Town Hall History

February 18, 2023 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.

Last week’s 1912 photo of the newly-built Town Hall brought forth some questions about the building and its history.

It was built in 1910-1911 after many years of local discussion, editorials in the local newspapers and a long-held public desire for Chateaugay to have a building that could serve as the center of the town’s activities and represent the community well.

Local resident William Johnston, Jr., who passed away unexpectedly in 1909, long wanted Chateaugay to have a town hall. He was part of the Johnston family that already had (and would continue to have) a towering presence in Chateaugay and its business community—think Johnston Lumberyard, Chateaugay Waterworks, Chateaugay Pulp Company, and other businesses that carried the Johnston name.

William Jr. left the Town a bequest in his will of $6000 (worth roughly $214,000 today) with two specific requirements - that the monies could only be used to construct a Town Hall and that the same amount must be matched by either the Town or by benefactor donations.

The community responded and a piece of property was purchased shortly after his will was made public. Plans were made to design a three-story building in the Greek Revival style. Construction began with a groundbreaking at the end of April, 1910. Fourteen months later, in June of 1911, the Town of Chateaugay took possession of the new building.

The public had a chance to tour the new facility. Upon entering through the Doric columned front doors, the inside looked much as it does today with a wide hallway and offices on each side. Far to the end of the main foyer, the lobby of the Opera House welcomed patrons to the new performance space. There were two wide, curved staircases that led to the sweeping balcony on the second level. At each end of the balcony level, where the tier met the outside walls, walkways from the balcony stretched along the outside walls and led to raised loge boxes which overlooked the stage.

The stage itself took up the entire north wall of the building. Dressing rooms were located below the stage area, on the basement level, and were accessed by a door in the center of the stage front, in the orchestra pit. The backstage area was tall (as seen in image 3), allowing for more elaborate stage shows as entire backdrops could be lowered (or raised out of the way) to accommodate different scenes or acts of larger productions. Also, unlike today, all of the windows were in use. There were windows along the sides of the Opera House which were covered by thick curtains which could bring that space to darkness during performances.

The basement level of the building contained the dressing rooms and bathrooms for the performers, a local lock-up with two cells under the front portion of the building and a state-of–the-art heating system in between. This level was fairly well-lit by the windows located there.

The third floor contained the theater balcony and a large dance hall/assembly space which took up the entire width of the front of the top floor.

The imposing, new Town Hall quickly became a showplace in the North Country. The columned entrance with its soaring pediment some two stories above the entering public’s heads made quite a statement as it dominated Main Street.

Sadly, the building would burn in 1940. Because the interior framing (floor joists, flooring, walls, and stairs) was all of wood, the exterior brick walls contained the heat of the fire and completely incinerated everything within the four exterior walls. In image 7 you can view the building fully involved in the blaze as the stream of water from a fire truck, aimed high at the burning pediment, tries to help to no avail. Images 8, 9, and 10 illustrate the aftermath of the fire. The roof and the pediment were gone. The half-burned columns had fallen or were tilted dangerously on the front brick walls. The metal roof of the pediment now draped over the wall like a damaged piece of tapestry, limp and lifeless. Water continued to be pumped into the rubble to prevent any flare-ups of the large mass of coals and embers in the basement area (as seen in image 10).

Within a year, it was built back – better than ever. Following the blaze, the exterior walls were found to be still sound and with a new roof and new interior floors and framing, the building rose again. This time, the floors were poured concrete as were the stairs. Most of the interior walls were also of masonry which greatly reduced future fire hazards as much less of the interior was built of wood.

Gone is the tall scenery space at the north end of the theater, and the present entrance mirrors the original façade, although on a smaller, one story scale. The Town Hall now sports new heating, electrical and plumbing systems, work on the roof, window replacement, among the renovations. The theater has undergone a multi-step renovation process, the offices and basement have seen massive upgrades and improvements, and the Bowling Alley is now operating once again. The top floor still has access to the balcony area. The original top floor ballroom in the building’s front is now partly a meeting space and partly the home to the Historical Society. Our Town Hall has literally risen from the ashes and has received extensive and important renovations to bring it into the 21st century. As William Johnston Jr. hoped, over a hundred years ago, it serves as the center of our downtown, is filled with a variety of public activities and municipal functions, and represents our community well.

St. Patrick's First Rectory

January 19, 2023 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.

A week ago today, I posted a very blurry photo on Facebook of the apartment building that once sat on the lot just west of the current Sunoco station, which is on the corner of Belle Avenue and West Main.

Thank you for all the responses. Your comments added much to the most recent history of the building.

A special thanks to Silas Martin for posting a very clear photo of the exterior of the house and a few photos showing some of the woodwork details of the inside, in that discussion thread.

Now, using Silas’ exterior photo as a starting point, here is a brief follow-up to last weeks’ post.

As I have mentioned before, Rosemary Green is currently researching the history of the present St. Patrick’s Church. This July will mark the 100th anniversary of the laying of the church’s cornerstone. To commemorate that milestone, her history will celebrate how the church came to be and how the construction process unfolded.

Posts like this help by adding more information to her research. So many of you have shared memories and information and a sincere thank you for that. Keep the responses coming [on Facebook or send an email to]!

Now back to that piece of property and the buildings on it… That lot was the site of the first rectory of St. Patrick’s Parish. Father Edmund DePauw, the church’s first pastor from 1863 until 1889, lived in that small structure, which was just a few steps from the Church of St. Patrick (located just to the west of the present-day American Legion building).

That first building on the property was quite small and served as Fr. DePauw’s home during the earliest years of the parish. Unfortunately, no photo of that first rectory is known to exist.

Then, in 1889, Father Peter J. Devlin succeeded, Fr. (by then Monsignor) Edmund DePauw, as the pastor of St. Patrick’s Church. Father DePauw had chosen to retire and return to his native Belgium after more than twenty-five years in Chateaugay.

The local Catholic community was growing rapidly in the late 1880s. Fr. DePauw had already floated the idea of a new, larger church to accommodate the growing congregation. Fr. Devlin saw the parish as active and vital, as Fr. DePauw had.

In addition to the conversation of a possible new church, Devlin also felt a larger rectory was needed. He foresaw the future arrival of assistant pastors as the parish’s needs increased and knew the original rectory would be very inadequate to house (and administrate) the growing parish. He had the smaller, original rectory moved from the lot and built the larger rectory shown here.

