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