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Whitehall Village

The Whitehall Village Office is located at 1 Saunders Street, Whitehall NY 12887; phone: 518-499-0871.

Beginnings [1]

The Village of Whitehall resulted from persistent efforts on the part of Major Philip Skene to colonize the area. Attracted by the natural harbor on Lake Champlain and the potential mill sites on Wood Creek, he made the first settlement there in 1761. Until 1790 there was little growth for the hamlet contained less than a dozen houses. The first American Navy Fleet was constructed there during the Revolution and during the War of 1812, Whitehall became a supply station.

Then came the era of steamboat navigation on the Lake, followed by the construction of the Old Champlain Canal connecting the Erie Canal and the Hudson to Lake Champlain. Now, Whitehall responded to the needs of the canal trade. A lively commercial area grew up adjacent to the canals. Few of these early structures survived the fire of 1864 which wiped out the local carpet, grist, and sawmills as well as the sash and door factory and the foundry. Whitehall was not overlooked by the railroads. How could it be, with such a strategic location in the Champlain Valley? The first railroad was the Saratoga and Whitehall line. It reached Whitehall in 1846.

But the fire which caused so much damage to Whitehall's commercial area did not stop its activities. Rebuilding was commenced immediately. It is to this fire that we owe the present day Main Street of pleasantly-varied yet harmonious architecture. A good local architect, Almon Chandler Hopson, whose career has been discussed in the nomination for Skene Manor, Whitehall, was called in to rebuild most of the structures between the years 1865-1900.

The homogeneity of the construction is due to his influence, and the result was the creation of a veritable treasury of late nineteenth century architecture. Since the degree of Whitehall's prosperity has remained at about the same level throughout the twentieth century, neither increasing to the point of grand new construction, nor diminishing to the point of decay, the district has remained economically viable and architecturally intact.

  1. Manley, Doris, N. Y. State Division for Historic Resources, Main Street Historic District – Whitehall, nomination document, 1975, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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