Silas’ photo is a clear image of that Rectory constructed by Father Peter Devlin in 1890 in the years before its demolition a few years ago.

In 1930, the new St. Patrick’s was nearing its interior completion and the parish pastor at that time, Father James McClure, had moved into the rectory adjacent to the newly constructed church.

The rectory built by Fr. Devlin was sold to Floyd English who renovated the structure into an apartment building, which it remained until it sat unoccupied in the years leading up to its demolition in 2018.

Be sure to watch for Rosie's St. Patrick’s Church history early this summer!

The Chateaugay Hotel in the 1930s and '40s

January 15, 2023 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.

I was stopped at the light at the Four Corners this afternoon. I happened to look over at the Hotel while waiting for the light to change.

Many comments have been made on our Facebook page over the years about how it has fallen into ruin. However, I'm hoping these photos above prompt some memories of the place way "back in the day" and when it was a busy part of downtown.

The first two are shots from 1935. Note the traffic light in the middle of the intersection. The hotel was called the Chateau then. The lobby had floor-to-ceiling windows so those sitting there could watch traffic and passersby and solve the problems of the world.

The next two are from 1944. Notice the tin ceilings in both the bar and the Arabian Room (dining room). Looking out the window of the dining room, the Dairy and the Liquor Store are right across Depot Street.

The last two are from 1949. The dining room photo shows the smaller bar and the bandstand. The glimpse of the wallpaper on the right compliments the dining room's name, "The Arabian Room".

There were more "glory" years to come - the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and on... until it closed for good.

Catholic Church Locations

November 26, 2022 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a Blog Post about the three different St. Patrick's churches that were on West Main Street between 1844 and the present. Several people have since reached out and asked me to locate things on a map.

Here goes...I used a Google Earth image of that part of West Main. To orient things, north is to the top of the map. The Four Corners is shown towards the upper right corner of the image.

The yellow box and dot show the earliest locations of the church and rectory. The first church was flattened during the Tornado of 1856 which destroyed or damaged over 300 structures in the Town of Chateaugay. The second Church (on the same site) was shown in the photos that accompanied the Blog Post. It burned to the ground (in less than an hour) as the result of a lightning strike on July 12, 1919.

But, even before the second church was destroyed, the parish was already thinking about building a larger church to accommodate the growing congregation. With that in mind, the parish purchased the land on the corner of Belle Avenue and West Main and the large home just to the west of it in 1911. That location is marked with the blue box and dot. Nothing happened as far as using the newly purchased property to erect a larger church and it sat unused.

However, after the 1916 fire, the church had an opportunity to purchase the land where the church sits today. C.W. Sprague was willing to sell the large lot to St. Patrick's, so the decision was made to sell the unused lot on the corner of Belle Avenue and, eventually, the plot where the first two churches had stood, and build a larger Romanesque church on the much bigger lot which was also closer to the Four Corners.

That's where the church sits today.

All of this information is intended as background to the history of the present church building that is being researched and written by Rosemary Green. This coming July 8th will mark the 100th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the present-day St. Patrick's.

As Rosie is preparing her history of the Church of St. Patrick, I'd like to put out a plea...If anyone has photos showing the church (inside or outside) through the years, please consider loaning them to this project, so they can be scanned. I promise they will be carefully scanned and promptly returned. Contact us via email ( or Facebook PM me (Mick Jarvis) or Rosemary Green if you have any images that you would be willing to share for her project.


Catholic Churches of Chateaugay

November 5, 2022 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.

This blog post had its beginnings in a conversation I had with Geri Favreau, president of the Clinton County Historical Association, about an ecclesiastical painter named Angelo Metallo who did murals at the former St. Philomena’s/Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Churubusco and in St. Patrick’s Church in Rouses Point. It turns out that he also did painting at St. Patrick’s in Chateaugay. Who knew?? According to the August 17, 1928 issue of the Chateaugay Record, Professor Metallo was “decorating the interior of St. Patrick’s” and would be moving on to a similar contract at the church in Churubusco.

Naturally, I went back into our files to see if there was any information about paintings that were done at St. Patrick’s in Chateaugay. I found many photos of the Catholic Churches in Chateaugay over the years but nothing about any specific murals or scenes. I took some new photos of the present church and decided while the research into Professor Metallo continues, and a post (or newsletter article) about him and his works will eventually appear, that I would do a blog post on the three Catholic Churches that have been on West Main Street over the last 178 years—with photos.

The first was built in 1844 by Father James Keveny of Hogansburg. Masses were said in the new church very intermittently due to the large territory that Father Keveny had to minister to. The local church and the one in Malone were mission churches of Hogansburg until 1848. Chateaugay then became a mission of the newly formed St. Joseph’s Parish in Malone with Father Bernard McCabe as pastor. St. Patrick's Church of Chateaugay was officially incorporated under his leadership on August 16th, 1848.

In 1856, this original, very small church was destroyed by the tornado that tore through the Fort Covington, Burke and Chateaugay communities, destroying over 360 buildings in Chateaugay alone. The cyclonic winds and baseball sized hailstones flattened the little Catholic Church on what is now West Main Street. For the next three years, Masses were said in various buildings in the village.

No photos or other depictions of that first church are known to exist. It has only been described as wood-framed and quite small.

Finally, in 1859, construction of a new, larger church was begun on the same site on West Main (the area where the American Legion and a private home now stand). Father Anthony Theves, pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Malone and its missions in Chateaugay and Brushton began the construction of the new building. The citizens of Chateaugay donated everything from money, grain, potatoes, their labor and other items so that construction of the new church could begin. However, it proved to be a slow and frustrating process. Four years later in 1863, only four walls and a roof had been constructed.

That same year, St. Patrick’s Church in Chateaugay was established as an autonomous parish with Father Edmund DePauw as the first resident pastor. He approached the Chateaugay assignment with a dedication and fervor that impressed his parishioners. The congregation grew and his next challenge was the partially constructed second church. When he arrived, he described it as: “little better than a barn, with no pews, badly heated, and so unfinished that the snow found entrance, and the sacred wine froze in the chalice." The church construction was eventually completed with an ornate high altar, pews, steeple with a bell, and all the expected and required décor and statuary. Sheds for horse and buggy rigs sat to the east of the church.

The first photos above show three different views of this second Catholic Church. The first is a postcard. The second is a Henry Beach photo and the third is another postcard. Next is a photo of the interior of the old church. The resolution is very poor but one can still get a sense of the interior and the high altar on the back wall. The final photo is a much clearer image of the altar, showing the ornate design.

