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Kingston Stockade District

Kingston City, Ulster County, NY

The Kingston Stockade District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. []


The Kingston Stockade Historic District is the area of the original Kingston settlement located generally within the Stockade bounded by the present Clinton Avenue on the east, North Front Street on the north, Green Street on the west and Main Street on the south. Rear property lines of the far side of each perimeter street form the district's boundaries. The district is extended along the east side of Converse Street to include the Lowe-Bogardus ruin and site.

An eight block district, the Kingston Stockade has developed as the center of the city of Kingston and is now the Kingston business district, as well as an important focus for county government. The district consists primarily of residential and commercial sections with the western half heavily residential in character, while business and commerce are focused in the eastern section. The uptown business district is mainly on Wall and North Front Streets, while Fair and John Streets are partly commercial (professional offices). Crown and Main Streets are partly commercial in function, but quite residential in flavor. Green Street is predominantly residential with single family and multiple dwellings.

Located within the district are eight late 17th century stone houses, plus approximately another dozen such structures dating from the 18th and early 19th centuries. They were symmetrically planned one-and-a-half or two-story residences. Many are still used for this purpose, but some have been converted for commercial purposes. At the four corners of John and Crown Streets a unique grouping of four such stone houses survive.

In addition to the distinctive stone houses are late 18th and 19th century homes of frame and brick. These structures reveal changing influences of styles from the Federal to Greek Revival, Italianate and French Mansard. Most of the residences are two or three story structures, built of stone, clapboard, or brick, with some stucco present. Many of the structures have gable roofs often with an additional projecting center gable or with gabled dormers. Elaborate doorways, many with transoms and sidelights and shuttered windows, are characteristic of the fenestration found on the front facades of the residential structures.

The many commercial buildings on Wall Street were constructed in the highly decorative style of the mid-19th century. They are predominantly three or four story brick structures with flat roofs and decorative cornices.

Within the Kingston Stockade Historic District is the smaller Clinton Avenue Historic District listed on the National Register in March, 1970. That district includes all of Clinton Avenue between Westbrook Lane and North Front Street, North Front Street between Clinton Avenue and Fair Street and the east side of Fair Street between North Front and John Streets.

A few structures within the district of particular interest are described here:

  1. The John Tremper House (3 North Front Street) is a two story stucco structure whose hip roof was replaced with a later mansard. Also, on Front Street is the 1802 mansion, situated across from the Senate House at the head of Clinton Avenue, a distinguished example of the Federal style.
  2. St. Joseph's Church, located at 242 Wall Street, is an 1833 Greek Revival structure. The two story brick edifice was originally a Dutch Reformed Church but was converted to a Catholic church in 1868. It also served as an armory during the Civil War.
  3. The Old Dutch Church on Main Street was erected in 1852 from plans by the noted architect Minard LaFever. The stone building is fairly late for Greek Revival style, but shows the influence of classical revival in its battered piers and massive entablature. The parsonage across the street is a good example of a Greek Revival frame house.
  4. There are two adjoining frame houses, located at 21 and 25 Main Street, which are a pair similar in general late nineteenth century style. The house at No. 21 is marred by a fire escape and has neo-classical detail of the turn-of-the-century, but is a good companion to the remarkable building at No. 25, which is a good example of its kind. Dated on its facade 1883, this is a good example of a sophisticated style identified in England with the designer Sir Charles Eastlake, and in this country by much work of H. H. Richardson at the Watts Sherman House in Newport, R. I. The general type of "picturesque" house, much favored by the late nineteenth century, is often termed "Queen Anne." The house at 25 Main Street is another good example of this style. The wall surfaces are varied in texture with small decorative insets.
  5. Of several late nineteenth century commercial buildings of interest, the Clermont building, located at 295-299 Wall Street, with slate mansard roof, is outstanding. Located at the corner of John and Wall Streets, the large structure has the original metal roof cresting, which has been lost on many buildings of this era. The third floor has 20-24 foot ceilings with two painted murals of unknown artistry or date depicting David and Goliath.
  6. Ulster County's stone courthouse, a two story structure dating from 1818, incorporates foundations of an earlier structure in the current edifice. The bell in the cupola was added in 1837 to the Federal style building which has played a prominent role in Ulster County government.
  7. The simple board-and-batten house located at 124 Green Street is a simple cottage of a form and material associated with the Gothic Revival. It is the only one of its kind in the Stockade area, and its front is little altered, except for steps, rail and dormer. The house was built by Charles Paige Carter, an inventor and watchmaker locally dubbed "The Edison of Wall Street."
  8. The Tappen House, located at 106-122 Green Street, has been reputed to be the oldest in Kingston. It has the projecting clapboard gable noted elsewhere, here however, extending from eave to eave, with attic windows. The cornice is very simple, but even here there is a slight projection of the roof slope at the eave, giving a profile common to most of the pre-Civil War Kingston gable-roofed buildings. The upper story of the Tappen House retains unusual eight-over-twelve windows; on the lower floor, the upper twelve paned sash remain, but similar sash below have been replaced by single panes. The "salt box" side elevation is distinctive.
  9. The Frantz Roggon House, located at 42 Crown Street, is another fine example of nineteenth century adaptation to an earlier stone house. An exceptionally large stone gable accommodates double pointed windows above a curved canopy and diamond-paned entrance door. The latter is inserted into what may be an earlier entrance-way, with side lights. The six-over-six sash have also been retained from the earlier period, as has the simple cornice, which was matched on the rake of the gable.
  10. The Kingston Trust Company, located at 27 Main Street, is an important example of the Greek Revival style. This brick commercial building, although not large in actual dimensions, has a monumental scale, with massive features. The wood entablature and cornice are very heavy, with unusual windows, surrounded by classical wreathes, set in to the frieze.
  11. The Firemen's Hall, located at 267 Fair Street, is a bracketed, brick building erected in 1857 showing Italianate influence. The tower here is neo-Renaissance in style. This is a building of considerable charm for its use as well as its style.
  12. A most important building of the mid-century, Italian-influenced style is the public school, located at 164-171 Green Street. Although modern sash detracts from its quality, this is a handsome structure, soundly constructed of brick with arched lintels. The neo-Renaissance detail is distinctive, and with restoration of windows, this public building could contribute significantly to the Stockade area.


