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Main Street Historic District


The Whitehall Main Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Portions of the text, below, were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.

The Main Street Historic District of the Village of Whitehall consists of forty structures, most of them housing commercial enterprises. The three block long row of commercial buildings faces the Chaplain Canal. A few warehouses are located on the opposite side of the canal. Wooded hills behind the row form a lovely setting for the district.

The district boundary follows the rear property lines of structures on the east side of Williams Street and includes four structures on the west side. It follows the rear property lines of structures on the west side of Main Street between Clinton and Saunders Streets. Continuing southwards, it follows the rear property line of structures on South Main Street between Saunders and the intersection of the Boulevard with South Main Street. The northern boundary of the district crosses the Champlain Canal just below the Main Street bridge while the southern boundary runs parallel to, but south of, the Saunders Street bridge.

Most of the structures on Main Street were the work of Almon Chandler Hopson, a well-known local architect. Hopson came to Whitehall from Vermont about 1862 and soon established a reputation as a good carpenter. In 1874 he designed and built a mansion for Judge Joseph Potter. Later, commissions for many churches and mansions naturally came his way.

Brick and stone were Hopson's favorite materials and most of the commercial structures on Main Street were made of brick from two local brickyards.

Ranged side by side along Main Street, the two or three story buildings exhibit a variety of late nineteenth century motifs; mansard roofs, flat roof, arched tracery windows, decorative metal lintels, corbelled brick cornices and Italianate brackets.

The interiors of some buildings have been modified to apartments or offices. Others have retained the big open spaces on the top floors once used for dancing and club meetings. Almost every one of the first floor shop fronts has been modified by modern display windows and signs. As a whole, however, the architectural flavor of the district is still that of a nineteenth century canal town.

The Main Street Historic District of Whitehall is located along a street which has been a traffic route since the inception of the village's business life. It has overlooked the harbor of the lake boat period, faced the canal traffic from 1817 onwards and catered to the demands of the railway age. Indeed, throughout a hundred years of growth and changing functions, these commercial structures have remained the focus of business activity in northern Washington County.

We owe the existence of this collection of mid to late nineteenth century buildings to two factors: first, to a disastrous fire which wiped out many early structures and second, to the availability of a fine local architect to guide the rebuilding.

Bibliography

History and Biography of Washington County and the Town of Queensbury New York; with Historical notes on the various towns. Gresham Publishing Company, Richmond Ind. 1894.

Stone, William L., Historian and Editor-in-Chief and Hon. A. Dallas Wait, Associate Editor. Washington County New York: Its History to the Close of the Nineteenth Century. New York History 6., New York, 1901.

--Deeds in the Washington County Office Building, Fort Edward, NY, --Reports of interviews with owners supplied by Doris Morton, Town Historian and Carol B. Greenough, Photographer, both of Whitehall.

  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.
Other neighborhoods named
Main Street Historic District

Main Street Historic District Map

Street Names
Main Street • Saunders Street • Williams Street North

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