After being forced to wait for seven years after losing their church to the lightning-caused fire, the St. Patrick’s congregation finally saw the beginning construction of their new home. This would become the present-day St. Patrick’s Church just west of the Four Corners. The inflation which followed WWI had stalled building plans. Masses were held in other larger buildings (a roller skating rink and Sprague’s garage) on West Main while construction was delayed.

On July 8, 1923, the Bishop presided over the laying of the cornerstone for the new building. By the end of the next year, the exterior was largely complete. The first Mass said in the new St. Patrick’s was Midnight Mass on December 24, 1924. Interior finishing then followed. And, according to the Chateaugay Record, Angelo Metallo was part of the interior decorating being done in 1928. The Italian marble altar and fifty-four foot communion rail were installed in 1930. The stained glass windows would follow and the entire interior was eventually completed during the 1930s.

There are six photos above of the completed, present-day building through the years. The first is a view of the Church with the original bell tower. The second shows the Church today with the copper sheathed spire which was installed in 1986. The third and fourth images are of the original white marble high altar, followed by a photo of the altar in 1982 (after the Vatican II renovations were completed) and finishing with a photo of the altar area, or apse, today.

More on Professor Metallo to come…

Church of St. Dismas

December 27, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.

I came across this photo (photo 1) of the Church of St. Dismas , or the Church of the Good Thief, which is behind the walls of Clinton Correctional Facility (perhaps more commonly known as the Dannemora Prison). It has a direct connection to Chateaugay. It was built under the leadership of Father Ambrose Hyland, a Chateaugay native and one-time pastor at St. Patrick's Church. It was built with inmate labor against strong odds. However, Father Hyland prevailed, and the construction was begun in 1939 and completed in 1941. It is the only freestanding church inside a prison in the U.S.

Two books tell the story of the church's creation (images 2 and 3). Unfortunately, both are out of print but can be found at used book shops and on eBay. The first is the Gates of Dannemora and the other is The Convict and the Stained Glass Windows about the inmate that crafted the church's windows.

The fourth image shows construction, the fifth is the interior, the sixth is the outside of the building and the last is the prayer grotto that was placed outside the church.

Here is a link to a YouTube video about the Church of St. Dismas...

Summer of '61

October 2, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

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June 1961 In Chateaugay

Aside from Christmas, the last day of school each June was the most eagerly awaited day of the year when I was growing up. The sheer joy of peddling away from the CCS building and into the two months of summer vacation was very special. Like today, we were dismissed during the morning of that last day, so we began our vacation with almost a full day left to dive into summer activities and set the tone for the next two months.

I had a summer job every year beginning the summer I turned fourteen, but my summer vacation in 1961 was an amazing time.

As I left school on June 23, 1961, report card tucked in my back pocket, I peddled my 24” Schwinn as fast as I could. When I raced home to change from my “school clothes” into what my mother called my “play clothes”, I was already getting myself ready for the remainder of the day ahead.

I remember mowing the lawn that day (that was only one of my jobs at home which also included taking my turn washing the dishes, making my bed and keeping my room picked up every day, shaking all the scatter rugs each week when my mother cleaned the house, shoveling in the winter, raking the yard in the fall, along with weeding the garden, all of which earned me an allowance). I was almost running as I pushed that old mower, trying to get it finished before I ate lunch.

I scarfed down my sandwich, glass of milk and four Fig Newtons (that was the house limit when cookies were the dessert). I grabbed my fishing pole, some tackle, and worm can and headed out into the sunny afternoon. It had rained the day before and that evening I had grabbed my dad’s flashlight and had picked night crawlers which now filled the worm can.

I rode my bike down Church Street and met up with David Sorrell at Doug Bova’s store next to the train station. Leaving our bikes there, we walked up the sidewalk, across the tracks to Benny Benjamin’s store on the corner of Lake and Collins Streets.

Dave and I were always going on fishing adventures and that day we had a plan to fish the culvert that fed the Bailey Brook under the street. We fished the Bailey regularly where it ran through the village and we figured that there were some nice trout under that long, cool, stretch of water in the culvert. We could have stooped down and walked through it to fish but that would have spooked the trout.

We had a plan that day. Dave had brought two cedar shakes off the roof of the shed in his back yard and we had a few small nails. The scheme was pretty simple, and probably against the fish and game regulations, but we put it into motion.

The plan was to bait a hook and tack the line to the cedar shingle so that the worm trailed behind it by about a foot. One of us was to stay at the mouth of the culvert by Bennie’s and set the cedar shingle into the current. Then, with the reel bail open, line would be let out as the worm was carried through the culvert, past the huge trout we imagined were lurking there. The other one of us was to be at the other end of the culvert down by Bob Oliver’s Ford garage to intercept the shingle as it emerged from the culvert and, we hoped, a large fish on the hook.

We used a rock to drive the small nail into the cedar and then bend it over to hold the line. After a few tries, we got the line secured and we were set to try it. I was to be the “receiver” at the other end for this first try, so off I raced across the street to get ready. The plan was that after I unhooked the line, Dave would reel it back in and set a line on the second shingle and repeat the process.

Eventually, the cedar shake emerged from the culvert but no fish! I pried the nail off the line, scrambled up the bank and waved my arms to let him know he could reel it back and set it up a second time.

We did this all afternoon, switching places at the ends of the culvert, and we only caught one fish. It was a nice one but, unfortunately, it slipped off the hook as Dave was trying to get hold of it. We got hung up on rocks in the culvert a couple times and broke the line a few times as well.

Eventually, we tired of the project and packed up our poles and stuff. We walked back over to Bova’s and each bought an ice cream sandwich to take the sting off the pretty-much failed grand fishing expedition.

I got home in time for supper and then met up with Stephen Wood and Craig Murray. We were headed to the movies in the Town Hall.

So, downtown we went, eager to take in the latest monster movie: Caltiki – The Immortal Monster. This was the latest movie masterpiece to come out of Europe; Italy in this case. It involved a Blob-type monster discovered at the bottom of an ancient Aztec well. It feasted on human flesh. Once it was released from the well and placed in a lab, it quickly escaped and began to wreak havoc on the public. It was finally destroyed with fire and the world was saved from sure destruction. Not a classic but great fun for thirteen year old boys just beginning a two month break from school.