Kingston's Stockade Historic District is a significant historical, architectural and archeological area in the development of New York State. The area is important as one of three early New York State colonial settlements (Fort Orange, Albany, and New Amsterdam, New York being the others), as a planned fortification, as a leading center of early government serving as the State's first capital and as a representative cross section of three hundred years of architectural development.

The Stockade section of the city of Kingston was laid out as a Dutch village in the mid-seventeenth century. The site of the village was carefully chosen in relation to topography on a high delta-like plain which provided good drainage, as well as effective strategic protection from attack.

Settlement of the village began in 1652 when Thomas Chambers left Rensselaerwyck at Albany and settled in what is now uptown Kingston. The settlement became the first between New Amsterdam and Fort Orange (Albany). During the next six years, Dutch settlements along the river were terrorized and devastated by Indian raids. Finally in 1658, Peter Stuyvesant directed that all settlers move their dwellings to the site of a military stockade that he personally surveyed. The log stockade was completed on June 21, 1658, and the streets of the stockade are still intact within 20th century uptown Kingston, encompassing a section of eight blocks, though the stockade was burned in an Indian attack in 1663 and rebuilt.

To this day, the boundary lines of this stockade are formed by Green Street, Main Street, Clinton Avenue and North Front Street and are still intact. Also, amazingly enough, almost the entire bluff promontory forming the perimeter of this area, elevated above the lowland, is still comparatively intact. Therefore, of the three first settlements in New York State, Albany (Fort Orange), New York (New Amsterdam), and Kingston, it is only in Kingston that the authentic elements of an original fortification remain. Documents indicate that this log palisade was in existence until the early 18th century, having been kept in repair as protection against later Indian raids by the townspeople. The northwestern angle of the Palisade formed a bastion. While this area at present is surrounded by commercial development, aerial photography has recently indicated the existence of outlines strongly suggesting that the angle itself may as yet be relatively undisturbed. This area forms a sharp bluff and this may account for its preservation.

Stuyvesant wisely selected the site of what subsequently became the thickly settled part of the old village of Kingston, comprising the tract of land having North Front Street on the north, Main Street on the south, Green Street on the west, and East Front Street (now Clinton Avenue) on the east, thus being protected by very steep banks on three sides and exposed on a level only at the south.

The location of the stockade was such that on the north, east, and west sides, it ran along the brow of a steep declivity (still in existence) with small streams of water, through wet marshy ground at the foot, and on the west was a valley with a brook running through the center.

In 1777 while the Revolution raged about it, this old Dutch settlement became the first capital of the State of New York. When it became necessary to frame a Constitution for the State of New York, the Constitutional Convention was convened at Kingston. In the face of the threat of pursuing English troops, here was framed and adopted the first Constitution of the State.

George Clinton was elected Governor General and was inaugurated at Kingston on July 30, 1777. John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court under the Constitution (who also became the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States) opened at Kingston the First Term of the Supreme Court.

The Senate House, the Old Dutch Church, and the present Court House (built in 1818 on the site of the original structure) are witness to the formation of the New York State Government. While the first Congress was meeting in Kingston on the 16th of October, 1777, the British under General Vaughan landed at Ponckhockie with seven sloops of war, 20 galleys and 1600 troops and reduced Kingston to ashes. 326 houses together with barns were destroyed. The city was slowly and painfully rebuilt, retaining its original form.

General Washington, on his visit to Kingston in 1782, made a circuit of the lines of the ancient stockade and warmly commanded the military sagacity of Governor General Stuyvesant who had planned it. New York State proposed Kingston to be the Capital of the new United States in 1783 when Congress was looking for a permanent place for the national Capital.

Now in the 20th century, 300 years after the building of the Stockade area, it is still very much in evidence. Streets are still intact. Many of the pre-revolutionary houses and post-revolutionary houses built of stone still exist, as well as numerous other buildings of various periods which have produced a cross strata of three centuries of architecture. The Kingston Stockade Historic District contains a number of buildings which individually exemplify the city's architectural development from the seventeenth through twentieth centuries. Together, however, with the street patterns and landscaping they form an environment that is a critical and irreplaceable part of the historical heritage of Kingston and of New York State.


Malo, Paul. "The Architecture of the Stockade District, New York." Unpublished paper — University of Syracuse — February 22, 1969.

Helen Wickinson Reynolds. Dutch Houses in the Hudson Valley.

Eberlein & Hubbard. Historic Houses of the Hudson Valley.

McDougall, Ellen T. and Levy, Stephen, New York State Division for Historic Preservation, Kingston Stockade District, nomination document, 1975, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Clinton Avenue • Front Street North • Green Street • Main Street