We invite you to enjoy Anchor Diamond Park at Hawkwood, a
246-acre, forever-wild preserve held in partnership between
Saratoga PLAN and the Town of Ballston. A generous gift from
the will of Mr. Frank Schidzick to the Town of Ballston made
possible the purchase of this property in 2015. The Town of
Ballston owns and manages the preserve, and a conservation
easement held by Saratoga PLAN ensures that the community
will have access to enjoy natural woodlands, streams, wetlands
and wildlife for generations to come.
The land upon which you are standing was once
owned by a man named Mitchell. We know nothing
of him but he was one of the early settlers of this area.
In the 1790's, Henry Walton purchased the land and built the mansion that once stood about 1/4 mile along the path into Anchor Diamond Park. Walton, a rich man for his time, bucked the trend of the rich and famous who were building their homes in Saratoga and instead built his home here. The remains of his house are in the park.
Other people enhanced the house over time. It was
at its height in the early 1900's, as shown in the picture.
It fell into disrepair by the 1940's and burned down in the 1960's.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Frank Schidzick who, in his will,
gave the Town
of Ballston money to purchase this 246 acre
plot of land and to John Taylor who sold this land to the town
in 2015. They have made possible Anchor Diamond Park at Hawkwood.
Henry Walton, who studied law with Aaron Burr, built the mansion in the 1790's. Its receiving hall was 20 by 30, big enough for balls and concerts and the house had fireplaces in every room, 11 total. The walls were lined with brick for protection against stray bullets and arrows.
Up to 15 servants were needed to maintain the house.
The Delevan family owned the house from 1824-1870. This wealthy family from
Albany was active in the Temperance Movement and owned a hotel in downtown
Albany. A few years after the hotel burned down in 1894, Union Station
was built on that site.
The Baker family inhabited the house from 1891-1917. The marriage of Guy Baker to Countess Louise Irene Palma DiCesnola on December 28, 1904 was reported in the New York Herald newspaper. That wedding as well as many visits and social events which involved the couple were published in other
newspapers and on many dates in later years. Her father, who was of Italian heritage, was a Civil War veteran and a recipient of The Medal of Honor. After the war, he became US Consul to Cyprus and, for 25 years, was the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1873, the museum was
expanded to accommodate his extensive collection of antiques.
Other families, including Turnbull, Wagoner, and Thuener owned the
property. Many farmed the acres on the property as shown in the
1939 Thuener family picture. Finally the Taylor family sold the property
to the Town of Ballston in 2015.
The Anchor Glass Company was the name of the company that Frank and Wanda Schidzick owned for many years on Diamond Road near Round Lake in Ballston. Frank's will, which made available money with which to buy a passive park, stipulated that the park be named for his company and its location.
Thus the name, Anchor Diamond Park at Hawkwood.