We didn’t stay for the second movie but headed out for Jake’s Red Hots to have some michigans. We left the movies with a couple other friends and headed down Main Street. One of the guys, I don’t remember who it was, dropped back from the group and quietly reached out and touched one of the others on the back of his neck while making the sounds Caltiki had made in the movie. Of course, the victim jumped, yelled and cursed out his tormentor. We all laughed and teased him and had a grand time headed to Jake’s. No one ever said thirteen year boys were the sharpest pencils in the jar!

In any event, we had our michigans and each headed home (before curfew), the first day of summer vacation 1961 in the books.

It proved to be a great summer break. We played uncounted games of baseball at the field near the old school at the end of Church Street, with not an adult in sight. We chose teams, umpired our own games and worked out any disputes ourselves. We went to more movies, rode our bikes all over the place, camped at the Boardman, fished the Bailey, the Boardman, the Marble and the Chateaugay Rivers, and generally goofed around that summer.

Most of us were Yankee fans and we followed the team closely as they were having an historic season with Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle chasing Babe Ruth’s home run record. They won 109 games and beat Cincinnati in the World Series. To this day, this remains my all-time favorite Yankee Season and every so often, I reread the book, “Season of Glory” just to take it all in once again.

As long as I did my chores at home, showed up for meals on time and was in by curfew each night, I was allowed to be off on my bike with playing and exploring as my full-time “jobs” that summer.

It was truly a safe, carefree, and fun-filled summer before I became a fourteen year old “working man” with the Neighborhood Youth Corps starting in July and August of 1962.

Memories of Soft Drinks From the 1960s

September 19, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.

Humiston’s Grocery – Penny Candy, “Houns”, and a Great Front Step…

Humiston’s Grocery, next to the Lumberyard, on East Main St. was a fixture in the business district for many years.

The first image above that shows Clarence “Mose” Humiston in his store is cropped from a larger photo that shows my dad, who was working in the grocery store in 1940. At the bottom left of this first image is just part of a corner of the penny candy case that was a must-do stop for kids. The inside of the store didn't look much different in the '50s and '60s and through until it closed.

When we bought the penny candy, Mose would always ask if we wanted a "pouche", which he pronounced as "pussh", the French word for a small bag or, literally, a pouch.

The outside step was where we sat drinking 20 oz. Royal Crown Colas that Stephen Wood christened as "houns". The second image is of the 16 oz. version of the glass bottle of Royal Crown Cola.

The third photo shows the complete image from inside the store. From left to right: Clarence "Mose" Humiston, his wife Kathleen, and my father, Gerald Jarvis (who was 16 when this photo was taken). The fourth photo shows Mose (on the right) on the outside of the grocery. I believe this was taken in the early 1960s.

Who knows how many uncounted kids sat on the edge of the front deck and chugged sodas over the years?

Speaking of Soft Drinks in the 1960s…

As I added the final two photos to the Humiston’s Grocery information, I suddenly remembered the very first day Mountain Dew was sold in the North Country.

On a sunny afternoon in August of 1964, Larry Cook and I had just finished our work day with the summer Youth Corps program. We knew that the brand new soda, called Mountain Dew, was being delivered to businesses nation-wide for the first time that day. So, we left the Town Garage and walked up to East Main. We stopped in Peterson’s, sat down at the counter, and each ordered one. Sam pulled two out of the cooler behind the fountain counter. That ice cold drink tasted pretty good after cutting brush all day on the roadside.

Turns out, Mountain Dew was invented (formulated?) by two guys in Tennessee in 1940 as a mixer for bar drinks. The recipe was purchased by a regional distributor, and it was available in isolated areas of the country over the next 20+ years.

The reason it went nation-wide and appeared locally in 1964 was because the national rights were bought by the Pepsi Company, and they began to deliver to all of their customers.

The final three photos [images 5-7] posted above, show: Peterson’s exterior in the 1960s, the interior of the store in 1937 (shown are Georgie Peterson [on the left] and Evie Franklin), and the final image is of the original Mountain Dew Bottles from 1964.

Being a kid in Chateaugay in the late 50s and early 60s was filled with tons of great times and many, many very sweet memories…

The Sunset Inn 1872-1945

September 10, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.

The histories of Chateaugay and the Chateaugay Lakes have been very much intertwined from the earliest days of settlements at each place. The Chateaugay Historical Society has regularly included articles about Chateaugay Lake in our quarterly newsletter. Stories of both communities help to weave the story of our area over the last 200+ years.

This blog post began when a friend of mine, Jesse Kaska, posted a photo on the “Lyon Mountain, Ny” Facebook page. The image he shared is the first one posted below. It shows a sign directing people to the “Sunset Inn on Chateaugay Lake”.

Jesse’s post immediately set off a flurry of comments and questions about the hotel. I wrote a very brief sketch of the inn’s history for the Lyon Mountain page but quickly decided that this week’s blog post should be the story of the Sunset Inn. Here is a profile of the hotel in a bit more detail.

In the early 1870s, Captain W.R. Tupper bought lakefront land on what is now the Sunset Road. In 1872 he built a small hotel on the site and hosted visitors to the Lake. He also operated a side-wheeled motor launch which would ferry his guests from the stagecoach stop at the north end of the lower lake up to his hotel. The paddle wheeler would motor the length of the Lower Lake, its two side mounted paddlewheels churning the water, and make its way up the Narrows, emerge on the Upper Lake and eventually arrive at Tupper’s hostelry (which he called the “Adirondack House” and later, “Tupper’s Hotel”). The captain even referred to the dining room at the hotel as “Tupper’s Hall” where he hosted banquets and dances. This side wheeler, by the way, is said to have been the first of many motor launches to ply the waters of the Upper and Lower Lakes.

The story goes that on weekends, miners who worked for the Chateaugay Ore and Iron Company would frequent Tupper’s to enjoy the drinks he had in stock. Evidently, the president of the company, Andrew Williams, didn’t think much of his employees’ weekend activities there and thought it an unnecessary distraction for the workers, so he bought the property from Tupper and had thoughts of tearing down the small hotel.

Shortly after, Williams was approached by Dr. M.D. Ralph of Malone with the idea for a larger, more upscale hotel to cater to the growing summer clientele on the Lakes. Eventually, a more refined hotel emerged as the Tupper building was renovated and enlarged. It was leased by Dr. Ralph. Understandably, as it was named by the doctor, it quickly became known as “Ralph’s” and was the largest and one of the most popular resorts on the Upper Lake.

