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).
Originally built in 1797, this massive stone structure will become the new home of our Canal Museum—where we hope to see future visitors transported back in time as they wander among these walls that talk. The re-envisioned museum will include interactive experiences and an expanded focus on the local industries and communities that developed along the canal’s route. Located in the heart of the High Falls historic district, we envision the Canal House serving as a focal point for visitors to the area, hikers, and members of the local community.
Simeon Depuy, who operated a tavern in the stone house, enlarged the building around 1830—likely to accommodate the increased traffic following the canal’s opening in 1825. Today, the Depuy Canal House remains a remarkably intact example of 18th century commercial architecture. Its historical significance is enhanced by its long association with the D&H Canal, which owned the building between 1850 and 1898, and maintained its offices there.
The prospect of relocating our museum to a historic structure so closely linked with the canal era is exciting! The Canal House also adjoins the Five Locks Walk—the trail along which visitors can view the physical remains of the canal, making for a richer experience.
We expect restoration work on the Canal House to begin in early spring 2018, with replacement of the roof. Stephen Tilly, an architect well known for his historic preservation work in the Hudson Valley, has been engaged to design the roof replacement, assuring its historic accuracy and long life. After completion of the roof, 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?