A momento of Amsterdam's boomtown days, "The Cornelia" sits above the Mohawk River like the grounded wreck of a four-master.

Constructed around 1900 as a fashionable two-flat house, The Cornelia appears to have been named for Cornelia Voorhees, wife of knitting mill proprietor and likely builder J. Enders Voorhees. Soon after, the Board of Trade Yearbook presented a postcard-like image of The Cornelia as a notable local residence.

For years, the Cornelia housed representatives of the city's upper middle commercial class who were not quite wealthy enough to afford their own mansions.

In 1905, the families of mill bookkeeper A.H. Cromwell, and bank cashier Charles French lived at The Cornelia. By 1920, its residents were the families of Lucy Vanderpool, which had an independent income, and knitting mill owner Walter Yund, which was attended by a servant .

But the knitting and carpet industries were hard-hit by the depression, which sent the city's industrial base into a seemingly endless spiral of decline. By 1930, the Cornelia was owned by John and Walter Rowan, who rented out rooms to school teachers as a sideline. Over the decades, The Cornelia deteriorated along with the local economy. Eventually its promenade deck porches came to overlook the parking lot and rear wall of a Stewart's convenience store. By 2004, it had fallen vacant. Holes in its roof were visible from the street and graffiti appeared on its wall.

In 2005, hope emerged from an unexpected quarter. A housing rehabilitator began renovating the building and removed most of the decaying roof. However, the project apparently fell through at this point. Except for the flapping remnants of plastic tarps, The Cornelia has stood open to the elements for the past year.

ABOVE: The Cornelia fronts on McDonnell Street, which runs through a tract once owned by John McDonnell, a banker and industrialist. Edward McDonnell, who may have been John McDonnell's son, owned the Clermont Hosiery Mill on Chuctanunda Hill, when McDonnell Street was laid out in the late nineteenth century.

BELOW: The Cornelia was likely a real estate speculation designed to spur upscale development on the vacant lots at the corner of McDonnell Street and Guy Park Avenue. It apparently replaced a smaller house inhabited by a broom maker and a clerk. However, the surrounding neighborhood always remained more working class. Although The Cornelia was probably a bit of a white elephant, its ornamental details recall Amsterdam's former glory.