Downtown gets special designation

The two octagonal towers of the Rutland Railroad ticket and freight office, located on Elm Street. Alexander Violo/Malone Telegram

MALONE — The downtown district of Malone has officially been designated as a historic district following a meeting of the New York State Board of Historic Preservation, Thursday, where it was approved by unanimous consent.

The designation means the commercial core of the Malone village will be listed on the State Register of Historic Places.

The Malone Revitalization Foundation and Malone Chamber of Commerce worked together to get a historic designation for the Malone Downtown Historic District, according to Mary Scharf, president of the Malone Revitalization foundation.

“We are so happy. This opens the doors to tax credits for investors, grant opportunities and increased tourism,” Scharf said in an email after the board’s meeting.

With the state designation official, the nomination will now be forwarded to the National Park Service for its review and potential listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Daniel Bagrow, a historic preservation program analyst, with the Division for Historic Preservation, of New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, presented on behalf of Malone during the preservation board’s meeting.

Bagrow gave a historical overview of Malone and said the historic district is characterized by primarily commercial buildings from the later-19th and early-20th centuries, which include late-Victorian and revival styles.

The historic district includes 66 buildings and two parks, according to Bagrow, and three resources, the Paddock Block dating back to 1848, the Horton Gristmill dating back to 1853, and the U.S. Post Office, dating back to 1934, previously listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Bagrow said the district’s nomination received one letter of support and no letters against.

According to Preservation Services Director Christine Bush, of Adirondack Architectural Heritage in Keeseville, a non-profit that supports preservation efforts in the Adirondacks and the North Country, whose organization assisted with the designation process, the board’s decision will benefit Malone.

“This has been a couple years in the making and it will really be a great benefit for the community,” Bush said.

Scharf said she sees the historic designation as a way to bring investment into the area.

“This is very, very important to Malone. We need investment, we need to be more of a tourist destination, and this should help with that,” Scharf said citing Malone’s proximity to Lake Placid and Montreal, “We need a reason for people to stop, stay, and spend their money.”

Scharf said with a historic designation it gives visitors a reason to spend time in, as opposed to passing through the community.

“It would give Malone an incentive for people to stay overnight and invest in our community,” Scharf said.

After the board’s approval, Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation Daniel Mackay said he would work with Malone to access the federal and state tax credit opportunities the historical listing opens up.

“This is a huge first step for Malone,” Mackay said, “It opens up opportunities not only for the historic district but for historic buildings in Malone as well.”

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