Under Williams’ ownership, the main hotel had four levels with expansive verandas. The main floor contained the office, a reading room, a parlor and a huge dining room. The upper three floors held the guest rooms. There was also a two story annex and two two-story guest cottages. The entire facility could accommodate 125 guests, which made it the largest hotel on both lakes. To illustrate the extensive nature of the renovations, the main hotel refrigerator was so large that it could hold eighty tons of ice to keep the kitchen’s food supply adequately cooled. All of the facility’s grounds were also expanded and developed to include croquet, tennis grounds, new docks, larger boat house containing all new boats for the guests (and guest rooms above it), and other amenities.

In 1878, Dr. Ralph became the much-expanded hotel’s owner. He owned it for the next several decades and hired various managers to oversee the day-to-day operations. The hotel became known as the most posh on the lake. In fact, in the early years, guests were expected to “dress” for dinner each evening.

In 1907, it was purchased by Andrew Morrison who renamed it "Morrison’s". He was an experienced hotel man who immediately upgraded the facility. Gas lights were installed to light the entire hotel complex and indoor plumbing was upgraded with the installation of several bathrooms throughout the guest spaces. Morrison would operate the hotel for the next several years. In 1917, Morrison sold to William Dalenz who only remained for three years.

In 1920, Arthur T. Smith of Montreal bought it from Dalenz and named it the "Sunset Inn". Smith had managed and owned restaurants and hotels in Montreal and brought a great deal of experience to the Chateaugay Lake resort.

In 1923, Chateaugay businessman, C.W. Sprague, bought the hotel but only operated it for one season. The Sunset was closed for the 1924 and 1925 seasons. In 1926, Arthur Smith resumed ownership of the hotel (presumably Sprague had defaulted on the mortgage held by Smith).

Smith ran the inn for the next decade. Two factors began to work against him. The roaring “Resort Era” on Chateaugay Lake was waning. The summer visitor traffic that had descended on the Lake for over ninety years was slowing. All of the hotels were feeling the pinch. In addition, the stock market crash on October 24th 1929 and the beginning of what would come to be called “The Great Depression” caused even less visitors to the resorts.

Henry Cook of Chateaugay managed and ran the hotel for the 1935 season; Smith’s last as owner. That year, Smith began to fall behind in his mortgage payments and the die was cast as his ownership was destined to end.

Mrs. Isabelle Shufelt became the new owner when she bought the property at a mortgage foreclosure sale in early 1936. Her son-in-law, Henry Cook, took over long-term management of the hotel at that point. He later owned and ran the hotel until 1940 when it closed for good.

During the years the hotel was known as the “Sunset Inn”, it became the site of area meetings and annual banquets. The pleasant surroundings and first-class facility made it the preferred destination for many groups and organizations. Among those groups regularly scheduling events at the hotel were: the Chateaugay Rotary Club, the Franklin County Veterinarian Association, the Chateaugay Court of Catholic Daughters, various bowling leagues, Lyon Mountain Miners baseball team, and many others.

The main building of the Sunset Inn was demolished in 1945. The Cook family had sold off portions of the large property over the years but kept the two cottages. Carolyn Cook Campbell made one of the cottages her camp on the Lake.

The long and event-filled history of this property on the Sunset Road is a major part of the story of the "Resort Era" on Chateaugay Lake.

Recording Change on West Main

September 5, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.

As much as some of us do not like it, change happens constantly. It is inevitable. In the case of the Historical Society and its mission, when notable buildings, etc. disappear we may be disappointed with their removal, but we forge ahead with our objective to record and archive them for those who will come after us.

To that end, here are three photos. The first is of the McCoy house on West Main Street taken on May 5 of this year. The second is of the same property taken September 5th from the same vantage point (on the sidewalk in front of where the Denio house stood, looking east to the McCoy home). The third was taken of the home and the barns and stable behind it in the 1920s, looking from the East.

To record this particular home, we have taken hundreds of photos. There is a set showing the original exterior views including the wooded area behind the house. Another set of images has documented the complete interior of the house from the attic to the basement. Still more albums record the demolition of the McCoy and Denio houses and the subsequent clearing of the lots. The final photo file shows the construction of the Dollar General store, with photos taken each weekend throughout the construction process. The photo here includes a few cars belonging to folks working this morning to stock the shelves of merchandise. It appears that the opening is getting closer.

In addition to the photo files we have taken for our archives, we have a file containing house scenes from over the years, donated by the McCoy estate. Also, a history of the McCoy house has been written and is ready to appear as an article in an upcoming issue of our quarterly newsletter.

While our group has many documents and objects which we maintain in the Archival Center as an historical collection, in cases such as these changes involving homes, etc., we have neither the means nor the mission to save and/or to do restoration. So many of Chateaugay’s early and noteworthy structures have been demolished over the years, at least this one has been documented as thoroughly as we possibly could. We can’t save and maintain them all, but we can record and note their existence for people seeking information in future years.

Imagine if someone had taken extensive photographs of the fairgrounds at the end of Collins Street, or the Chasm House hotel, or the train yard with the passenger, freight depots, the warehouses and various rail sidings, or the High Falls Pulp and Paper Company, or the Chateaugay Pulp and Paper Company, and so many other local landmarks from days past. We would certainly be grateful to be able to come upon boxes of such photographs today.

By the same token, hopefully history enthusiasts will be delighted to come upon the archived images of this house and the changes happening there, a hundred years from now.

Chateaugay Hotel Photos

July 23, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

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Just working on organizing some photo files and came across these images of the Chateaugay Hotel back in the day.

Smith / Alvord / Cook Home on East Main

June 13, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

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More Transitions

Another of Chateaugay’s earliest and most note-worthy homes is transitioning. I refer to this house as the Smith/Alvord/Cook Home. It has been owned only by these three families since it was built by Colonel Thomas Smith in 1818.

The Smith family had come to Chateaugay the year after it was originally settled in 1796. Col. Smith’s father, Jacob Smith had served in the American Revolution. He and his family arrived in Chateaugay in 1797. He lived on what we now refer to as the Earlville Road and began a small tannery operation on his property.

Thomas Smith served as an officer during the War of 1812. He operated a tavern at the Four Corners which served as the headquarters for American General Wade Hampton during the war. He was one of the most influential local citizens, serving in various capacities in local government. The Colonel had this home built of locally quarried stone.

