5 Culvert Street

If you’ve been following us on Facebook, then you know all about 5 Culvert Street, for those who haven’t seen all of the posts, I’ll give you a quick re-cap.

On Spetember 28th we posted on Facebook:

A historical and architectural gem in Glens Falls is about to collapse. This tiny Victorian building on Culvert St. behind Warren Tire was built by James Ferguson, M.D. as his office in the 1860’s. This super cool building has gone way down hill in the past few years, and the City of Glens Falls has owned it since 2014. Let your councilman know that it is not okay for the city to loose a building on the National Historic Register when they are the owners responsible.

Image of 5 Culvert Street as seen from the street, the building is obviously in bad repair and has a shower stall sitting in the front yard.
A close up of the building roof and window, showing damage to the roof, open window and broken pane.
Broken brick on the exterior of the building to the left of the door revealing that there are still household items inside the rundown building.
Picture of half a book page showing 5 Culvert Street in it's prime and detailing the original ownership of the building by Dr. James Ferguson and it's placement on the historical register.
Looking up into the building through a broken wall up to the second floor at clothes hanging on a rod.


Posting this to Facebook was a means of giving voice to my frustration with the city who not only tend to be unsupportive of our efforts to improve our community,  but are contributing to the decline of the surrounding community through actions such as those surrounding this historic building. We thought there might be a few people interested, but never expected the amount of interest this piece generated.

People began offering to put money toward saving this building, locals with drones offered to get some images of the roof, experts were willing to donate time and knowledge. We were gratified that this show of support was not limited to social media, many people turned up at the common council meeting on October 10 to let the city know they wanted to see this building saved, not demolished. The city granted us a month to come up with concrete plans and funding to save this building before they would have it demolished.

A lot of things happened after that, I meet with many people, talked to many more. Then in the way that things often happened, someone told me about a tangential connection between 5 Culvert St and The Shirt Factory.

If you’re familiar with Glens Falls, you’ll probably recognise this Tudor style house on Glen Street. This was the home of JR McMullen, one of the men who founded the Shirt Factory in 1902. Current Shirt Factory tenant, Bill McCarthy, shared a family story about his Aunt Rita who lived in the house at 5 Culvert Street in the 1940’s/50’s while working as a maid at JR McMullen’s house on Glen Street.

The more of the history I found, the harder I worked to find someone who had the means and resources to save this building.

On October 24th, before we had reached the deadline the city had given us, I attended another Common Council meeting, this time to show support for Darren Tracy, a Saratoga resident who wanted to take on the challenge of restoring this local gem. I had spoken to others around the state who were familiar with Mr. Tracy and his work, and heard nothing but good things. I shared all I heard with the Common Council, and the city sold the property to Mr. Tracy for $1.

Original artwork by Dave Francis, a pastel drawing of the building at 5 Culvert Street. The building is not run down but shows the early signs of neglect.

Pastel drawing by Dave Francis

We’re not done yet.  Mr. Tracy will share his timeline and work with us. We will post those updates here as we receive them.

If you want to offer assistance to Mr. Tracy, let us know and we’ll help you connect with Mr. Tracy.

Dr. Ferguson’s Office Restoration Blog#1  10.29.17 By Darren Tracey


Restoration timeline:  

  • 10/6/17 – Learn of plans to possibly demolish 5 Culvert Street from Aarch (Adirondack Architectural Heritage) email.
  • 10/10/17 – Contact Mayor Diamond asking if the demolition is a done deal, or if the City would entertain an offer to purchase.  The mayor acknowledged that bids have been accepted to demolish the building but no contract has been awarded, stating the city would entertain an offer to sell instead of proceeding with demolition.
  • 10/16/17 – My first impression was that this is a cute building but, too far gone to save.   After carefully looking at the structure a half dozen times, I decided we could pull this off and made a purchase offer to the city. The mayor requested I meet with the city council to discuss the project.
  • On 10/23/17, I met with the city council in a workshop format.  Later that evening the council approved the sale.
  • On 10/27/17 at 9:00 AM, the transfer of title took place.  At 9:30 AM, work commenced. The goal is to stabilize the roof before winter, so more of the roof does not collapse and blow out the walls. Two trees that were crowding the building in the front were cut.  Some of the debris around the exterior of the building was placed in a dumpster.  The roof structure was assessed.

Before Tree Removal

5 culvert st bad corner

Bad Corner

5 Culvert St after tree removal

After Tree Removal

Just needs a little dusting and furniture rearranging on the inside