Remembering the History of Glens Falls, Queensbury and the Southern Adirondacks


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Exhibits at the Chapman Historical Museum

Building Stories

Insurance Building and Monument 19780020107.jpg

April 25 to October 27, 2019

This exhibit introduces the stories of architects and commercial builders, businesses that occupied downtown buildings, and the people who inhabited the houses along city streets and town roads.  This exhibit builds on research and material used in the Chapman Museum’s annual Cemetery and Walking Tours, which have featured many historic characters. Through historic photographs and audio recordings visitors will discover the human stories behind many key buildings in the area, including landmarks that have not survived.

Essential to understanding a city's built environment is the realization that communities are not static.  Businesses and church congregations grow and require more space.  Sometimes they move, but other times they demolish and build anew.  In Glens Falls, the replacement of older buildings has been accelerated by major fires.  Perhaps most notable was the fire of 1864, which burned the entire center of the village.  Within days merchants erected simple sheds that were replaced by new multi-story brick buildings, many of which still stand, providing the city with its distinctive character.

Included in the exhibit are photos of historic buildings that are no longer – the Wing house on Warren Street, the First Presbyterian Church on Warren St., the Opera House, Rockwell House on Fountain Square, and the Glens Falls Insurance Company.  Other buildings stand but have changed – Ordway Hall, the BB Fowler building, Hotel Ruliff, Church of the Messiah, and Hall’s Ice Cream on Maple Street.  In the exhibit one will meet a wide variety of people: hotelier George Brown of the Halfway House, teacher Susan Lockhart, builder Hiram Krum and Addison and Mary Colvin, to name but a few.

The exhibit is funded by grants from the Leo Cox Beach Philanthropic Foundation, the Waldo T. & Ruth S. Ross Charitable Trust, the City of Glens Falls and the Town of Queensbury., and is sponsored by JMZ Architects & Planners, P.C.