Britt Slingerland, Bill Douglas who played John I. Slingerland, Peter Crouse who played William H. Slingerland and all of the volunteers who who made this event possible! The $1,405 raised from this event will entirely go toward restoration efforts.
July 20, 2019
Civil War veteran John H. Slingerland rests in a sarcophagus inside the burial vault. At some point, vandals removed his marble marker which resulted in collapse. His sarcophagus was repaired in June 2019, and his marble marker was installed today. The marker was donated by his direct descendants.
June 28, 2019
The Friends held a fundraising event entitled "A Visit with Slingerlands' Founding Family" which included a walking tour with first person presentations by costumed performers. A very special thank you to Rita Michin who played Leah Britt Slingerland, Brian Dollard who played John I. Slingerland, Peter Crouse who played William H. Slingerland and all of the volunteers who who made this event possible! The $1,115 raised from this event will entirely go toward restoration efforts.
Rita Michin as Leah Britt Slingerland, Brian Dollard as John I. Slingerland
Peter Crouse as William H. Slingerland
Bethlehem Town Historian Susan Leath
June 6, 2019
Civil War veteran John H. Slingerland rests in a sarcophagus inside the burial vault. At some point, vandals removed his marble marker which resulted in collapse. We are happy to report that the weather finally cooperated and Bruce Bourque was able to complete the repair. A new marble marker was donated by his direct descendants and will be installed when it arrives in a few weeks.
March 27, 2019
We were invited to share our progress at the Bethlehem Town Board Meeting, where we unveiled two very important items:
Retired Slingerlands Elementary teacher Evonne Lutkus' donation of a historical marker.
Local artist Peter Keitel's donation of a watercolor which envisions the vault after restoration.
Thank you Evonne Lutkus & Peter Keitel for caring so much about local history!
January 21, 2019
The structural report has been received from Jack Healy, P.E. of Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis Engineering & Surveying D.P.C. regarding the indentation on top of the vault. On August 16, 2018 Jack supervised the excavation of soil to expose the top of the vault structure. The report concluded "Based upon the observations, the structure of the vault roof appears to be in good condition and there are no obvious signs of distress or deterioration."
Thank you Jack Healy, P.E. and Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis Engineering & Surveying D.P.C. for your volunteer efforts to this project!
2018 Year End Update
September 20, 2018
The Archaeology report from the efforts of archaeologists Daniel Mazeau and Sean Higgins on May 5, 2018 was received. The effort included establishing a grid over the vault floor to track where items were found. Debris was collected from each grid space and screened to collect artifacts. This report details that effort as well as the artifacts collected. This chart summarizes the artifacts found.
Thank you Daniel and Sean for volunteering your time to this project!
Archaeology of the Slingerland Family Burial Vault, Mazeau Archaeology and Consulting
August 16, 2018
Thank you to Jack Healy, P.E. of Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis Engineering & Surveying, D.P.C. who volunteered to assess the roof of the burial vault. An indentation was noted in the ground above the vault as well as some dirt infiltration in an empty slot inside the vault, so we wanted to investigate. Volunteers dug down to the roof of the vault from the top and removed dirt from the empty slot inside the vault. No damage to the roof was found. Jack evaluated the exposed structure and is preparing a final report.
May 5, 2018
Thank you to the archaeologists who volunteered their time on a beautiful Saturday to clean the floor of the vault. Recovered artifacts include bottle fragments, glass, a golf ball, shoes and other generic refuse.
April 12, 2018
The Town of Bethlehem Highway Department was busy raking, adding top soil and seeding today. This will keep the soil intact for future phases of the project.
April 10, 2018
The Town of Bethlehem Highway Department did a great job removing stumps today. A stump grinder was used to gently get the stumps below ground level.
April 5, 2018
The Bethlehem Superintendent of Highways, John "Tiger” Anastasi, and the Highway Department have been busy today regrading the front entrance of the vault and preparing access to the site for future restoration and maintenance.
Larry Rulison of the Albany Times Union provided this great video which shows the freshly groomed right of way to the vault. Thanks goes to the Town of Bethlehem for their great work!
March 29, 2018
The Town of Bethlehem spent all day removing trees from the vault site. Trees and their roots have caused damage over the years, so we are very happy to see them removed.