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Broadway Historic District


The Broadway Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2010, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Broadway Historic District contains three estate properties in the village of Cape Vincent, built between 1815-1840 by prominent French emigres. Located on the St. Lawrence River, on the west edge of the village of Cape Vincent, the 22-acre Broadway Historic District encompasses seven contributing elements, five houses and two outbuildings. The boundaries of the Broadway Historic District conform to the rear property lines of the buildings and are defined by the distinct change in scale and character of surrounding areas: the St. Lawrence River to the north, inactive farmland to the south, a closely spaced residential area of the village containing varied building styles and periods to the east and a series of small-scale riverside summer homes to the west.

Within the Broadway Historic District the properties are located on both sides of Broadway, which runs generally parallel to the St. Lawrence River. The character of Broadway changes from an enclosed tree-lined residential street in the village to an open coastal road with grand scale residences set in extensive lawns and oriented to the view of the river within the district. Broadway continues west as Tibbetts Point Road and is characterized by small-scale summer homes. The Broadway Historic District is visually separated from the areas to the east and west by mature vegetation.

The Broadway Historic District is composed of three large high-style residences, the Stone House (1815), Maple Grove (1838) and Beechwood (1840); two houses, the Servants Quarters (1820) and Bragden House (1840) which were originally service buildings on the Stone House property but are now independent elements of the streetscape; and two early twentieth century outbuildings of the Stone House, the stable and the gazebo. The Broadway Historic District is unified by the scale and the classical styles of the three large residences.

The Stone House (National Register listed) was the earliest building in the Broadway Historic District. It is a two-story, five-bay Georgian style building of dressed, regularly coursed limestone, quarried on Carleton Island. It features structural quoins, a watertable and elliptical arched windows and doors. It has a shallow hipped roof with a balustrade. The riverside facade features a formal curving limestone stairway. The gardens (no longer extant) were laid out in formal beds in the French manner, with fish pools.

Maple Grove (1838) and Beechwood (1840) are adjacent, two-story, Greek Revival style residences located on the south side of Broadway and set back from the road overlooking the St. Lawrence River. They each have a prominent two-story denticulated pedimented portico supported by four square columns and a recessed front entry flanked by sidelights and engaged columns. Their similarities of style and setting contribute to a sense of unity in the district.

Maple Grove is a clapboard building with a two-story, gabled, rectangular main block and a one-story, shed-roofed, sun porch on the east side. It has a three-bay window on the west facade and two small rear ells. It retains the original six-over-six windows and louvered shutters. An attached garage was added to the rear of the building c.1950.

Beechwood, a brick building, was constructed and altered in three major stages as the result of two fires. The existing side wing with front and rear porches was built in 1840. Following a fire in 1854, the original wing was reconstructed and the rectangular main block was added. Following a second fire in 1932, the original hipped roof of the main block was replaced with a gable roof and the pedimented portico was added, providing its present Greek Revival style facade.

The Servants Quarters (1820) is a one and one-half story frame residence, adjacent to the Stone House on the north side of Broadway. It has a steeply pitched gable roof which flares out over open porches in the front and back. The porches, or galleries, stuccoed end walls and casement windows in this building reflect the vernacular French Colonial building style found throughout Quebec and the Mississippi Valley in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The original Stone House property extended south of Broadway and included the service building, Bragden House (1840), a vernacular two-story frame residence. Its L-shaped plan, deep cornice and six-over-six windows are characteristic of the Greek Revival style. It has a wrap-around porch and porte-cochere which were added c.1890. An octagonal lattice gazebo and a one-story frame stable with a shallow hipped roof also contribute to the historic character of the property.

Significance

The Broadway Historic District is historically and architecturally significant as an intact cohesive grouping of properties reflecting the early to mid-nineteenth century settlement of the village of Cape Vincent by a group of prominent French patriots. Built between 1815-1840, the properties are related by their common period of development, the grand scale and high style of the architecture, the historic links between their aristocratic French owners and their common siting on the St. Lawrence River. The Broadway Historic District is the only distinct enclave of historic resources in the village and includes the largest and most imposing residences in the village. They are significant for their architectural quality and as a record of the wealth, position and stylistic concerns of the French founders of the community.

The Broadway Historic District includes three high-style residences, the Stone House (National Register listed), Maple Grove and Beechwood, as well as four contributing outbuildings which were part of the former Stone House estate, the Servants Quarters, Bragden House, the stables and the gazebo.

