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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

 

Property Name TRACY MEMORIAL VILLAGE HALL COMPLEX
Reference Number 15000953
State New York
County Columbia
Town Chatham
Street Address 77 MAIN STREET
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 1/5/2016
Areas of Significance ARCHITECTURE, COMMUNITY PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
Link to full file https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/pdfs/15000953.pdf
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Tracy Memorial Village Hall, located in the Village of Chatham, Columbia County, is a Neoclassical-style civic building erected 1912-13 to the designs of architect and landscape designer Horace Whittier Peaslee (1884- 1959), a native of Columbia County who rose to national prominence in the field of American design in the first half of the twentieth century. Funding for this building, in excess of $40,000, along with a maintenance fund for its continual upkeep was provided by the locally prominent Tracy family in memory of Albert E. Tracy, who died in 1910. The nominated edifice is one of two important civic buildings which were presented as gifts by prominent local families to the Village of Chatham in this period; the other, the Morris Memorial building, was dedicated for use in 1910, its costs borne by Jane Cady Morris in honor of her late husband, George Morris. Tracy Memorial Village Hall was conceived of as an ornament to the village and as a signature feature of the Central Square area of Chatham, which the following year was further improved with the installation of a fountain. A fire station was erected behind the village hall in 1925, thereby rounding out the historic features of this municipal complex. Peaslee garnered the commission following an open competition, and by his own account the successful execution of the project helped to launch his career, which ultimately encompassed both landscape design and architecture. Landscape architect George Burnap (1885-1938), who like Peaslee was associated with the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds in Washington, D.C. and who was also a Cornell alumnus, collaborated on the site plan. Although a native of Columbia County, Peaslee moved to Washington, D.C. in 1911 and his professional work is most closely associated with that area and its public parks and monuments. Notable among his body of architectural work were the designs for the Korean and Peruvian embassies in Washington, D.C.; landscape projects included the Meridian Hill Park in Washington, D.C., and the grounds of the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. For the Chatham building Peaslee combined a hipped roof building with distinctive Colonial Revival-style features with a monumental Ionic order portico executed in grey marble, thereby affiliating the design with the prevailing Neoclassical sentiment of that period. The building remains in large measure as designed by Peaslee and dedicated for service in 1913, with the bulk of its character-defining features and historic plan remaining intact. It is a building that continues to satisfy the functions for which it was conceived and one that speaks to an important period of civic munificence in the Village of Chatham's history. It is being nominated in association with National Register of Historic Places Criterion A and C, in the areas of Architecture and Community Planning & Development, respectively, at the local significance level.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria