A Preservation Brewery Adventure

I’ve been trying to think of ways to highlight rehabilitation properties in Northern New York. What I mean by rehabilitation, are properties that are old, have lost their original purpose, and now are being used for a new reason but at the same time retain their historic character.

Rehabilitation projects are really cool to learn about and I’m hoping to have more posts related to this subject. So for the first post of this series, I want to show you the Old Stone Barracks located in Plattsburgh, NY.


I was there last weekend, for the annual Benefit Gala for Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH). This year, AARCH offered a ticket priced for “young preservationists,” which is a big reason why I went this year. Plus, it was located in a really cool building. The Old Stone Barracks, has recently been renovated into a multitude of things including a brewery, a restaurant, a space for large gatherings, and according to their website they have some rooms to stay in.

This is a small view of the Old Stone Barracks, the entire length of the Barracks is 200 feet. 

The Gala was upstairs at the Barracks where the space can be rented for gatherings or events. The finger food options were really good (it ranged between meat and vegetarian options). I mainly remember there were a number of stuffed mushroom options, one was like a crab stuffed mushroom and another was a spinach/artichoke/feta stuffed mushroom, both were very good!

There was also unlimited drinks, I was able to try a few of the beer offerings of the brewery. I’m not a huge beer fan but they were fun to try! The young preservationists who were into beer thought all the options were good. That’s gotta mean something, right?

This was the pub area upstairs that is used during events or gatherings. I didn’t take a lot of photos because the lighting wasn’t exactly the greatest and I didn’t want to make guests for the Gala uncomfortable.

Plus, the weather behaved long enough to sit out on the upstairs porch with the other “young preservationists” and hang out!

This is a view of the upstairs porch that was open to eat and sit out on. It was really nice!

For those of you who don’t know, AARCH, is a non-profit preservation group located in Keeseville, NY in… you guessed it…. the Adirondacks! They do a lot of educational preservation programming throughout the Adirondacks and beyond. I worked with them and the Potsdam Public Museum to do an architectural walking tour of Potsdam, NY called, “Potsdam Sandstone: Fifty Shades of Red” this past May. It was quite fun and between the morning and afternoon tours I did there was at least 30 people who came for the walk!

So the history of the Old Stone Barracks goes something like this:

During the War of 1812, the US government bought a bunch of land on the shore of Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh. They constructed some log fortifications and barracks. It wasn’t until 1838 that the stone barracks that still stand today were built. The US Army at the time, decided to construct two rectangular, limestone barracks. One for the enlisted soldiers and the other for officers, and there was a parade area between these two structures.

The property continued to be used by different branches of the military, including the Navy and the Air Force. For a very short time after World War 2 and, the buildings were used by Champlain College before being taken over by the Air Force. IN the 1960’s the stone barracks that had been used by the officers was demolished. The Air Force used the base until 1995, at that time, the property was sold off.

The Old Stone Barracks was sold in 2010 to a Montreal developer who initially planned to develop the entire property into apartment buildings. The public reacted negatively to this plan and were able to work with the developer to make plans to renovated and restore the Barracks. Nothing ever came about from those plans. Then in 2014, the Friends of the Old Stone Barracks formed and made a deal with the Montreal developer to purchase the property (the Barracks and the seven acres it came with).

Months later, two former military officers, Terry Schmatlz and Mary Theresa Pearl worked with the Friends to take over the contract and purchased the property with the intention of reusing the Barracks for a new restaurant and Brewery, Valcour Brewing Company. The plan worked and they’ve been open for business since earlier this year.

End view of the Barracks with that nice Valcour Brewing Co. sign! By the way, this view is facing Lake Champlain.

The Old Stone Barracks is located at 49 Ohio Avenue in Plattsburgh. They are open Tuesday through Sunday 11:30 am to about 9 pm or 10 pm, depending on the weekday. They are closed Mondays.

Also, on the old Air Force Base are a few of Plattsburgh’s museums: Clinton County Historical Association and Museum, Champlain Valley Transportation Museum, Kid’s Station Museum (it’s related to the Transportation Museum), the War of 1812 Museum. There is also another brewery on the old base, and that’s Oval Craft Brewing (located at 111 Ohio Avenue). And, the Old Stone Barracks is located right on the lake, I think there was some kind of walking path to adventure on, to get a better view of the lake.

If you’re planning on visiting Plattsburgh in the future I highly suggest visiting the Brewery and the old Air Force Bade because there’s a lot to do and see.

Thanks for reading!