The first photo shows a drawing of the original structure. It still serves as the main part of the house.

This is really a three story house which was very unusual in this area in 1818.

Servants’ quarters were on the basement level. Half of space was their living quarters, half of the space was the kitchen. The servants’ quarters were very comfortable with plaster and lath walls which were even wallpapered.

All the local grocers were informed that any kitchen deliveries were to be made to the basement level and not the main or upper floors, which were the family’s spaces. There were two doorways to enter and exit the basement.

The second photo shows a part of the cooking ovens and fireplaces in the basement.

The Smith family sold to W.S. Alvord in the 1840s. Alvord family owned it for the next 80 years.

It was purchased by the E. D. Cook family in 1923. Edwin Cook renovated the interior, adding modern plumbing and wiring. He also added the front porch of matching stone and the dormer across the north facing roof line. The original configuration of the interior framing and room sizes, etc. was left essentially unchanged.

The third photo shows the house as it appears today. If you imagine the dormer and front porch not being there, it is easy to see that the main portion of the house is still the same as the original drawing.

This is truly an historically significant home in the village. It resembles the original structure as much as possible considering that it has been continuously occupied for the last two hundred years. The only structural changes have been the porch and dormer. The inside is laid out much as it was when it was built.

Because of the recent passings of Olin “Odie” and Barbara Cook, the house is now for sale. Odie and Barb were founding members of the Chateaugay Historical Society and were each named as a “Trustee Emeritus” when they retired from our Board. They were fiercely proud of their home and its historical significance. They treasured its ambiance and were protective of its legacy.

The fourth photo shows the home this morning (June 13, 2021).

Demo on West Main: McCoy and Denio Houses

June 6, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.


As a wise man once said, “the only constant in life is change.” We can always count on things evolving and changing. Some see change as good, others see it as a negative. Either way, it will happen – that much is guaranteed.

West Main Street is now seeing a significant change. The former McCoy and Denio homes on the south side of West Main are gone, soon to be replaced with a Dollar General store.

I have followed the entire process and have attempted to keep a comprehensive photo record as things have unfolded.

The McCoy house was built by Jonathan Hoit (Herb McCoy Jr.’s great great grandfather) in the early 1830s on a fifty acre parcel of woodland inside what would become the village of Chateaugay. In fact, a document found in the house affirms that Jonathan Hoit built the home from lumber milled from original trees found on the property.

The Denio house was built about fifty years after the McCoy home on a small lot from property sold by the McCoys.

Most of my involvement with this whole process has been in connection with the McCoy home. I had the good fortune to work with Herb McCoy Jr.’s heir as the home was cleaned out. The Historical Society was the recipient of a large quantity of documents, photographs and artifacts, thanks to the diligent, painstaking, and careful sorting of the house’s contents.

The local and family history collected and saved by the five generations of the Hoit/McCoy families that lived there, was quietly waiting to be revealed. The careful sorting and identification of the home’s contents following Herb’s passing, resulted in a treasure trove of significant items which were donated to our archives.

I was able to do a thorough photo record of the McCoy interior, the exteriors of both houses, the subsequent demolitions, and property clearing up through today.

I spent time speaking with the surveyor who was working this morning, laying out the lines for the upcoming construction. While chatting with him and explaining who I was, we talked about recording the whole process. I told him that, down the road – say 50 or 75 years from now, someone from the Historical Society might be doing research about the 2020s. By creating this photographic record, there will be a complete documentation of this event to look back on.

I am preparing an article for a future newsletter issue that will have an in-depth history of the houses and the property which will set the homes in their proper historical context.

For now, here is a selection of 27 of the approximately 500 photos I have taken of the process so far. Some show the interior features of the Hoit/McCoy home, some show the exteriors of both houses, some are of the demolition process, and the last few are of the property this morning (June 6, 2021).

This blog post is as much a Chateaugay “news” story as it is a recording of events for the future. It is presented here with commentary-free, descriptive captions purely as an historical record to be saved and archived for future researchers.

East Main Street Postcard

March 26, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

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Here is one of my favorite images showing the south side of East Main Street. This side of East Main was never photographed as much as the north side but the buildings were equally as impressive.

This postcard is undated but is probably from the late 1920s. It clearly shows the extent of the buildings on this side of the street back then.

The only two of these buildings still standing. First, is the one on the corner, in the immediate right of the scene. This is the Jackson Block which was constructed in 1876. Among the more recent businesses in this two-storefront structure have been (in no particular order): Mills Diner, Ethel's Harvest Room, Bush's Restaurant, Chic-Toggs, Write One, and Hometown Family Chiropractic. It is vacant today.

The only other surviving building is the three story one, midway down the street. This has been the home of Shaw's 5&10, Alix's Variety Store, and Lopardo's Barber Shop. Today it is Write One Plus.

If the postcard was enlarged, one can see the stained glass transom panels in each masonry building just like the ones that were in the north side buildings.

The two wooden frame buildings sandwiched between the two surviving buildings were demolished to create the grass lot that is there today.

The first portions of the building immediately to the east of the three story structure were where Cantwell's Hall was located on the second floor. The ground floor would eventually become Pearl's (which is a subject of one of the articles in the soon-to-be published Chateaugay Historical Society quarterly newsletter) which was the "go to" downtown store for clothing and footwear for the whole family for many years.

The lumberyard which sits across from the Town Hall (and is the subject of another article in that upcoming issue) is obscured by the trees.

For a small town, Chateaugay certainly had an impressive business district "back in the day."

West Main Street Pre WWI

March 6, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.

This weekend, we journey back to West Main Street just before World War I to examine what one would see if they took a stroll just west of the four corners back then.

This first photo shows the paving of West Main as the work crews made their way westward from the four corners. After many years of discussion, Main Street was finally paved with a hard-fired brick beginning in 1912/13. Stacks of pavers can be seen on both sides of the street awaiting installation on the roadway. The improvement was welcomed by all as the muddy mess following wet weather conditions had become a real issue for the locals.

There is an example of the paving brick used for this project in our Archival Center in the Town Hall.

Shown on the right in the first photo is the exterior and in the second one, the interior, of the first railcar-style diner in Chateaugay. It was owned and operated by Oliver Patnode. His favorite expression was “Holy Jumpin’ Moses” which he used regularly and loudly. This image appeared in the Chateaugay Record and the information comes from the caption that accompanied the photo. Unfortunately it did not reproduce clearly here. The sign above the door reads: “Egg sandwiches 10₵ or two for 15₵” and the two customers are unidentified.