James LeRay de Chaumont, a French nobleman who amassed enormous land holdings in northern New York, was responsible for the settlement and development of Cape Vincent in the early nineteenth century. LeRay hoped to establish a commercial center in the village of Cape Vincent by capitalizing on its strategic location at the junction of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River for shipping and trade. He also promoted the agricultural development of the town. In 1808, LeRay opened a land office to sell property in small parcels to prospective settlers. In 1809, he hired Eber Kelsey and twenty men to clear fifty acres in the village and erect a wharf to encourage settlement further.

In 1815, LeRay had the Stone House built for his son Vincent, for whom he named the village. The house was located across the street from the land office (no longer extant) and provided a local base for Vincent to oversee the family land business. The Stone House was a very large and refined building for the frontier settlement. In 1815, the year before the road to Watertown opened, Cape Vincent had only eleven houses. In 1820, the LeRay family built the Servants Quarters adjacent to the Stone House to house the household staff.

James LeRay encouraged a group of prominent French Bonapartistes to come to Cape Vincent between 1818 and 1820, following Napoleon's downfall and exile. These men developed a plan to bring Napoleon to Cape Vincent, which was foiled by his death in 1821. Among the French immigrants during this period were Jean Philippe Galband du Fort, a knight whose residence is an individual component of the district, Capt. Louis Peugnet, a bodyguard of Napoleon whose residence is also an individual component, and his brother Theophilus Peugnet, also an officer in Napoleon's army who built Maple Grove.

When the LeRay family and many of the French Bonapartistes returned to France in the early 1830's, Theophilus Peugnet purchased the Stone House and the Maple Grove parcel. He built Maple Grove in 1838. In 1835 he also acquired the Beechwood property, but sold it the following year to French immigrants Henry and Annette Crevolin, who constructed Beechwood in 1840.

The Broadway Historic District is architecturally significant for the quality of design and craftsmanship of its three high-style residences, which reflect the American architectural styles popular during their period of construction. The Stone House, a Georgian style building, is distinguished by its roofline balustrade, elliptical fanlights and quoins. Its limestone construction and details, notably the watertable, sills, quoins, and smooth ashlar arched window and door crowns with keystones, display excellent craftsmanship. Maple Grove, a Greek Revival style building, is distinguished by its two-story pedimented portico displaying a high level of detail and craftsmanship, notably in its doorway with engaged pilasters, transom and sidelights. Although the Greek Revival style pedimented portico on Beechwood was added in 1930, it is consistent in style and scale to the period of construction of the house and, as a reflection of the style of Maple Grove, adds cohesiveness to the historic district.

The Broadway Historic District reflects both the concerns of the original owners to espouse the popular American architectural styles of the period and a remnant of their French heritage. This is evidenced most clearly by the Servants Quarters building, which embodies characteristics associated with vernacular French Colonial architecture in North America. Its front and rear flared roof porches, casement windows and stuccoed end walls are typical of the residences built by French settlers in Quebec and the Mississippi Valley throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

The three later outbuildings constructed as part of the Stone House estate, Bragden House (1840), a service building, the horse stable and gazebo (c.1920s) are significant as a reflection of the continuing development of the Stone House property by wealthy owners throughout the period of significance.

The houses in the Broadway Historic District were owned by some of Cape Vincent's most prominent residents. Theophilus Peugnet was a farmer and businessman. He was among the original trustees of the village when it was incorporated in 1853 and served as the Collector of the U.S. Customs District from 1857-1861. Henry Crevolin was a merchant who dealt in dry goods and agricultural implements. He also built the St. Lawrence Hotel in the mid-nineteenth century, which was destroyed by fire in 1884. Charles Smith purchased Maple Grove in 1847. Mr. Smith owned Carleton Island and was a locally prominent lumber merchant. Between 1887-1891 Beechwood became a convent for the Catholic Sisters of St. Joseph before it was bought by Cornelia Fox, a descendant of the Crevolin family. In 1921 Senator Elon L. Brown purchased the Stone House for his daughter, Mrs. John L. Johnston, wife of the president of Lambert Pharmaceutical Company.

The buildings in the Broadway Historic District continue to serve as residences. The Broadway Historic District continues to stand out as the grandest, most imposing group of residences in the village.

  1. JoAnn Beck, St. Lawrence-Eastern Ontario Commission, Broadway Historic District, Cape Vincent NY, nomination document, 1985, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Broadway Historic District Map

Street Names
Broadway • Pleasant Valley Road

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