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Photo by Neil Larson (2011)

Preservation and renovation project

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 begain in spring 2018, with replacement of the roof, designed by architect Stephen Tilly, well known for his historic preservation work in the Hudson Valley. In spring 2019, the building's north addition was replaced, based on a design by Alfandre Architecture, and the firm will work with us to plan the upgrade of the building’s systems and restoration the interior. Once completed, the Canal House will house our museum, library and offices. Space for a visitors' center will be incorporated, providing information about local trails, geology, flora and fauna, as well as historical, cultural and culinary venues. The space will also be available for community and group events.

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?

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