Mariaville Historic District
The Mariaville 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.
The Mariaville Historic District consists of eight properties, seven of which are contributing, clustered along the northwest shore of Mariaville Lake near the Chuctanunda Creek in the northeast quadrant of the town of Duanesburg, New York. The five residences, one church, one commercial structure and four contributing outbuildings are located in the historic core of the hamlet of Mariaville, an early nineteenth century industrial and commercial center. Roads parallel the lakeshore and the creek; Route 159 follows the lakeshore west to the Chuctanunda Creek, follows the creek north then west. Batter Street continues west along the lakeshore. Boundaries of the ca. 9 acre district exclude the mid-twentieth century summer cottages which face the lake east and west of the district, the older but extensively altered buildings to the north on Route 159, and undeveloped land associated with historic buildings. The district boundary and building locations are marked on the attached county tax map. With the exception of the Silas Marsh property, the entire lots of the nominated properties have been included. An arbitrary line through the Silas Marsh property excludes the vacant, northern section from the district, as the open land does not contribute historically or visually to the village character.
The historic building stock of the Mariaville Historic District, dating from ca. 1830 to ca. 1850, consists of seven Greek Revival style structures. All are executed in wood and are clapboard sided. The one and one-half to two-story structures are three to five bays wide and have center or side halls and gable roofs. Fenestration is regular and windows generally contain six-over-six double-hung sash. All structures reflect the simplicity and rectilinearity typical of Duanesburg's vernacular aesthetic.
Although many of the structures have been sightly altered to meet the changing needs of the owners, most retain substantial integrity. Mariaville is currently a summer resort community; the water-powered industries along Chuctanunda Creek were gradually abandoned and lost in the early years of the twentieth century. The archeological potential of the district has not been fully evaluated and thus there are no archeological sites included in the present nomination. Together the substantially intact properties represent the once-prosperous lakeshore community as it existed in the nineteenth century.
An annotated list of the buildings included in the district is enclosed. There is one non-contributing structure in the district, located on the north side of Batter Street.
The Mariaville Historic District is an architecturally significant concentration of early nineteenth century residential, commercial and religious structures which represent the historic development of the hamlet of Mariaville, one of the earliest communities in the town of Duanesburg. It contains the highest concentration of late Federal/early Greek Revival period vernacular architecture in the town. While other districts in the multiple resource area include examples of the Greek Revival style, the Mariaville Historic District is unique in that it is comprised solely of Greek Revival style architecture with the exception of one modern intrusion.
The majority of Mariaville's historic resources were built between 1830-1850. The one structure that predates the Greek Revival period was expanded and completely remodeled in this style in the 1830s. The five residences, one church and one commercial structure embody a variety of distinctive characteristics associated with the Greek Revival style as manifested elsewhere in the town, including heavy frame construction, clapboard siding, gable roofs and broad structural elements and detailing such as wide friezes or entablatures, prominent corner pilasters and trabeated entrances with heavy components. In addition, the structures reflect the strict vernacular aesthetic which prevailed in nineteenth-century Duanesburg, exhibiting relative simplicity, austerity and rectilinearity. Developed in the late eighteenth century, Mariaville is one of the earliest settlements in the town. Mariaville is also significant for its historical associations with the industrial activities concentrated along the Chuctanunda Creek and man-made lake.
In 1793 James Duane harnessed the powers of the Chuctanunda Creek by damming the waters, creating Mariaville Lake, and erected a grist mill, around which a thriving settlement developed in the late eighteenth century. The entrepreneurial activities of Silas A. Marsh in the 1830s were a second impetus to the development of the community. In 1830 Marsh purchased property along the west side of the Chuctanunda Creek from Catherine Duane on which he erected a saw mill and a gristmill. In the same year he constructed his dwelling and a general store. Both are distinctive examples of vernacular Greek Revival style architecture. The Silas Marsh House is a notable example of the two-story, five-bay, center-hall house type, exhibiting distinctive attributes of the style such as a wide frieze, prominent cornice returns and wide corner pilasters.
The Silas Marsh Store, although expanded and altered since its construction in 1831, retains recognizable Greek Revival style features such as a broad frieze and wide corner pilasters.
Other historic dwellings in the district which embody the distinctive characteristics of the Greek Revival style include the Frost Homestead (c. 1830s), the Hiram Hansett House (c. 1830s), the First Presbyterian Church Parsonage (c. 1847) and the J. Corner House (c. 1830). The Frost Homestead, like the Silas Marsh House, is significant as an example of the two-story, five-bay center-hall variation of the style. The Hiram Hansett House, originally a "two-thirds house" with Federal style features, was expanded in the late 1830s into a full, five-bay center-hall structure. It is one of several one and one-half story structures scattered throughout the town which are distinguished by eyebrow windows in a wide frieze, a typical Greek Revival style attribute. The First Presbyterian Church parsonage is significant as a representative example of the three-bay, side-hall, gable-front variation, a form quite commonly found throughout Duanesburg. The J. Corner House, also a three-bay, side-hall dwelling, is one of Duanesburg's three extant, intact examples of a "two-thirds house."
The First Presbyterian Church, the district's only historic church, also embodies the distinctive characteristics of vernacular Greek Revival style architecture, including a pedimented front gable end, a wide frieze and broad corner pilasters.
Prominent local citizens historically associated with the development of this district include Silas Marsh, mill operator and grocer as well as clerk of Schenectady County and a member of the New York State Assembly, Hiram Hansett, who ran a post office and store from his residence, and James Frost, an early settler of Duanesburg who later became regionally prominent as a surveyor of nearby counties.
The substantially intact structures remain an important reminder of an industrial and commercial center in early nineteenth century Duanesburg.