Eatons Corners Historic District
The Eatons Corners Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. 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 Eatons Corners Historic District includes three properties which formed the core of the historic hamlet of Eatons Corners. The properties are grouped on Eatons Corners Road just south of its intersection with Bramans Corners Road in the northwest corner of Duanesburg. Bowman Creek crosses the Eatons Corners Historic District in its passage to Schoharie Creek, a mile further west. The three houses in the Eatons Corners Historic District are two-story frame buildings sheathed in clapboard and lit by 6/6 double-hung sash windows, regularly spaced. Each is a distinctive and significant example of early nineteenth century architecture. Each of the properties includes contributing period outbuildings for a total of eleven contributing elements in the historic district.
The boundary of the approximately 5-acre Eatons Corners Historic District is drawn to exclude two extensively altered houses just south and northeast of the district. The entire lots of the Barlow Tavern and the Brumley Homestead are included in the Eatons Corners Historic District. Most of the 50-acre lot on which the Eaton Homestead is sited has been excluded as it is woodland that does not contribute visually to the historic character of the hamlet. Only the land immediately surrounding the main house and two outbuildings (approximately 2 acres) is included in the Eatons Corners Historic District.
The Eatons Corners Historic District is a grouping of three architecturally distinguished properties which are the only intact, surviving remains of the early nineteenth century crossroads hamlet of Eatons Corners. Eatons Corners is the only small, family-controlled hamlet in the town of Duanesburg to retain its integrity of design, setting, feeling and association. Other such hamlets, including Bramans Corners and Green Corners, also vital nineteenth-century communities, no longer retain their historical integrity. The three properties, ranging in date from c.1800 to the 1840s, are architecturally significant examples of early nineteenth century architecture embodying the distinctive characteristics of the Federal and Greek Revival styles.
James Eaton received a lease for farm lot 263 from James Duane in 1785. Eaton was a gentleman farmer of considerable wealth and pretension as can be seen from the elegance and sophistication of the c.1800 Eaton Homestead, a distinctive example of Federal style architecture. Compared to the majority of Duanesburg's historic resources dating from the Federal period, the Eaton Homestead is a relatively fashionable and imposing interpretation of the style. The two-story, three-bay, rectangular form, the gable roof with brick interior end chimneys and the regular fenestration are all features displayed in vernacular examples of the period, but the elegant, curvilinear exterior detailing distinguishes the structure as a more fashionable residence. The facade pilasters, joined by a blind arcade, the elliptical blind oculi in the gable ends, and the delicate entrance detailing, including narrow pilasters, half-sidelights and a transom light, are particularly notable attributes.
Eaton's business interests soon occupied him elsewhere and in 1809 he sold the property to Benjamin Cummings, wheelwright and inventor from Schenectady. While living in Duanesburg, Cummings is believed to have invented the circular saw, but failed to have it patented. In 1814 the dam and mills Cummings had erected were damaged in the spring freshets and Cummings sold the house to Lewis Eaton. It is probably during this Eaton's tenure that the area became known as Eatons Corners for he was a prominent citizen serving as town supervisor in 1819. He must have been a prominent farmer as well, for he won agricultural prizes at the Schenectady Cattle Show of 1819 for "best kept farm" and "best breed of pigs."
The Barlow Tavern at the corner was established at about this time and must have contributed to the prominence of the hamlet. The tavern is a more typical example of Duanesburg's Federal period architecture. The two-story, five-bay structure embodies the distinctive characteristics of vernacular Federal style residential architecture with its relative simplicity, austerity and rectilinearity. Detailing is minimal but well-crafted, as seen in the narrow pilasters and half-sidelights flanking the recessed doorway of the central entrance.
Beginning about 1830, the land was gradually purchased from the Eaton family, first by Ebenezer Cody, who occupied the Eaton Homestead in the 1840s, then by the Overbaugh family. Nevertheless, it is consistently referred to as Eatons Corners in records from the 1840s to the 1860s. At some time during this period, the Brumley Homestead was built, probably some ten years prior to Brumley's acquisition of the whole lot in 1855. The homestead is a representative example of Greek Revival style architecture. Distinctive characteristics of the period and style displayed by the house include the two-story, three-bay, gable-front form, a common variation found throughout the town, and the heavy structural components and detailing, including the exaggerated cornice returns, the full entablature, the broad corner pilasters and the trabeated entrance with wide pilasters. The eyebrow windows which pierce the wide frieze of the one and one-half story wide wing is also a distinctive Greek Revival style attribute.
During the mid-nineteenth century, the Pattersons were expanding their family holdings north of Bramans Corners Road, operating a mail route and a store. Thus, French's Gazetteer of 1860 and the 1866 Beer's Atlas designate the hamlet as Eatons Corners, but Munsell's History of the County of Schenectady calls it Pattersons Corners. Only one of the Patterson properties survives and it has been heavily altered; thus it is excluded from the Eatons Corners Historic District. Eatons Corners is the name now used to describe the crossroads and its notable group of intact, architecturally significant buildings. The Eatons Corners Historic District remains an important reminder of a small, early nineteenth century hamlet in the town of Duanesburg.