Members of the St. Johnsville village board, along with village historian Mathew Rapacz, recently unveiled an historic marker in front of the Community House. Funding for the traditional blue and gold sign was successfully secured from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation by former historian Anita Smith. Long known for her enthusiastic and committed support to her community and the Mohawk Valley, Smith passed away in late spring before the marker could be dedicated.
Built in 1869 in the Italianate style from local bricks, the building was first home to cheese merchant James Bates. After Bates fell on hard financial times, the house was sold at a sheriff’s sale to William Peck and eventually to Frederick Engelhardt.
By the late 1920’s, with the Engelhardt fortune almost gone, the First National Bank foreclosed on the property and it was purchased and presented to the village by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Reaney. The Reaney’s specified it was to be used for public and municipal purposes. The building was formally dedicated as the Community House in 1935.
The original solarium was enlarged to create an auditorium/dining room that can be used for community events. In 1962, the village offices were relocated to the building. The St. Johnsville Police Department and village court are also located within the building.
The Community House has retained its private home grandeur as is evident by the sweeping front porch, elegant woodwork and three Austrian crystal chandeliers.
Photos: The Community House, Washington Street, St. Johnsville
L-R: Mayor Bernard Barnes, Village Trustee Martin Callahan, Village Historian Mathew Rapacz and Village Trustee Gene Colorito