NORTHVILLE - The village's historic district is expected to receive special recognition later this year.
The district is due to be placed on the state and National Registers of Historic places. It includes properties on Main Street, Division Street, Bridge Street and First Street through Fifth Street, with many private homes, businesses and apartments listed in the district.
"Preserving these historic sites helps promote tourism, one of New York's fastest-growing industries, especially upstate," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news release in March, when the state announced parts of Northville and other areas of the state had been nominated for placement on the state and national registers. "These sites represent notable parts of New York's past, and I encourage travelers to visit them and learn about our state's great history."
Northville Mayor John Spaeth points out some of the historic buildings on the village’s Main Street, including the
J. A. Cole Building.
Photo by Arthur Cleveland/The Leader-Herald
The Northville Baptist Church, one of the buildings listed as part of the Northville Historic District, is shown
Photo by Arthur Cleveland/The Leader-Herald
Allen & Palmer True Value owner Shawn Darling looks at the more than
100-year-old store front, which is part of the Northville Historic District.
Photo by Arthur Cleveland/The Leader-Herald
Northville Mayor John Spaeth said the historic district effort began in 2007, when a group called the Historic Landmark Commission attempted to create a register of historic places and regulate what could be done with them. However, Spaeth said the group did not have a lot of support.
Following the proposal to tear down the Northville Bank on North Main Street to make room for a Family Dollar, Spaeth and concerned citizens formed the Community Collaboration Council to get the historic district made. They submitted the proposal for the historic district in December.
"Pretty much most of the main businesses on Main Street [are part of the district]," Spaeth said.
Formed in the 1780s, the village still has much of its original street plan, which was established in 1797.
The completion of the Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville railroad in 1875 spurred the growth of the village and resulted in a building boom along the corridors perpendicular to Main Street.
The creation of the Sacandaga Reservoir in 1930 dramatically changed the physical and economic landscape, flooding many former Sacandaga River communities and cutting the village off from its railroad connection.
Erected in 1895, the bank has stood for more than 100 years and served as the first bank in the village. According to the Northville Northampton Historical Society, on March 28, 1895, 28 village residents met and subscribed to 300 shares of the proposed capital of $30,000. A charter was granted by the Superintendent of Banks. An attempted robbery occured in 1911, when someone tried to blow the safe, but the person failed and made a getaway in an automobile. The bank was used until the late 2000's.
Allen & Palmer building
One of the older buildings in the village is the Allen & Palmer building on 112 N. Main St.. The building, which currently houses a True Value, was built by Edwin Allen and Andrew Palmer around 1885. Shawn Darling, a co-owner of Allen & Palmer True Value, said the partners went into business after dealing with Sam Benton, who kicked them out of a store they were renting. After building Allen & Palmer, the pair ran the store for several years, handing it down to five different generations of owners, before the building ended up in Darling and Leland Robinson's hands.
Northville Baptist Church
Established in 1802, the original church stood for 100 years before lightning struck it in 1902, destroying it in a fire, according to Pastor Richard Klueg. Klueg said the church's pastor at the time, a British man named John Trevebarber, decided to build a new one on what is now 111 N. First St. Trevebarber, who was also an architect, designed the building in 1902, building it for $9,037.46. Since then, there have been two additions.
and Drake Home
Donna Breda, who lives at 202 S. Main St., lives where the former Winnie-House Hotel was built. According to Breda, her home, built by her uncle Harry Drake in 1926, stands where the former Winnie-House Hotel stood. Breda said the hotel had stretched out to the street, but a fire in 1919 left little of it remaining. A part of the hotel still stands along with a red barn, which Breda runs a consignment shop out of.
Northville 5 and 10
According to the National Register application, in 1914, the James Willard Block on122 S. Main St. was built as an investment property, originally housing the R.G. DeWitt 5, 10 & 25 Cent Store. The two-story, brick building was among the last commercial buildings constructed in the downtown core.
According to store employee Alberta Blowers, the store has changed hands multiple times over her 50 years as an employee. The store was owned by J.J. Newberry's, McCrory Stores and other chains, before it was bought by the current owner, Susanne Laporte, roughly 16 years ago.
Blowers said the store was always very busy and popular in the village. She remembered when the store originally had toys and household items in the basement.
"It was neat down there. When you come in, you're right there," Blowers said.
J.A. Cole Building
James A Cole built this brick building in 1895 as an investment, renting it out to local businesses. Resseguie and Wilson Hardware was one of the first businesses in the location. Over the years many different business have occupied the building. Today, it is still in use, with a pizzeria.
Northville Village Cemetery
The first settlers of the village are buried here, starting with John Dennison and Phoebe Elwell in 1804. The cemetery association was organized in 1855. Concrete block pillars support the gates. The cemetery's east boundary is the Great Sacandaga Lake, originally known as Hunter's Creek.
According to the application to the National Register, the historic district forms an L-shape, following Main Street from the southern terminus of the peninsula north to Bridge and Division streets. It then follows Bridge and Division streets to the western terminus of the peninsula. These streets comprise the village's central core and include its primary commercial and residential corridors. Northville retains its historic street plan; Main Street was laid out in 1797, and a grid plan was expanded to the west to accommodate new development.
Spaeth said grants would be available to owners of the historic properties once the district is registered. An up to 20 percent tax credit also would be available on renovations done to the buildings.
According to Cuomo's office, through commercial historic rehabilitation tax credits administered by the State Historic Preservation Office, developers invested $1 billion statewide in 2013 to revitalize properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, while homeowners using the state historic homeowner rehabilitation tax credit invested more than $14.3 million statewide on home improvements to help revitalize historic neighborhoods.
According to Spaeth, many of the buildings are registered due to their age, rather than a specific moment in their histories. Many of the buildings listed are more than 50 years old. The Northville Baptist Church and the Northville 5 and 10 are roughly 100 years old, and some buildings even older.
The sites were nominated to the National Registers of Historic Places by state officials, Spaeth said, and approval by the U.S. Department of the interior could be given later this year.
Spaeth said he hopes this new status, along with a potential National Registry position, could help preserve the village and draw in tourists to the village.
Donna Breda, who lives at 202 S. Main St. where the former Winnie-House Hotel was built, said she was happy to see the building registered.
"I think it is great, we are really interested," Breda said. "... That is one of the things the tourists love about Northville, the old buildings and being able to go through them. The old 5 and 10 Store, the quaintness of it."
Alberta Blowers, an employee at the 5 and 10 Store for 50 years, said she thinks the district was a great idea. Blowers said many tourists came into the store anyway because of the older aesthetic.
"I know everybody that comes has to come in here, with our tin ceiling and wooden floors," Blowers said.
"Northville is a special place; I lived here for 26 years," Richard Klueg, pastor at the Northville Baptist Church, said. "I raised my kids here, I love the village and I want to see it stay the same. There is always progress, but there needs to be some continuity."