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Fredella Avenue Historic District


The Fredella Avenue 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. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2010, The Gombach Group.

Description

The eight houses within the Fredella Avenue Historic District, consisting of 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 21R Fredella Avenue, are multi-story concrete structures closely spaced along the short, steeply inclined street. The small residential enclave lies in an area surrounded by heavy industry. Built as speculative housing for Italian immigrant families between 1914 and 1918, the site was selected for its proximity to nearby stone quarries offering employment. The small Fredella Avenue Historic District contains no non-contributing buildings.

The Fredella Avenue Historic District boundaries are drawn to include all buildings on Fredella Avenue built by Joseph Fredella which retain integrity and substantially reflect their type, period and method of construction.

The houses of the Fredella Avenue Historic District are generally square structures built of molded concrete block and decorated with cast concrete trim. Four houses (17, 18, 20, 21 Fredella Avenue) are covered with slate hipped roofs, three (15, 19, 21R Fredella Avenue) have slate gable roofs, and 16 Fredella Avenue has a flat roof. The latter structure is the only three-story house in the Fredella Avenue Historic District: the remainder are two-story buildings. The Fredella Avenue houses are all characterized by two-story porches, most incorporating the concrete fluted columns, classical capitals, rock-faced piers and balustrades cast by the Fredella Company. Despite the addition of aluminum siding to 20 Fredella Avenue, the house is virtually identical to others within the district and retains its concrete walls beneath. Each of the buildings is embellished with cast concrete decorative features similar or identical to those incorporated in the Fredella house design: walls imitating regular ashlar are accented by rock-faced quoins, molded friezes, and flat-arched castings above doors and windows. The buildings of the Fredella Avenue Historic District retain considerable integrity of design and materials, representing a working class street of the early twentieth century in Glens Falls.

Significance

The Fredella Avenue Historic District is significant in Glens Falls as a cluster of speculative housing which exhibits the innovative use of molded concrete architectural elements. Constructed by local builder Joseph J. Fredella between 1914 and 1918, the eight modest residences of the Fredella Avenue Historic District incorporate significant Neoclassical style decorative and structural elements seldom encountered in later concrete block construction. Built of concrete block resembling ashlar with highly detailed porches cast in iron molds, the houses built by Fredella advertised the architectural adaptability of a novel construction material and the stylishness obtainable in relatively inexpensive construction. Because Fredella's ornate concrete building technology never achieved widespread popularity in Glens Falls after the contractor's death in 1930, the buildings of the Fredella Avenue Historic District are significant as rare examples of sophisticated, vernacular residential design and construction in Glens Falls during the early twentieth century.

Joseph J. Fredella was an Italian mason who immigrated to the United States in 1901. By 1912 Fredella had established a successful construction firm in Glens Falls, where he built several commercial and civic structures. Fredella made his reputation as a highway contractor, constructing and paving stone of the first state highways into the Adirondack region during the period between 1920 and 1930.

Among his successful Glens Falls construction projects, Joseph Fredella built modest concrete houses for Italian immigrant quarry workers along Lime Street (the present Fredella Avenue) between 1914 and 1918. These working class dwellings were embellished with a variety of details and finishes achieved by means of concrete cast in iron molds. Quoins, modillions, fluted porch columns with classical capitals, and structural blocks cast to resemble smooth or rock-faced stone characterize the houses of the Fredella Avenue Historic District and are a significant representation of Fredella's concrete manufacturing and construction capabilities. Despite the limited impact of Joseph Fredella's concrete building technology in Glens Falls, the early twentieth century houses along Fredella Avenue nevertheless demonstrated the potential of a novel construction material and are a significant concentration of such structures in the city of Glens Falls.

References

Corbett, Theodore. The Community by the Falls, Glens Falls, L.Y. ARP. Glens Falls Historical Association, 1978.

Fredella, Guy. Interview with Richard Youngken, Glens Falls, N.Y. August 14, 1980.

Glens Falls, South Glens Falls and Hudson Falls Directory...compiled and published by H.A. Manning, 1918 date.

Glens Falls Post Star, Glens Falls, N.Y. April 19, 1930 (J.J. Fredella, obituary, p.5.)

  1. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Fredella Avenue Historic District (Fredella Concrete Block Structures), nomination documentation, 1984, National Park Service, National register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

See Map

Street Names: Fredella Avenue

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