Pulaski Village Historic District
The Pulaski Village Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.
The Pulaski Village Historic District consists of the intact historic residential and commercial core of the village. The district is rectangular in shape, three blocks long and two blocks wide. Most of the 14-acre area was used as a militia training ground when the village was settled in 1804. The center portion developed as the business district in the early nineteenth century leaving open areas at each end which later became parks. The district boundaries were drawn to include both parks, all the properties that possess integrity surrounding them, and the intact sections of the commercial area between them. The Salmon River forms part of the eastern boundary of the district and on the west, the boundary is the east side of Broad Street. The west side of Broad Street and areas beyond no longer retain architectural integrity and were thus excluded from the district.
The Pulaski Village Historic District contains thirty-nine contributing elements including two parks (one contains a non-contributing band stand), the Court House Plaza — (containing one statue), seven residences, two churches, a courthouse, and twenty-six commercial structures. There are seven non-contributing buildings.
The earliest surviving structures in the district are the civic and residential buildings surrounding South Park. These include the eclectic style Baptist church (original portion constructed in 1834, enlarged in 1894), the Federal period Macy House (c. 1830) at 7549 Broad Street, two brick Italianate style residences on Lake Street (constructed in 1868 and County Courthouse, built in 1859 to a design by Zina D. Stevens, Oswego County's most prolific nineteenth-century architect. The Greek Revival style structure totally encased an earlier courthouse building dating from 1819. The present courthouse is constructed of brick and is distinguished by a two-story pedimented portico supported by paired columns with Egyptian Revival inspired capitals. An Italianate style rear annex was added in 1887.
South Park itself is a square green divided by two diagonal walks. Within the park are a bandstand, World War I monument, a General Casimir Pulaski monument, and other markers which contribute to the historic character of the district.
Of the twenty-six commercial structures in the center section of the district, eighteen were built between 1882-1901. This was the result of a fire in 1881 that destroyed every building on both sides of Jefferson Street and the east side of Broad Street from Park Street on the north to Bridge Street on the south. Fifteen commercial blocks were rebuilt the next year, all brick with Italianate style details. Later buildings, such as the Brooks Block (1901), the Tollner Block (1901), and the Franklin Building (1911), were also designed with Italianate style details to be compatible with the existing buildings.
The entire two-block commercial area is characterized by two and three story brick buildings decorated with heavy bracketed cornices, wide friezes, corbelling, elaborate lintels and arched windows. A majority of the buildings in the district have cornices and lintels formed by corbelled brick, but some possess iron cornices, lintels and sills manufactured at the Ontario Iron Works in Pulaski. In places the regularity of the streetscape is interrupted by highly decorative round-arched friezes and cornices topped with finials. Many of the commercial buildings on Jefferson Street, such as #7580 and #7561, retain their original storefronts.
Of the distinctive commercial buildings in the district two, the Pulaski National Bank (1882), 7566 Jefferson, and the Masonic Temple (1892), 7580 Broad Street, were designed by Archimedes Russell. Russell was a prominent regional architect whose designs have been identified in at least thirteen counties of upstate New York. For the bank, constructed of red brick with marble trim, Russell combined Queen Anne and High Victorian details to produce a distinctive eclectic design. The Masonic Temple exhibits three triple windows on the first floor level, three Romanesque windows on the second floor, and a pair of circular windows surrounded by a curved drip molding on the third.
Significant twentieth-century designs in the district include the Kallet Movie Theater, 7552 Jefferson Street, designed by Milo Folley in 1938, and the Tollerton automobile showroom (1920) at 7586 Jefferson Street. Pulaski's only example of the Art Deco style, the two-story movie theater features an intact pastel Carrara glass tiled facade. The Tollerton showroom features variegated color brick, large intact display windows, and a patterned hexagonal tile floor.
The northern boundary of the Pulaski Village Historic District lies around Washington Park, another square green space. Significant structures bordering the park include the Romanesque Revival style United Methodist Church (1860), the Methodist parsonage (1900), the Pulaski Democrat Building (1867), and the Dr. Henry W. Caldwell House (1891).
