The Arts! Conservation and Preservation.

Based out of Fultonville, New York, Fortroyal Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization involved in local and regional conservation and preservation efforts. We are the official sponsors of the historic 100 acre Starin Place and the historic Donaldson Block here in Fultonville, where U.S. two-term congressman John H. Starin (1825 – 1909) lived and operated his myriad enterprises. We have been conserving and preserving historic and artistic treasures and landmarks for over 25 years and have always remained dedicated supporters of the arts.

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Historic Fultonville photos

In 2010, we hosted a party for residents of Fultonville in order to display the extraordinary collection of old Fultonville photographs from the Donaldson family. The photos ranged from the 1880s up to the 1940s and featured both people and buildings of the area. The Donaldson family was extraordinarily generous in sharing this treasure trove with all of us. We are so pleased that they later donated many of these photos to Fortroyal.

It was their generous gift-giving that gave us the idea of printing a book on Fultonville featuring the Donaldson photos as well as many others from our collection. The book will delineate photos of early Fultonville houses and buildings along with photos of early Fultonville residents. We will be going into more detail about our Fultonville book project in 2011.

-Karen Chaplin, Founder and Executive Director
Fortroyal Foundation, Inc.

The Gardeners of Starin Place

When John H. Starin occupied Starin Place, he employed 110 gardeners and the Head Gardener was the only one who lived on site. This past year, Fortroyal Foundation concentrated on restoring the Head Gardener’s house, located in the rear of the property. We started the project by insulating the attic and now we are almost done restoring the whole house. We hope to finish painting the exterior in summer 2011.

In addition to the job of hand scything the monstrous front lawn, Starin’s gardeners grew the crops and hay for all the animals and nurtured the trees that Starin imported from every country he visited in Europe and Asia, not to mention the numerous trees from around the United States. The gardeners created Victorian plantings around the property, and these plantings spelled out sayings. They braided and grafted different trees together to make unique specimen trees, and used water weights to force the pine and fur to form lateral side branches, which swooped out 8 to 10 feet before resuming their upward spines.

The gardeners also created “summer houses” out of apple trees in which the roofs were made of braided and pleached apple branches, with the apples blossoms hanging down and “perfuming the house.” The windows and doors were cut out with pruning saws.

The greenhouse complex at Starin Place had orange trees and fig trees and also housed Starin’s collection of rare ferns. The greenhouse complex featured a palm court that contained palm trees from George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, which Starin bought from Washington’s grandson at an auction in 1868 along with other Mt. Vernon memorabilia and artifacts.

The gardeners of Starin Place were a big part of this community. Fortroyal Foundation spent a lot of time in 2010 restoring a lot of what the gardeners created here at Starin Place as part of our preservation and conservation efforts.

-Karen Chaplin, Founder and Executive Director
Fortroyal Foundation, Inc.

Goodbye 2010, hello 2011!

We would like to wish you a very happy holidays and a happy New Year! 2011 is gearing up to be a very exciting year for us. We are starting to assemble our online collection of our archived materials as related to our preservation and conservation efforts. Please check back soon to see the archives! Please also stay tuned to learn of upcoming events, fundraisers, and more.

Best wishes,
Fortroyal Foundation, Inc.

Fortroyal in the wintertime

Some argue that Starin Place, Donaldson Block and the town of Fultonville are at their prettiest in the wintertime. Main Street is lit up with Christmas lights and we have two big decorated Christmas trees in the corner window of Donaldson. Fresh paw prints in the snow can be seen all around the grounds of Starin Place and the peacocks can be seen nestled in the trees.

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