Oliver Patnode’s diner stood where Joe Parent’s store, later the Chasm Hydro offices, and now Backus Realty were/are located.

In the first photo, note the name painted on the west wall of the hotel is the “Chateau”, one of the many names given it over the many years of its operation.

Crossing the street and starting on the corner with the bank building, the first photo does not show the grocery store connected to the bank’s west wall. But, the third photo shows C.H. Crawford’s store with his name on the canvas awning. Immediately west of the grocery is Tobin’s Hotel. (For Society members who save all the issues, look back to your 2011 newsletter copy of Vol. X Issue 3 for a history of George Tobin and his hotel.) The first photo shows the hotel from the west side and the third gives us a look at it from the east side. It was the smallest of the four local hostelries back then (the Union House, the Chateaugay Hotel, the Chasm House and Tobin’s) but it has an interesting and entertaining story about it.

The fourth photo shows a scene from “Tobin’s Saloon” on the first floor of his hotel. Seen behind the bar are L to R: Walter Humiston, George Plouffe and George Tobin. In front of the bar on the left are Allen Eaton, Dan Golden and an identified man. To the right of the bar are Frank Sitifer and Bert Gillette. Eaton, Golden and the unidentified man all have their glasses of dark beer raised while Bert Gillette appears to be enjoying his favorite cigar.

Note the spittoon on the floor. Also, no barstools here! Just “belly up” to the bar rail and enjoy your favorite adult beverage! There is also a mount of an elk rack above mirror behind the bar.

Continuing westward on the north side of the street, Dan Chambers livery stable is next to Tobin’s. The building that is just out of view at the very edge of the photo is the Chateaugay Record office. The very edge of the first photo catches the power pole that is seen in the fifth photo which shows the Record office.

Unfortunately, this scene would be drastically changed in 1915 when a fire would sweep through the north side of the block. The blaze would begin in the rear of Chamber’s Livery and quickly spread. When the smoke cleared and the fire was finally extinguished, all the buildings from the corner of Harrison Avenue to the bank building would lay in smoking ruins.

The final two photos here show the devastation left by the blaze. The first is a view from Harrison Avenue that shows the machinery from the destroyed Record office and the remains of the burned out grocery store the morning after the 1915 fire. The second shows the fire’s aftermath as viewed when standing across West Main St from about where the St. Patrick’s parking lot is today.

New buildings would quickly spring up to replace those lost in that 1915 fire. But, because of that blaze, yet another unique Main Street view of Chateaugay from years past would be consigned to the dust bin of local history.

East Main Street & Business Ads

February 28, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.

A different approach this week… While researching how and when the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain RR became the Rutland RR, I began reading the weekly issues of the Chateaugay Journal from 1896 and 1897, looking for news articles about the railroad. During all that, I came across a nice selection of ads run by local businesses and began saving them.

Pictured are street scenes from that time and the actual ads. The first and second photos are of East Main St. The first shows downtown looking east from the Four Corners. The second shows farther out East Main. The lumberyard is recognizable on the right. Note that there is no Town Hall on the left. Construction of that would not begin until 1911. The next photo shows the wall ads for McKenna’s Pharmacy at the Four Corners. The fourth photo shows the painted name sign “Ryan & Franklin” from the alley behind what was Ryan’s Hardware (now the “Talk of the Town Pizza” shop).

A little backstory on this fourth photo. Back in 2019 when remodeling was going on, I stopped one day and asked the contractor if sometime he might show me the back buildings (which used to be a tin shop where heating system ducts, etc. were made for the hardware’s installation business. The contractor handed me a flashlight and said: “sure, you can go back right now and check it out.” Grabbing my camera, I took a bunch of shots of the outside and inside of the back building. There are two ways to enter the tin shop space. By climbing a few stairs in the back, you can pass directly into the back while staying in the building. The second way is to go out the rear door into the alley and cross to a door on the tin shop’s lower level. That is where the Ryan & Franklin sign is painted. It is a bit difficult to make out in the photo but when it was done, over 100 years ago, it was clear and much brighter.

Following these four photos are a selection of the ads that were printed in the Chateaugay Journal during '96 and ’97. They are a nice snap shot of business being conducted here 125 years ago.

Stoughton - Dupree Farm

February 19, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.

This weekend we will again explore another building, but not a business property in the village like the last two weekends. About two miles east of the village limits is property on the south side of Route 11 that originally belonged to one of Chateaugay’s first settlers.

Samuel Stoughton came here in the earliest years of Chateaugay’s founding. He is listed in the 1798 Tax Assessment for Clinton County (Franklin County had not been established yet) as the owner of 150 acres.

Part of his property became the farm of his son, Samuel W. Stoughton. The younger Samuel had been born in 1812, a time when Chateaugay’s population was small and most of the land was still heavily forested. In addition, there were considerable troop movements through the town and a sizable presence of troops camped here all during the war of 1812.

Samuel W. eventually married Margaret Witherspoon in 1843. Over the next 30 years, they farmed the land and had a family of nine children. In the 1870s they sold to their son, James H. Stoughton and his wife, Nancy.

It was James and a man named Polick that built the barn which is today’s topic. In 1884, this innovative dairy barn was constructed and became the centerpiece of the farm. But, before describing the structure itself, let’s look at the owners that bring the farm into the present.

In 1887, James Stoughton passed away at the age of 36. The next year his wife sold the property to Wolford Smith. For almost 25 years, the Smiths farmed and raised their family.

In 1912, George McGregor bought the farm and kept dairy cows until 1944 when he sold to Thomas and Margaret Dupree. Their son, Bob, and his wife Edna bought in 1960 and raised their family there. The farm is currently owned by their children.

The barn was designed to accommodate the lay of the land and was basically built into the sloping hillside. During one of the times I stopped over to visit with Bob, we got talking about the barn and he related the story behind the building and its layout. It was considered to be quite state-of-the-art when built and later became one of the first to install a modern milking system.

When Bob’s father bought the farm, he found the barn to be much as it was when originally built. The milking was done on the ground floor; milk house in the front and the cattle behind. Much of this level was below ground level, helping it to retain the heat thrown off by the cows in the winter and keeping the summer heat out and making it cooler during warmer weather.