The Pulaski Village Historic District is architecturally and historically significant as one of the most intact collections of nineteenth and early twentieth century residential and commercial buildings in northern New York. Settled in 1804, Pulaski enjoyed prosperity during the nineteenth century as the seat of government for eastern Oswego County and as a center for the farming and lumbering industries. The boundaries of the historic district almost exactly correspond to the original local militia drill field of 1810. Within this area are parks, residences, churches, civic buildings and commercial structures constructed between 1819-1940. The district is especially significant for its high concentration of Italianate style design. The works of three prominent local and regional architects, Stevens, Russell, and Folley, are represented. Because of the sensitivity exercised in the designs of buildings constructed after the major period of development, the Pulaski Village Historic District retains an outstanding cohesiveness and a high degree of design integrity.
The Pulaski Court House (1819, 1859, 1887) not only contained the county government, it also provided a place for religious services before churches were built and the classroom for children before schoolhouses were in existence. The present courthouse, which envelops the 1819 wood frame building, was designed by Zina D. Stevens in 1859. Stevens was a prominent nineteenth-century regional architect who designed many churches and commercial structures in the county.
When William Dewey finally surveyed the militia training field in 1837, he reserved the north and south portions for park areas and the center part for commercial development. The 1837 plan of the village survives today despite road development and fires.
The great fire of 1881 destroyed nearly all of the central portion of the district. Within a year, however, the merchants rebuilt their businesses in varied designs but predominantly in the Italianate style. Today, this is evident in the remarkably intact and cohesive collection of commercial buildings which survive on Jefferson Street. Among these buildings, one can find excellent examples of craftsmanship in the corbelled brick cornices, cast-iron lintels, and a few original storefronts.
Two of the structures in the district which were built after the fire were designed by the prominent regional architect, Archimedes Russell. Russell practiced in the central New York area from 1862 until 1915. Some of the outstanding examples of his work include Crouse College at Syracuse University (1887), the fourth Onondaga County Courthouse (1904), and the Otsego County Courthouse in Cooperstown, NY (1880), all of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1882, Russell was hired by James A. Clark to design the Pulaski National Bank. Now known as Lincoln First Bank, the structure is eclectic in design, incorporating Queen Anne and High Victorian Gothic motifs. In addition, in 1892, the architect designed the new Masonic Temple where he used restrained classical elements in the details.
The Kallet movie theater is compatible in scale with the historic district and was designed by Milo Polley of the Syracuse architectural firm of Sargent, Webster, Crenshaw, and Folley. The polychromatic facade of pastel-colored Carrara glass placed in a geometric pattern is characteristic of the Art Deco style. Although the auditorium has been divided in two, the original storefronts on the building remain intact.
Many of the houses in the district were owned by Pulaski's most prominent citizens. The Don A. King House (1855) at 7555 Broad Street still graces South Park, a tribute to a family with broad interests in cultural and educational affairs. One of the finest brick Italianate style houses in the village, located at 7412 Lake Street (1868), was the home of James A. Clark, the founder of the Pulaski National Bank. Dr. John Abbot, 7536 Jefferson Street (1885), practiced dentistry in Pulaski for nearly fifty years while Dr. Frank S. Low practiced medicine in his home at 7413 Lake Street (1878). Well known for his speciality in cancer surgery, Dr. Henry W. Caldwell built his Italianate home at 7593 Jefferson Street in 1891.
Today, Pulaski continues to serve as the commercial hub for the surrounding farm area. The salmon industry is reviving and the village is seeking to attract tourists to the community. There is a high degree of pride among the people of Pulaski and an awareness of the architectural heritage which survives in their historic district.
Churchill, John. Landmarks of Oswego Co. D. Mason & Co., Syracuse, NY 1895.
Everts. History of Oswego Co. Everts Co., Philadelphia, 1877.
Grip's Historical Souvenir of Pulaski. N.Y. c. 1903 series #14.
Blount, Margery. Walking/Riding Tour of Pulaski, 1976.
Snyder, Charles. OSWEGO From Buckskin to Bustles Ira Friedman, Inc. Port Wash. 1968.