John V A Lansing Farmhouse
The John V. A. Lansing Farmhouse, Billsen Cemetery and Archaeological Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985; Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.
John V. A. Lansing Farmhouse, Billsen Cemetery and archaeological site; 219, 225, 237 Consaul Road
The house is situated close to the Consaul Road on a wooden lot, and retains its original farm-like setting. The boundaries of the approximately 15 acre resource were determined by the surviving intact, undeveloped portion of the Lansing farm containing the farmhouse, cemetery and, to the extent known archaeological resources. Adjacent property on Consaul Road has been subdivided and built upon and adjacent land to no. 237 Consaul Road has not demonstrated an archaeological sensitivity.
This two-story farmhouse was designed in the Greek Revival style. The pedimented roof has a triangular window opening and dentils in the tympanum. The roof line is also lined with dentils. Four square pilasters divide the front facade. The entrance has a cornice with dentils and a transom and sidelights surrounding the door.
A one-story ell with a porch was built to the south of the main structure, and has a small shed dormer added to the rear (ca. 1950). A one-story ell on a brick foundation extends from the first ell.
The interior remains its original details, including the woodwork, newels, and door hardware.
The property also has a modern garage (ca. 1950), a privy, a hen house (ca. 1930), and a corn crib (ca. 1930). All are non-contributing.
The area is approximately 15 acres. It includes the house and its outbuildings (225 Consaul Road), the Billsen Cemetery (located on 219 Consaul Road, and a large open field behind the house (part of 237 Consaul Road). Artifacts from prehistoric Indians and the historic occupants of the property have been recovered from 225 and 237 Consaul Road. On the former, the artifacts were surface finds made in an area of cultivated garden behind the house. On the latter, the finds were made in the southern part of this triangularly shaped 12 acre parcel. Some of the finds were made as surface finds in areas of plowed fields. One in situ discovery was made at 237 Consaul Road was interpreted by its owner to be a "hearth." The soil on this property is sandy and free of rock. In the area of the "hearth" he discovered a lot of burned rock, charcoal, and some artifacts. The presence of a Brewerton side-notched point from 225 Consaul Road, and Orient Fishtail, Snook Kill, and Madison points from 237 Consaul Road suggests that the site may have a multi-component occupation: Late Archaic/Early Woodland and Late Woodland/Early Historic. This assignment should be considered tentative since no testing has been done to establish the stratigraphic integrity of the site, verifying the suggested periods of occupation.
The John V. A. Lansing Farmhouse is significant as an outstanding example of a traditional "L" plan Greek Revival style residence in the town of Colonie. Built in c. 1830 the structure exhibits Greek Revival stylistic characteristics in its pedimented gable facade, formal side hall entrance, massive pilasters and heavy entablature. The property is also significant for depicting the continuous use of a house site from prehistoric times through early colonial settlement to the agricultural community of the early nineteenth century. The property includes the family cemetery of an earlier occupant (Billsen), as well as a large open field which retains artifacts from prehistoric Indians and the historic occupants of the property. Together, the Lansing Farmhouse, the Billsen Cemetery and the archaeological site represent the history of the town of Colonie from the Late Archaic Period to the early nineteenth century.
With its three bay, two story pedimented main block and one-and-a-half story kitchen wing, the "L" shaped Lansing Farmhouse survives as a distinctive example of one of the most popular house forms built in upstate New York in the three decades before the Civil War. The farmhouse also has several unusual architectural features such as a triangular window in the tympanum, a denticulated roofline and entrance, and paneled facade pilasters. The interior retains the original characteristic Greek Revival style woodwork, staircase and hardware.
The property was originally owned by the Billsen family, whose cemetery lies south of the house on an adjacent property (219 Consaul Road). No structures survive from their occupation nor has evidence of their location been discovered. Tradition states that part or all of the Billsen homestead was incorporated into the kitchen wing of the Lansing house, however physical evidence does not clearly indicate that the wing is an earlier structure. The cemetery contains approximately ten graves; the stones date from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Pre-Revolutionary graves are not in evidence. The cemetery contributes to the significance of the property through its historical association with the Lansing farm and the Lansing family. John V.A. Lansing married into the family and purchased the land in 1826. Shortly thereafter, he built the Greek Revival style farmhouse. A prosperous farmer, Lansing was a founding member of the nearby Lisha's Kill Dutch Reformed Church in 1852.
The archaeological remains of the occupants of these properties may reveal the settlement and subsistence patterns of the European settlers and aboriginal Indians over a long time sequence. Archaeological material can provide evidence of how these peoples used the land and natural resources in the area and how their practices varied through time. The location of the site in the Lishakill area of Colonie, near the interface of several ecological zones, must have made available a rich variety of seasonally abundant food resources. The intensity of utilization of these resources might have varied with the cultural group in question. The presence of varied points suggests that the site may have a multi-component occupation from Late Archaic/Early Woodland and Late Woodland/Early Historic. The significance of the find is heightened by the fact that the town of Colonie has undergone considerable suburban development over the past thirty years and the likelihood of discovering relatively undisturbed prehistoric sites has decreased greatly. Only the second property in the town of Colonie nominated for archaeology (Schuyler Flatts Site, National Register, Jan. 1974), the Lansing Farmhouse archaeological site is significant for the information it may reveal on the prehistoric occupants of Colonie.
Albany County Clerk's Office and Assessor's Office; New York State Library; Van Rensselaer leases; Lishakill Dutch Reformed Church records; interview with property owners.