For More Information:

Valcour Brewing Company: http://www.valcourbrewingcompany.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/valcourbrewingcompany/

Friends of the Old Stone Barracks: http://www.oldstonebarracks.org/

News Articles on the New Use of the Property:




Adirondack Architectural Heritage: http://www.aarch.org/

Wikipedia Page: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Wikipedia is not the best source but the page for the Old Stone Barracks has some interesting sterograph photo to look at. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Stone_Barracks

National Park Service: The following link goes to the standards for rehabilitation of historic properties. https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/rehabilitation.htm



What is this jargon!?! Lancet Window Edition

Last post I mentioned the lancet windows located on the Potsdam Civic Center Complex and my jargon senses were tingling.

So you’re probably asking yourself now: “Why are we learning about lancet windows?” and “Why exactly, should I care?” and  “WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN???”

So before that jargon crisis begins, let’s dive into the history of lancet windows and look at some really awesome buildings that display this type of window. I also know your friends are probably interested and excited to learn what a “lancet window” is, so you should probably share this enlightening information with them too.

These windows are pretty easy architectural feature to identify. They basically are tall, slender windows that have a pointed arch, which is also called, wait for it…. a lancet window.

Lancet windows became a thing during the French Gothic Period of 1140-1200 and then was seen across the channel in England during their Gothic Period from 1200-1275.

So the window got its name from the fact that it looks like a lance, which is a kind of spear used by mounted cavalry. Think of a jousting tournament. Do you see the resemblance in your mind? Can you see it?

These types of windows are seen here in Gothic Revival architecture and normally on churches. Lancet windows can be single, paired, or have an odd number of windows with the tallest window being in the middle.i

The following are buildings that I’ve seen in both Northern New York and Canada that have lancet windows.

The Potsdam Civic Center, where the lancet windows are more visible. This section of the Civic Center was originally a Universalist church built in the 1870’s and then renovated into a library in the 1930’s. It’s now the Potsdam Public Museum. This side of the building would have been the original entrance of the building when it was a church.
This is the First Baptist Church located in Ottawa, Ontario. It’s located at the corner of Elgin Street and Laurier Avenue. It was constructed in 1877 and the cornerstone was laid by the Prime Minister during that time, Alexander Mackenzie! That’s a good example of a both a pair and a trio of lancet windows.
This adorable church is located on Wellesley Island. It’s a shingle style take on Gothic Revival. It’s so cute! Again, here we have another example of a trio of lancet windows with the tallest being in the center. This church was constructed in 1902.
This is the one photo of a building with lancet windows that is not a church! This is the East Block of Canada’s Parliament Hill. It’s one of the original parts of Parliament Hill that has not changed since it’s completion. The building was completed in 1866 and is considered a “High Victorian Gothic” style building. It’s built of Nepean Sandstone. Side note, elsewhere on Parliament Hill, Potsdam Sandstone was used as decorative features on windows, I think specifically on the Parliament Library building.
So we’ve looked at a bunch of exterior shots of lancet windows. This example and the next are views of what a lancet window look like from inside a building. These beautiful stained glass windows are located in the Trinity Episcopal Church in Potsdam, NY. The building was first constructed in 1835 and then went through a huge renovation in the 1880’s, which resulted in the church going from a simple Federal style church with some Gothic Revival elements into a full blown High Victorian Gothic Church.
This window is also in the Trinity Church. It’s a Tiffany window by the way and it’s called, “The Angel of Resurrection.” The stained glass windows in the previous image are also Tiffany windows installed during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Those windows are named, “The Good Shepherd” and “Christ the Light of the World.” Most of the Tiffany windows were donated by the Clarkson family, the same family that Clarkson University was named after.

If you have any examples of lancet windows on a building that is not a church building, share it in the comments below. I’d love to see more examples of Gothic Revival homes with lancet windows!

For more information on the buildings presented, check out the following links:

Canada’s Parliament Hill:



Wellesley Island Densmore Methodist Church:


The following is a great article, not just about the Densmore Church but about many of the churches found in the Thousand Islands:


Trinity Episcopal Church, Potsdam, NY:

Their website has a great section on all of the stained glass windows within their church. In May I gave a tour of Potsdam Sandstone structures located in the Village of Potsdam. The Church allowed us to bring the tours inside to see the interior, which was really great and people enjoyed being able to see the interior of the church and the stained glass windows up close!


End Note:

i  I already knew how to explain what a lancet window was but if you’re interested in an actual definition check out the online Encyclopedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/technology/lancet-window, accessed 07/01/2016. I also looked at Wikipedia’s page too because it has some nice examples of lancet windows seen in England and Italy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancet_window, accessed 07/03/2016.