West Stockholm Historic District
The West Stockholm Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2010, The Gombach Group.
The West Stockholm Historic District is bounded on all sides by property lines of structures included in the district. The boundaries are delineated to include intact civic, commercial, and residential structures comprising the nineteenth century heart of the hamlet.
West Stockholm, formerly Bicknellville, is located on the West Branch of the Saint Regis River approximately six miles east of Potsdam. The hamlet owed its early development to the accessibility of water power for industry, and it became a major milling center. By 1875 it had a carding mill, woolen factory, foundry and machine shop, butter tub factory, shingle mill, and starch factory. These were located on the banks of the river where the present West Stockholm-Southville Road crosses the river. A dam is extant at this location, but all mill structures are no longer standing. The West Stockholm Historic District does include the sites of several mills which might be of archaeological significance. Only the approximate locations of these mills are known and testing for confirmation of extant remains has not been undertaken.
Buildings date generally from the first half of the nineteenth century and include fine examples of Federal, Greek Revival, Second Empire, and Italianate styles. The West Stockholm Historic District comprises twenty-eight buildings including one shop, one school, two stores, a former blacksmith shop, and twenty-three houses.
Established as Bicknellville in 1811, West Stockholm is historically significant as a typical north country crossroads community of the nineteenth century which has survived largely intact. Situated at a falls on the St. Regis River, the hamlet was a center of local water-powered industry. The West Stockholm Historic District encompasses the archaeological sites of mills and small factories as well as the cluster of extant residences, shops, and public buildings which comprise the village center. Built between 1815 and 1900, the structures reflect the social and commercial life of this community, as well as the development of vernacular North Country architecture during the nineteenth century.
The present hamlet of West Stockholm was first settled by Amos Bicknell of Vermont who built his house and a combination grist and saw mill on the west branch of the St. Regis River in 1811. The two oldest extant houses in West Stockholm were built of locally-quarried sandstone by the Bicknell family before 1815. The potential water power of the falls attracted numerous other manufacturing enterprises and local industries to the community. By 1878, West Stockholm boasted a woolen mill (1830), a foundry and machine shop (1846), two wooden tub factories, a starch factory, cheese factory, three carriage shops, two blacksmith shops, and three general stores. The present West Stockholm Historic District encompasses the archaeological sites of these industrial buildings which are no longer standing, as well as the extant Sutherland blacksmith shop and the Bicknell and Vance General Store. Together, these industries supported the community of West Stockholm and stimulated construction of the comfortable dwellings built for workers and local entrepreneurs. Collectively, these structures are an excellent representation of rural vernacular architecture in the North Country as it evolved from the imposing sandstone houses of the community's early proprietors through the more modest frame or brick dwellings of its mid-nineteenth century tradesmen. Vernacular adaptations of Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, and Second Empire style buildings are represented in the architectural heritage of West Stockholm's houses, church, school, and commercial buildings, and all surviving in a remarkably unaltered state.
Everts, L.M. and Co., History of St. Lawrence Co., New York. Philadelphia, 1878.
Hough, Franklin B. History of St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, New York. Albany, 1853.
† David L. Rowe, Landmarks Association of Central New York, Inc., and Alice Jean Stuart, New York State Division for Histoirc Preservation, West Stockholm Historic District, nomination document, 1978, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.