Alcove Historic District
The Alcove Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2009, The Gombach Group.
The Alcove Historic District in southeastern Albany County includes a small grouping of structures along the Hannacrois Creek. In general, the creek flows west to east. Southeast of Alcove, the Hannacrois has been dammed creating the Alcove Reservoir.
The structures within the Alcove Historic District fall into several groups formed by natural and man-made features. A natural division is created by the Hannacrois Creek. The land on the east side rises sharply from the creek bed and flattens across a narrow stream terrace. This terrace accommodates five of the structures included within the Alcove Historic District. These structures are separated into three groups by the "T" intersection of County Route 111 and Alcove Road. Between Alcove Road and Hannacrois Creek stand two structures, one a combined country store and U.S. Post Office near the intersection and the second a barn/garage southeast of the first. Across Alcove Road from these two structures lie two other structures, the early nineteenth century William Briggs homestead and an associated house. Behind the Briggs homestead, the stream terrace ends and the land rises in a modest grade. Between Route 111 and Hannacrois Creek and across Route 111 from those structures just described lies another structure presently used for apartments.
That portion of the Alcove Historic District lying on the west side of the Hannacrois Creek occupies a tongue of land defined on the east by the creek itself. On its west side the tongue is defined by what appears to be the original bed of Hannacrois Creek. Construction of the Alcove Reservoir blocked this bed. The spillway from the reservoir was constructed south of the creek remnant and its flow now joins the Hannacrois Creek at the southern tip of the tongue. The ground surface across the southern portion of this tongue is relatively flat. County Route 111, bridging Hannacrois Creek near the country store, passes east/west across this tongue. Three vernacular residences in the Alcove Historic District and associated outbuildings lie along Route 111 south of the road. Waterboard Road forms a "T" intersection with the county route from the north about midway along the row of houses. A short distance from this intersection and on a prominent rise north of the flat tongue of land is a reservoir station and group of barns. These structures lie on the west side of Waterboard Road. Although this is a rural community, there is a sense of a crossroads center created by those structures clustered at the intersection of Alcove Road and County Route 111.
The community of Alcove was founded upon hydraulic industry. Remains of various such industries are still evident at Alcove. However, there has not been any comprehensive survey of these resources, and, consequently, there is little documentation presently available on them. An old foundation that lay on the west bank of the Hannacrois Creek and north of Route 111 between Waterboard Road and the creek was recently partially buried beneath landfill, although some walls still stand. The ruin is purported to be that of a one-time grist mill. Other masonry forms are reported along the creek banks, but these are unsurveyed and their functional context undocumented. The present Alcove Historic District is based on the standing architecture at Alcove and has not taken into account the hydraulic industrial remains.
The Alcove Historic District is a small nineteenth-century rural community, the result of hydraulic industrial development along the Hannacrois Creek. Originally known as Stephensville, the village was settled about 1790 by Casparus Ackerman and Archibald Stephens. Early hydraulic industries in the vicinity of Alcove included a grist mill, a flax mill, a paper mill, a saw mill and a carding and cloth mill.
The Alcove Historic District is significant because it is the architectural remnant of a small, but once flourishing, mid-nineteenth century mill center. The William Briggs homestead reflects the wealth which the milling business produced. Its main section, simple but substantial, has some simple Greek Revival detailing. The homestead is the most impressive structure in the area. The remaining structures represent a variety of architectural styles. The handsome cut stone warehouse building with stepped gables is representative of the Federal style.
The other structures, though modest in scale and decoration, contribute to the simple rural crossroads character of the Alcove Historic District. The Alcove Historic District gains its significance from the survival of these largely intact nineteenth-century vernacular structures. They retain their original rural setting along the banks of the creek which was the economical reason for Alcove's existence.
Howell, George R. History of the County of Albany. Albany, 1886.
Parker, Amos J. Landmarks of Albany County, New York. Syracuse: D. Mason & Co. 1897.