Ellen Hauley, called Nan by many, lived in a small red house located on the shores of Kinderhook Lake in Niverville, NY between 1944 and 1970. Though she now lives in Valatie, NY, she was willing to share the stories of around 25 years of her life spent at this house.
The back of Hauley’s former home overlooks the shore of Kinderhook Lake. The property for the house had been bought up cheap following the closing of resorts along the lake’s railroad line, such as the theme park Electric Park. However, a bar on One Tree Island still operated on the lake when Hauley lived there, and the train line was still in service when she commuted to The College of St. Rose in the 1950’s and 60’s in order to earn her Bachelor’s in social studies, and later her Master’s in education.
Hauley’s mother, Helen Snyder, had kept a plaque representing each of her children. The oldest of eight siblings, Hauley had many responsibilities, including refilling the kerosene-powered space heater, tending the coal-burning furnace, helping her father maintain the house, and watching her younger siblings.
What is now a back room was once the original main room of the house. Originally a summer home brought in pieces on a hay wagon to be built in 1910, the house originally had no running water and consisted of a porch, three rooms, and a separate summer kitchen. Hauley’s father, Raymond Snyder, began rebuilding the summer home into a house when the family permanently moved in in 1944. The home has been refurbished and repaired countless times since.
Hauley’s youngest daughter keeps chickens and ducks behind the house. She has been helping her daughter, Rachel, during her pregnancy tend to chores around the house, such as bringing water to her chickens and ducks that live behind the house. Though the home was originally owned by her mother, Helen Snyder, the eldest daughter, and was meant to be passed on to each eldest daughter, her youngest daughter now lives in the house.