existing-title
1822 BRETHREN'S WORKSHOP This structure is the oldest Shaker building remaining on the Church Family grounds.

This building housed workshops for the men of the community. Shops for shoemaker, tailors and broom makers were located on the first floor. Another room was set aside as a dentist office. The date stone in the basement reads: This house built by Brewster and Allen, Master Masons, 1822.


Digital reconstruction of the Brethren's Workshop.
3D model showing 1822 building configuration.

1825 MINISTRY WORKSHOP This building provided workspace for the Shaker Elders.

The primary vocations of the Elders were shoemaking, tailoring, woodworking and basketmaking. Everyone in the Shaker community was expected to work, whether a child or an Elder. An addition was built in 1852 and was used as a workshop by Shaker furniture makers. The screened porches were added to the building by Albany County during the 1930s. The building was used by the County to house nurses who worked in the Ann Lee Nursing Home.

Digital reconstruction of the Ministry Workshop.
3D model showing 1825 building configuration.

1830 TRUSTEES' OFFICE The building where select Shakers known as Trustees conducted business with the outside world.

The Trustees' Office is where people from the outside world interacted with the Shaker community. Business managers known as Trustees managed a retail shop in this building and sold garden seeds, brooms and hundreds of other products to outsiders. The building also housed a dining room, basement kitchen, post office and living quarters for the Trustees. Guests dined and sometimes stayed overnight in this building when visiting the Shakers.

Meeting House

Digital reconstruction of the Trustee's Office.
3D model showing 1830 building configuration.

1848 MEETING HOUSE The Shaker Meeting House is the heart of America's first Shaker settlement.

The Shakers were a celibate, communal religious sect established in England and brought to America by Ann Lee in 1774. The Meeting House was used for public worship services that included singing and dancing. The symbolic purity of the building is expressed by both the simplicity of form and the color white. The floor plan is uniquely Shaker including a large, two-story meeting room with a clear span for dancing, multiple entrances and tiered seating for non-Shakers who observed the worship services.

Interior of the Meeting House.

Attending Shaker worship was a popular activity in the mid-1800s. Famous visitors included Herman Mellvile, James Fenimore Cooper, General Sherman and many others. This is the only remaining large scale Shaker Meeting House that retains its original interior features.

Digital reconstruction of the Meeting House.
3D model showing 1848 building configuration.

1856 DRYING HOUSE Originally built as an herb drying house, it was an integral part of the herb drying industry.

The Shakers frequently adapted existing buildings as needs changed. This building is one example of this practice. The building was modified when a henhouse was needed in the early 1900's. Albany County converted the building into a creamery using water from Shaker Creek to cool dairy products.

Digital reconstruction of the Drying House.
3D model showing 1856 building configuration.

The County ran a dairy operation to supply the needs of tuberculosis patients and residents of the Ann Lee Nursing Home. Shaker Heritage Society replicated the east entrance door in 2011.

1858 WASH HOUSE AND CANNERY An industrial size washing machine, a Shaker innovation, was used in this building.

Laundry was a very important task in a community that housed many people. Foods were canned and dried in a western wing that was demolished in 1928. The current three bay garage addition was constructed by Albany County in the late 1920s.

Digital reconstruction of the Wash House and Cannery.
3D model showing 1858 building configuration.

1915 BARN The Shakers built this barn only 10 years before the Church Family was closed due to declining membership.

It replaced one that had burned two years before. This efficient and technologically advanced building is innovative in its use of roof ventilators and lightening rods to prevent catastrophic fires. The Shakers also utilized a highly functional system to collect and distribute manure for the fields. An overhead track supported a bucket that transported manure from the dairy barn to the storage shed.

Interior of the Shaker barn.

The barn is an exceptional example of an intact early 20th century barn complex. Since so few Shaker men existed in the community, the barn was constructed using hired labor under the direction of Shaker Elder, Josiah Barker.

Digital reconstruction of the original Shaker Barn.
3D model showing 1870 building configuration and the Sheep Barn.

1920 GARAGE This is the most recently constructed Shaker building in the community.

It was built to store and protect the two Packard automobiles the Shakers owned. The Shakers were often eager to adopt new technology especially when it could save time and energy. It may seem odd for Shakers to purchase expensive luxury vehicles but they considered Packards to be high quality and durable vehicles that were a good value for the community.

Digital reconstruction of the Garage.
3D model showing 1920 building configuration.

ANN LEE POWERHOUSE Site of the 1850 School House, later adapted for the powerhouse.

References indicate that the 1850 Shaker school house was demolished and the Ann Lee Powerhouse constructed on its site, or possibly on its foundation. Physical evidence, on the other hand, indicates that the schoolhouse was only partially demolished, and then extensively renovated for use as a powerhouse. The wooden wing, the gable roof and the second floor level of the School House were removed, as well as a portion of the exterior brick walls (less than half).

Digital reconstruction of the School House that once existed on the powerhouse site.
3D model showing 1850 building configuration.

Then the brick walls were raised in height, fenestration was altered, a flat roof built, and a new masonry rear wing constructed, producing a hybrid 1850/1927 building. The new Powerhouse, thus, was made completely non-combustible in construction and Neo-Classical in appearance while retaining the walls, the main interior spaces and the original entrance location of the School House.