In December 2015, the Society acquired the historic Depuy Canal House in High Falls (formerly the site of John Novi’s renowned restaurant), with financial assistance from the Open Space Institute of New York City (OSI), and the NYS Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation (OPRHP).
This massive stone structure--which dates from 1797—remains a remarkably intact example of 18th century commercial architecture. Once preservation work on the building is completed, it will house our redesigned museum. Here, visitors will be transported back in time, as they wander within these walls that talk. The new museum adjoins the Society’s Five Locks Walk—the trail that allows visitors to view the physical remains of the canal—a juxtaposition that will create a richer experience for guests.
Interactive exhibits and an expanded focus on the communities and industries that developed along the canal are being planned. With its location in the heart of the High Falls historic district, we envision the Canal House also serving as a focal point for area visitors, hikers, and members of the local community.
In the years before the canal came to High Falls, Simeon Depuy was operating a tavern in the stone house that has since borne his name. In 1827, with the canal beginning operations, Simeon deeded the property to his son Jacob--although this transfer would not be recorded until Simeon’s death. Jacob constructed an addition to the building, and opened a store there--convenient to the canal traffic. The D&H Canal Company acquired the building in 1850, and maintained its offices there until 1898. The structure is closely linked to the canal era, and the prospect of relocating our museum there is an energizing goal!
Restoration work on the Canal House is beginning in spring 2018, with replacement of the roof. Stephen Tilly, an architect well known for his historic preservation work in the Hudson Valley, designed the roof replacement, assuring its historic accuracy and long life. Next, an extensive upgrading of the building’s systems will be undertaken, followed by restoration of the interior, which will house our collections, and provide accessible facilities for visitors.
Preservation of this important historical structure will require substantial new financial resources. Won't you consider helping us meet our goal to fund the first round of preservation work?