2012/2013 GCS After School Enrichment: Local History -- North Street

view from upper school driveway, looking north on Rt 32

Rundell house, on school site, before moving across street

Although Greenville never changes, the accumulation of alterations has created a different Greenville than our “oldtimers” can recollect from their young days. Our walk south from the park is reminder.

Immediately north of the park, when standing at the park’s entrance, one sees a string of attached motel units, now apartments. Missing is the central building, the former Jesse house. Once a farm house, Jesse’s Elm Shade drew guests in the early  and mid-century until it was razed in the 1980s. This historical marker notes Benjamin Spees as one of the town earliest founders (along with Lake and Knowles).

From the park’s entrance, one’s eyes note the barns. These barns were the accompaniments to the Sherrill/Vanderbilt house that operated as a prosperous farm until the 1970s. Shown below is a post card photo of the house from the early, which stood until it was razed, along with the nearby outbuildings, only a few years ago. The park’s 156 acres were the agricultural fields of this farm.

The properties across the street, up to Irving Road, are relative newcomers to Greenville.

The yellow house below the park entrance, built in 1978, occupies the site of the tennis court of Lewis Sherrill and the Knowlton (next).

Next, on the same side, sits the classic white clapboard farm house this side of the Westerner is locally known as the Knowlton, named after the Knowles family who owned it. Charles Knowles was an influential, prosperous landowner in the 1870s and 1880s who kept  his “summer house” as he lived in Albany.

The buildings across the street are 20th century “newcomers.”

The Westerner is a relative youngster, and the two houses forming the Westerner square are Irving properties. The Irving residence is considered by some to be the oldest house in town.

The Baumann house is one of the town’s oldest houses. The historical marker notes it as the Talmadge & Atwater house.

Below the Baumann house is a newer,  colonial white house with green shutters was built about 1940. It was lived in for many years by the O’Keefe family.

Back to this side of the street is the Stanger house, next to the Irving houses. It is another of Greenville’s older houses, dating to mid-19th century.

South of us, from Westerner to the creek (and school driveway) is a string of house left mostly unchanged over the past one hundred years.

Across the street, the brown-shingled, end gables facing the road was the residence of the Clark family while Richard Clark served as the Episcopal minister during the 1960s and 1970s.

Next to that was the Manse, serving Reverend Van Dyke in the early 20th century.

Next, the “Powell” house (left, two houses before creek), was a stately residence that had a three story tower. “Doc” Wasson lived here.

The last house before the creek across the school is a classic Victorian rural building known locally as the Vaughn building, which became divided into apartments.

We cross the bridge over a small creek which originates in the fields uptown (in the Bryant’s and “Balsam Shade” area), large enough to cross Rt 32 just above the resort by the driveway to the park and winding its way through the park before crossing Rt 32 again here.

We cross the bridge, and dominating the view from here is the Scott M. Ellis Elementary School.

Population increases dictated additions and use of community structures as classroom space until the high school was built in 198-69. The school district celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2007.

Across the street sits the salmon colored house. It was moved there over a two day period, partially straddling the main road overnight, to make way for the new school building. It has been in the Rundell family for nearly 90 years.

Next to the Rundell house is the parsonage, originally a residence.

Next is the Episcopal Church. The stone to build it came from the Sanford farm from Route 26 (also known as the George Turon farm).

Just below the church is an empty spot before the cemetery driveway stood a residence, owned by Sylvester Story. Then the driveway leads back to the cemetery.

Backing up just a little, on the right side, is the small Boy Scouts building. It served as the chapel for the Presbyterian Church and was recently used as the American Legion building. It also was used as an emergency school room during the 1960s.

Next is The All Arts Matter – Cultural Center building. It  looks like a church because it was Greenville’s Presbyterian Church from the 1790s until the 1990s. AAM is currently the town’s leading cultural influence.

The library building was built in 1906, with an addition in the 1990s. Originally, the Greenville Free Academy occupied the site since 1816 before it was razed in 1905. With the centralization of schools, the building has mostly been used as a public library, with other uses in its history.  

It should be noted that the area from the pond to the school was donated to the town by Augustine Prevost two hundred years ago and, today, has Historic National Register status.

The realty office was Flach’s barbershop until recently, having been built for that purpose in 1963. It stands on the site of a blacksmith shop.

The fire house in back is of block construction (mostly), built in the early 1940s and used as a farm machinery building.

The creek mentioned earlier crosses Rt 32 again (and not for the last time, either). The bridge was recently replaced.

The hot dog stand has been a fixture since the 1960s, its first incarnation was Matt’s Hot Dogs.

The now abandoned gas station was a gas station since the 1940s. Before that is was a centerpiece residence, with a white picket fence, that distinguished the town’s center.

The pond has been a pond longer than anyone can remember, with alterations to its banking, fountain, and outlet into the creek. The gazebo was built in 1989 was a thank you gesture from the GCS band for fundraising efforts for a trip.

The four corners is the crossing of the state roads, 81 and 32, with the east-west road being Greenville’s main street, indicating the direction that the early turnpikes crossed the town two hundred years ago.

Across Rt 81 sits the Pioneer Building, today’s Greenville Town Hall, a topic for another tour.