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Dr. John Babcock House 

Lasher Road, Beckers Corners, Selkirk

Listed 2003

The Dr. John Babcock House is significant as a remarkably intact example of pattern book inspired “Tuscan style” domestic architecture in the Town of Bethlehem, Albany County, New York. The house has a remarkably high level of historic integrity to its 1851 construction date. Also on the property is a period frame carriage barn. The house was resided in and maintained by four generations of the Babcock family with virtually no changes until passing outside the family to the current owner in 1996.

Dr. John Babcock (1814-1879), a native of the Town of Bethlehem was, according to local histories, perhaps the best known of the town’s nineteenth century medical practitioners. Babcock trained at the Vermont Academy of Medicine in the early 1840s, and he is known to have kept an office at Beckers Corners. Aside from his duties as a local physician in town, which included house visits to patients via horse-drawn carriage, Babcock also served as a director of the Bethlehem Mutual Insurance Association and was likewise and early member of the Elmwood Cemetery Association of Bethlehem.

Hester VanDerzee (1822-1915) married John Babcock in 1842. The couple had seven children, Elizabeth, Maria, Cornelius, Hester, Mary Ann, John, and Robert born between 1843 and 1857.

The Babcock house remains an extremely intact example of mid-nineteenth century domestic architecture, reflecting the onset of the Romantic-Early Victorian period during the waning years of the Greek Revival Styles influence. It is a sophisticated example of rural architecture reflective of its owner’s tastes and familiarity with contemporary architectural publications. The house is remarkable.

(The above is paraphrased from the house’s National Register nomination form.)