The barn was built to allow a horse team to walk into the second level hay mow from the back of the barn. Once the hay was unloaded, there was a turntable in the floor that allowed the team and wagon to be spun around and driven straight out the doors in the back. The Duprees eventually removed the turntable but the basic structure of the barn remained the same.

The years have taken their toll and the masonry is deteriorating at this point. Bob told me that he and his father before him always made sure to keep a good roof on the building. With that, the framing remains largely intact and unaffected.

In 1984, the Chateaugay Record featured the barn in a front page article, calling it the “Centennial Barn” and briefly tracing its history.

After our conversation about the building, my next request was to be able to take photos of it. Bob readily said “sure” and off I went with my camera. The featured images are a sampling of the photos I took that day. They show another unique Chateaugay treasure that is part of the fabric our great hometown.

Anderson Block

February 12, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

To view full size images and read captions, click on an image.

We looked at the Chateaugay bank building last weekend. This time, let’s turn to the Anderson Block on the north side of East Main Street. This structure was built following the great fire of 1893 which destroyed every building between River Street and John Street. Mary Humiston wrote an account of this blaze in the very first edition of our newsletter in 2007.

The temps were far below zero and the wind was blowing a gale on the night of the fire. The Fire Department had no chance against those daunting conditions. When the sun rose the next morning, the entire block was in ruins. In fact, the embers had even swirled around and ignited the small store west of the blaze on the corner of River and West Main. This, too, was destroyed. In fact, that newly vacant lot made construction of the new bank possible (but that was last week’s post).

Many owners on East Main Street immediately began to make plans to rebuild. Others sold the property and buyers scooped up the suddenly available lots and made plans for new business buildings. A new village ordinance mandated that all newly constructed business district structures had to be of masonry, not wood construction.

Mrs. Rudolphus Anderson, born Cornelia Smith, made plans for the building shown in the first photo below. Mrs. Anderson certainly had the financial means to construct the imposing building that she wanted. Her late father was Judge Henry Smith. He was the son of Col. Thomas Smith (who owned Smith’s Tavern that had originally stood at the corner of River and East Main) and the grandson of Major Jacob Smith (who was one of Chateaugay’s earliest settlers and had built a small tannery at his property on what is now the Earlville Road.) Jacob Smith had fought in the Revolutionary War and Thomas had served in the War of 1812.

Judge Henry Smith was an astute businessman as well as a prominent civic leader and politician. When he died, he was reputed to be the richest man in Franklin County with extensive real estate and business holdings in Chateaugay and the surrounding area. His daughters inherited his fortune. Cornelia married Rudolphus Anderson and two of her sisters married two of the Cantwell brothers (of Cantwell Hall fame, etc.). Cornelia had both her father’s keen business instincts and the financial means to construct an impressive and noteworthy building.

I am currently researching a long article for our newsletter that will tell the story of the Smiths, Andersons and the Cantwells (The Smiths were a story in themselves with several consequential members who impacted Chateaugay’s history in many major ways. The Cantwells were part of the family of attorneys in Malone as well as Cantwell’s Hall [which Phyllis Thompson wrote of in an article in our newsletter]. Rudolphus and Cornelia Smith Anderson were the parents of Col. K.S. Anderson and his three brothers). Watch for that Smith/Anderson/Cantwell article in a future newsletter issue.

Now, back to Mrs. Anderson. She wanted her building to be the most noteworthy and impressive of all of the new construction as downtown bounced back from that devastating 1893 fire. She worked with Malone architect, G.S. Croff, to design the structure that would bring her vision to life.

Originally, plans were made for a brick building to match every one of the other new structures, but she changed her mind and ended up facing the front with Gouverneur marble and adding stained glass panels to the second floor. All the new buildings planned to install stained glass panels over the first floor store-front windows but she added that same feature to the second floor windows as well. In addition, she had all the trim and ceilings on both floors done in select-grade whitewood. All of the ceiling, door, window and cabinet construction and trim were painstakingly installed, oiled and finished with coats of shellac. She also insisted on premium fixtures throughout.

All of the block reconstruction from River to John Streets that followed the 1893 fire was completed within a year.

The Anderson (some refer to it as the Bessette) block has seen a significant number of tenants and businesses over the last fifty years or so and a significant portion of the inside has been remodeled with many of the original features having been replaced or covered over.

In 2018, I was able to accompany a county official into the vacant building and take a series of photos. We discovered a leak in the roof which was subsequently patched. The block is in the County’s possession today.

Should the building ever find itself in a private owner’s hands again someday, there will be issues to contend with: the front stonework and back brickwork need repointing to replace deteriorating mortar joints, an entirely new roof should be installed, the exterior woodwork and trim badly needs either reconditioning, repair or replacement, and the interior would require much care and attention as well.

Is this block the “grand dame” of the remaining business blocks on Main Street? Who can say, but she surely still has the potential to be a showcase of 1890s commercial construction in Chateaugay.

Pictured are some of the shots I took that day. Some of the photos show original construction details and design while others show more recent changes and remodeling that has been done over the years.

I was very impressed as I went through it from basement to second floor. Enough of the original features of Mrs. Anderson’s construction plan still exist to clearly show how her vision for the building was made reality as it rose from the ashes of that devastating 1893 fire.

Key Bank

February 7, 2021 | Mick Jarvis

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The Chateaugay branch of Key Bank closed almost two years ago. The building sits empty today. When it was built in late 1890s, it quickly became one of the busiest spots in the business district.

The bank used a portion of the first floor for its lobby and located several banking offices in the lowest level. The rest of the first floor and the second housed several retail businesses over the early years. The third floor was used as a meeting space for the Grand Army of the Republic at first and then the Masonic Lodge used the floor.

The third space was (is) a large, open space with a small enclosed area for storage and any kitchen needs.

Before the bank was closed, I was allowed to go into the third floor to take a few photos. No pictures were allowed in the basement office and vault area, nor on the first floor and second floor with the meeting room and a third vault.

What happens next for the building is unsure. It is currently for sale. I remember thinking, as I stood in that third floor space, that with full glass on the east and south walls it would make an amazing studio apartment.

Included here is an image of the bank shortly after it opened and the main entrance was on the corner. The next photo shows the bank more recently with the entrance on the west side of the building's front. The last two shots show the space on the third floor. Even though it has not been used for many years, it is easy to see how well finished the room was when it was new.

Another Chateaugay landmark transitions to an uncertain future...