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  • Jennifer Donovan

Discover Downtown Gloversville Blog

Take the Historic Walk in Downtown Gloversville


Did you know that Teddy Roosevelt, F.D.R., and Harpo Marx once walked the streets of Gloversville? Come walk the same streets that MGM Studio head Samuel Goldwyn once strolled and see the same architecture that notables John Phillip Sousa, Boxing Hall of Famer “Gentleman” Jim Corbett, and Evelyn Nesbit once viewed!


This 1-mile tour of the Downtown Gloversville Historic District, located in Gloversville, Fulton County, New York, contains 9 stops that showcases the city that was not only was home to the industry that once gloved the nation, but also home to the Kingsborough Hotel that gave lodging to men who would go on to be president. Home to a large historic commercial district that is centered on the “Four Corners” of Main and Fulton Streets, the Downtown

Gloversville Historic District has many buildings that range in age and are architecturally significant from pre-1850 on. History and architecture enthusiasts will enjoy viewing the structures that include a variety of popular architectural styles, such as Neoclassical, Renaissance Revival, Romanesque Revival, Second Empire, and Art Deco. A bonus stop is located at Veterans Park off the intersections of State Street and Kingsboro Avenue. If you include this stop on your walking tour, it is almost 4 miles of healthy hiking throughout the city!


1. The Palace Diner (62 S. Main St.) - Albert Main opened the Palace in 1923. The lunch cart was built by the Jerry O’Mahony Dining Car Company of Bayonne, NJ, and was shipped by railroad to Fonda, then transported by truck to its current location. The original diner looked like a railroad car and as a 24-hour eatery, it served employees in the leather and glove industry.


2. Kingsborough Hotel (34 S. Main St.) - The Kingsborough Hotel opened in 1903 and

boasted of elaborate guest rooms, a banquet hall, ballroom, and basement tavern. It was known as one of Gloversville’s finest hotels. Notable guests included Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Samuel Goldwyn. Goldwyn, a Hollywood producer, began his life in America in Gloversville as Samuel Goldfish. He swept floors in a glove factory and worked his way up to a successful sales position before getting into the movie business.


3. Four Corners (2 S. Main St) - The City of Gloversville was created by the convergence of three separate entities: the Settlement on the Hill, the Mill Settlement, and Kingsborough Settlement. These three communities met in what is today’s Four Corners, the center of the Downtown Gloversville Historic District. The Neoclassical style building, currently housing the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, was constructed in 1917 as the Fulton County National Bank.


4. FJ&G Railroad Station (Train Station Park) - The Fonda, Johnstown, and Gloversville

(FJ&G) Railroad was incorporated in 1867. Within 20 years, the company acquired the rail line from Gloversville to Northville, which included depots in Mayfield, Cranberry Creek, Sacandaga Park, and Northville. Soon after the railroad merged with the Cayadutta Electric Railroad, which operated as the FJ&G Electric Division. The Mountain Lake Electric Railroad was added in 1904. The FJ&G constructed a new passenger depot and office in Gloversville in 1888 at the cost of $25,000. Lit by gas and steam, it was by all accounts “a model depot.”


5. Bleecker Street Square (33 Bleecker St.) - Located just northwest of the Four Corners is Bleecker Street Square (site of the former First Methodist Church), land that was dominated by the large home of Captain David Spaulding, a Civil War veteran. Captain Spaulding often held drills for the local soldiers on his large front lawn. It later became a bustling commercial center with a number of restaurants, laundries, jewelers, photography studios, a bakery, restaurants, hotels, and more.


6. Memorial Hall / Glove Theater - Memorial Hall (42 N. Main St.) was constructed in 1881

and the first floor had space for businesses and a post office. The opera house on the second floor was the real showstopper as it was admired for its hand-painted ceiling and boasted the most modern advancements in fire safety. The opera house brought a variety of celebrities to Gloversville, including John Phillip Sousa, Boxing Hall of Famer “Gentleman” Jim Corbett, and Evelyn Nesbit. It often hosted political events and future president Theodore Roosevelt spoke there during his tenure as New York City Police Commissioner. In 1905, the opera house was renamed the Family Theater and vaudeville performances took the center stage. When the Schines purchased the neighboring Glove Theater, they obtained Memorial Hall and converted the opera house to three floors of offices, as well as a private screening room. The Glove Theater, built in 1914 and operated by Dr. Henry Cady and George Dartch, started as a live performance venue for concerts and vaudeville. The theater was purchased by J. Myer and Louis Schine in 1920, who went on to own over 160 theaters, but the Glove was the flagship. On November 2, 1939, the Glove hosted one of the world premieres of “Drums Along the Mohawk,” starring Claudette Colbert and Henry Fonda.


7. Old City Hall (44 N. Main St.) - City Hall was once located in this building, designed by M.F. Cummings of Troy, NY in 1885 in the Queen Anne style. Original features included Victorian Gothic pediment stone lintels on the second story and terracotta tiles from Glens Falls, NY. A bell tower and bell once topped the building, but the bell was sold for scrap during World War II. Next door to City Hall was the fire department. A young Arthur “Harpo” Marx of the Marx Brothers spent some time in the jail cell here, thanks to a scheme a business partner of his was running, but was eventually released. In 1977, a new municipal complex was built on Frontage Road, where City Hall remains today. The old building was altered for commercial use and has been the location of various bars and restaurants over the years.


8. Gloversville High School / Estee (Estee Park) (90 N. Main St.) - Known as the former

Gloversville Union Seminary, in 1868, the Board of Education of District No. 16 purchased the building and started the Gloversville Union School. As the school grew, the original was replaced by a three-story brick building in 1875 and another was constructed just north of the building in 1883. The south building was razed to make room for a new high school in 1906. The building was later used as the Estee Junior High School until 1997. A senior affordable housing project now is on site in much the same style as the original building.



9. Gloversville Public Library (58 E. Fulton Street) – The Gloversville Public Library is housed in the original Carnegie building constructed in 1904. Andrew Carnegie funded over 3,500 libraries in America alone. The $50,000 in Carnegie funds were contingent upon financial support of the library from the City of Gloversville, which was provided. The building is designed in the Beaux Arts style by Albert Randolph Ross. The façade, made with limestone and tan brick, gleamed when the building was new. The library launched a capital campaign for renovation of the building in 2013. The work was completed in 2019, restoring and highlighting the Carnegie buildings historic features while updating it to better serve the community in the 21st century and beyond.


BONUS STOP: Kingsboro Historic District (Veterans Park) (256 Kingsboro Avenue) -

Kingsboro was one of the earliest settlements in Fulton County. Originally part of Sir William Johnson’s expansive land holdings, after the Revolutionary War it was settled by families from New England. Other settlers included those of Dutch, German, Scottish, English, and Irish backgrounds. Rev. Elisha Yale’s informal 1803 census tells us: “Kingsborough is a pleasant society, five by seven miles in extent, about fifty miles from Albany, nine north of the Mohawk, containing 233 families, and about 1,400 souls. Of the families, 191 are of English descent, 23 Scotch, 14 Dutch, and 5 Irish.” In addition to some of the city’s oldest residences, Kingsboro also included a church and school. The Kingsboro Congregational Church was organized in 1793, but the present building was constructed in 1838. Rev. Elisha Yale served as its pastor from 1804-1852. His statue stands in the park across from the church. The Kingsboro Cemetery contains the graves of some of the area’s earliest settlers, including Rev. Yale.



 

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