Hudson Falls Historic District

Hudson Falls Village, Washington County, NY

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The Hudson Falls Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Portions of the text, below, were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]

The Hudson Falls Historic District is located in the village of Hudson Falls, Washington County at the highest falls of the Hudson River. The village occupies Sandy Hill, a high bluff rising above the east bank of the Hudson. The historic and present north-south axis of the village is a former turnpike, now U. S. Route 4. From the center of Hudson Falls, County Route 254 extends west, linking the community to the neighboring city of Glens Falls.

The Hudson Falls Historic District encompasses the historical center of the village, including the nineteenth-century commercial and civic buildings surrounding the village park; buildings along Main Street (Route 4) from Mechanic Street on the south to Sarver Street and Martindale Avenue on the north; and the residential area east of Main Street bounded by Maple (north), Oak (east) and Mechanic (south) streets. Of the 161 buildings included within the district boundaries, twelve are modern or extensively altered structures which do not contribute to the significance of the historic district. The district boundaries were delineated to encompass those areas of the village which retain the greatest architectural integrity and historical significance from portions of Hudson Falls characterized by more recent construction and development, or by lesser integrity.

A wide variety of architectural styles and building uses are represented within the Hudson Falls Historic District, whose structures span the period 1812-1935. Included within the district are notable vernacular examples of Federal, Greek Revival, late nineteenth century eclectic, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival residential design generally located along streets lined with tall shade trees. The majority of structures in the district were built between 1875 and 1900 with earlier buildings interspersed. The substantial frame residences relate to one another in style, texture, scale and siting. Most are built upon locally quarried limestone foundations and retain their original slate roofs. The focus of the district is the tree-shaded village park and main street. Dominated by an ornate fountain and numerous monuments, the park is surrounded by important civic buildings including three churches and the Washington County Courthouse (1873). A fire in 1876 destroyed the buildings formerly located on the block east of the park: in their place a row of connected brick commercial structures was immediately constructed. Despite subsequent alteration, these commercial buildings retain considerable integrity and exhibit a wealth of Italianate and Romanesque Revival detail.

The Hudson Falls Historic District is a significant grouping of commercial, civic, ecclesiastical and residential structures which collectively reflect the historical development of Washington County's largest village from the early nineteenth to the early twentieth century. Originally incorporated as the village of Sandy Hill in 1810, Hudson Falls grew and prospered as a lumber and paper milling center, a commercial hub for the surrounding farm region, and a civic center as the half-shire county seat of Washington County. The significant structures encompassed within the historic district represent a broad range of building styles popular between 1800 and 1935 and reflect the relative prosperity which characterized this important community of the upper Hudson Valley throughout much of its history.

Among the more than 160 buildings located within the boundaries of the Hudson Falls Historic District are significant structures representing the historical and architectural development of the village during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The numerous styles of commercial and residential design which achieved popularity in the upper Hudson Valley during the period 1800-1935 are represented in well-preserved vernacular adaptations located throughout the district. Among the most significant and rare surviving structures are those from the Federal period, including the stone house at 1 Pearl Street, the ornate frame residence at 18 Pearl Street, and the diminutive law office at 177 Main Street, with its delicate details. The late nineteenth century commercial blocks of Main Street built after the fire of 1876 exhibit ornate Italianate and Romanesque Revival design elements and details, a reflection of local prosperity during this period. The central village park, surrounded by churches, commercial structures and prominent residences such as "Springside," retains its integrity and conveys the significance of Hudson Falls as the focus of local activity. The ornate, Italianate style Washington County Courthouse facing the park is a significant civic structure designed by noted regional architect Marcus F. Cummings of Troy in 1873. Notable examples of Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne and Colonial Revival style residential design are also concentrated within the district, reflecting the tastes of Hudson Falls residents during the community's economic heyday.

Hudson Falls remains a prominent civic, industrial and commercial center of Washington County, and its historic structures survive with considerable integrity to reflect the historical development of the village.

  1. Smith, Raymond W., NY State Division for Historic Preservation, Hudson Falls Historic District, Washington County NY, nomination document, 1983, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington DC

Street Names
Cherry Street • Hudson Place • Main Street • Maple Street • Mechanic Street • Mulberry Street • Oak Street • Park Place • Pearl Street • River Street • Route 196 • Route 4

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