The purpose is to provide a forum for the discussion of the genealogy and history of the Town of Berne, New York and surrounding hilltowns of Albany and Schoharie Counties, (Knox, Westerlo, Rensselaer, Wright, Middleburgh). Permanent information on the genealogy and history of Berne is posted on the Berne Historical Project site.
A large number of new pages have been recently added to the Helderberg Hilltowns web pages on the sites of historic and scenic interest in the Town of Berne.
The most historic site in the town of Berne is on the north side ofFox Creekbelow the bridge in the center of thehamlet of Berne. This is where the mills and factories were located that caused the hamlet to be located where it is. And yet the town turns its back on the mill site. It is as if it never existed. This would be a great area for an historic park, perhaps created as an expansion of the existingFox Creek Parkon the south side of the creek.
Fox Creek Park is located along the old road to Knox on the above map made in 1975 by Robert Lambert for an article inOur Heritage
Fox Creek Parkis below the Berne Falls in the Berne hamlet. It is reached by a short access road on the west side of Helderberg Trail just south of the bridge across Fox Creek in the hamlet of Berne. In 1977 one could still see on the Fox Creek Park side of the creek evidence of fastenings for a log dam. Perhaps they are still visible.
Weidman's Mills- About 1752 Jacob Weidman built a log dam at the top of the Berne falls onFox Creekto create a mill pond to power the first sawmill. By 1781 his son Peter had built a grist mill below the sawmill.
Simmons Axe Factorywas started about 1825. This mill had its own dam, a log structure with stone wing walls.
Berne Grist Mill- The Berne Grist Mill was the successor toWeidman's grist millbuilt by Jacob Weidman after 1750. Weidman's mill had burned shortly prior to 1832, the year in which it was rebuilt by Malachi Whipple. Whipple also built, along with Ball and Dwight, aa carding and fulling milladjacent to the Weidman property in the 1830's. The use of these lands and their water power source was more or less esablished by the pond above the bridge.
A King Post Truss Bridge for pedestrians might connect the two parks. Both sides could be still called Fox Creek Park; it would just be doubled in size to include the historic mill sites on the north bank of the creek.
Perhaps the land on the south side of the Foxenkill between Fox Creek Park andBerne Town Parkcould be bought to expand the park. The land has not much value to its present absentee owner because of it's inaccessibility from the main Yarmchuk farm which is on the opposite bank. On the other hand, it is very accessible from the hamlet side, especially the school, and would be a valuable addition to Fox Creek Park. If the land can not be bought cheaply, perhaps a right-of-way for a trail could be purchased of would be given to the town. The trail would extend from Fox Creek Park to theBerne Town Parkwith access to the school.
Berne Falls, by Charles Sloger
Wooden bridge in hamlet of Berne across the Foxenkill
Berne Historical Society
Wooden dam in hamlet of Berne above the bridge across the Foxenkill
Berne Historical Society
Becker Bros. Mill; photo in the collection of the Berne Historical Society
Hart's Mill; photo in the collection of the Berne Historical Society
Now; Google Earth
Other Historic Sites in Berne- Using as a basisAn Inventory of Historic and Scenic Resourses In the Town of Bernecompiled by Thomas Conklin for the Berne Conservation Advisory Council, 1979
Jacob Weidman's Home Site- This was on the north side of the mill pond above the dam onFox Creek. It is where there is a NYS Historic Marker for the home of his son, Peter Weidman. The 1979 inventory misstates the location as being where the home of his son Jacob Weidman, Jr. was located on Turner Rd. on the farm of the late Harold Lendrum.