Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ogdensburg Bank Building

Learn about the Ogdensburg Bank Building, presently the office of Nicholas Fodor, Esq. This site on the National Historic Register.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Historic Homes of Ogdensburg

Many of Ogdensburg's old homes still remain. I created this movie to showcase the rich architecture in the city. The photos you see came from a souvenir book printed in the late 19th century with some additional photos taken by me. #ogdensburghistory

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Old Woolen Mills

This photo taken by Louis Murray ca. 1940 s shows the Old Woolen Mills (McGuire's). The caption reads "looking from King St. towards Main St. over the old power canal. Photo courtesy of the Ogdensburg Public Library. #ogdensburghistory

Monday, July 3, 2017

Ogdensburg Rocks

For the past couple of weeks a craze has been sweeping Ogdensburg. A Facebook page called Ogdensburg Rocks began with the premise of citizens decorating and hiding rocks throughout the city. The community both young and old has responded. Channel 7 News even did a story about it. The group has over 3,700 members. Pictures are posted showing rocks being painted and rocks being discovered and hidden again. To honor the community spirit, I decided to decorate a rock myself. Admittedly, I am NOT an artist, but I thought it might be fun if whomever found the #ogdensburghistory rock hid it again at a historic spot in the city. I'm excited to see what happens! #ogdensburgrocks

Monday, May 29, 2017

State Street Garage

This photograph was one of 112 that NPR scanned this month at the Ogdensburg Public Library. Located at the corner of State Street and Knox Street, it was taken ca. 1925. The site of the garage is now Dixie Lee Chicken, but the building formerly housed the Ogdensburg Marble Works.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

North Country at Work Scanning Event

The next NPR scanning event is Saturday, May 13 is at the Ogdensburg Public Library.

How Photo Sharing Works

If we’re coming to your area and you have work-related photos from the 1800s to the present, we hope you’ll come share them with us! Here’s how it works:

Collection: Please contact us for a time slot to come in with your photos and any information you have on them (the basics being what, who, when, and where, but we’d also love to hear any firsthand memories or family stories related to the photos!). We’ll sit down with you, record your information, and scan the photos. Please email us at to tell us you’re coming, so that we may assign you a window of time to come in. Walk-ins are welcome, but may result in a wait. #ogdensburghistory

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Silvester Gilbert House

Gilbert Notes

The Gilbert house was a Georgian style stone house built in about 1821 by early resident Silvester Gilbert. Georgian style homes were prevalent in the thirteen colonies throughout the 18th century. These homes typically are constructed of stone or brick with a symmetrical arrangement of windows and doors on the front of the building. Windows are usually multi-paned sliding sash windows in a 6 over 6 pattern. The front door may have a transom window over it. The Gilbert family lived in this house for 50 years. Silvester Gilbert was born in Otego, New York on September 24, 1787. He came to Ogdensburg in 1810 establishing himself as a hatter. After the War of 1812 he formed a partnership with Judge Averill as a merchant. This partnership was dissolved in 1818. Silvester Gilbert was a prominent early citizen of the village of Ogdensburgh. Among his many accomplishments was helping to form one of the first Masonic lodges in Ogdensburg, becoming a Master in 1826. He held many state offices for the Masons and was a member for 55 years. He was elected Supervisor of the Town of Oswegatchie and was a delegate in 1839 when General William Henry Harrison was nominated for president. On the local level, he was elected village clerk in 1817, village trustee in 1832, and village president in 1835 and 1856. He was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1827 as a Whig. Gilbert was named a commissioner of the Oswegatchie Navigation Company in 1831, which was formed to dig canals linking Black Lake, Gouverneur and Canton. He was elected as a vestryman and warden of the Episcopal Church and was instrumental in completing the building of St. John’s Episcopal Church here in Ogdensburg. The Ogdensburg Academy was established in 1835 with Gilbert listed as one of its trustees. He married Lois Ranney in 1818, who died in 1819. They had one son. Lois Ranney was the daughter of Capt. Seth Ranney, who served in the War of 1812 and Eleanor Matthews. He then married Nancy Ann Seymour, daughter of David and Nancy Seymour. They had 12 children. Silvester Gilbert died in 1865 and is buried in the Ogdensburgh Cemetery. After his death his fellow masons passed a resolution which said “his life has been characterized by a high tone of moral worth which won for him the regard of his fellow citizens.” #ogdensburghistory #urbanrenewal

Sources: History of St. Lawrence County (L.H. Everts) Charter, Ordinances and School Act of the City of Ogdensburg, New York. January 1st, 1905 Old Houses of the North Country (Watertown Daily Times) #300 Genealogical and Family History of Northern New York: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 3 Dams, Locks and Canals: A Century Before The Seaway (Watertown Daily Times) November 25, 2014 War of 1812 - The Second Revolution By Rainier Chapter Watertown Daily Times January 4, 1922 Bonnie Winter Wright: photo Gilbert Ad: St. Lawrence Gazette June 23, 1829 Official Canvas of SLC: St. Lawrence Gazette November 21, 1826 Dissolution of partnership: St. Lawrence Gazette August 25, 1818 Mason-death of Gilbert: The Daily Journal November 18, 1865 Anti-Jackson Meeting: Northern Light October 25, 1832 Bank of Ogdensburg: St. Lawrence Gazette November 27, 1827 Town of Oswegatchie Supervisor: St. Lawrence Gazette March 11, 1828 Oswegatchie Navigation Co.: St. Lawrence Republican August 18, 1835 War of 1812: The Daily Journal March 1, 1859 Gravestone: William Henry Harrison: St. John’s Episcopal Church: Oswegatchie River:

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Stone Quarry

This photo is posted courtesy of the Ogdensburg Public Library. It shows the stone quarry opposite the Pythian Home toward the St. Lawrence River. Workers are drawing stone for buildings at the State Hospital. (Frank Bateman Picture Collection 95-12.44)#ogdensburghistory

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bell Mansion

The Bell Mansion located at 429 State St. (formerly 416 Crescent St.) was built in 1830. The mansard style that you see today was added by Walter Allen in 1880. This style also called the Second Empire Style, was immensely popular in the the Northeast and Midwest during the 1860s and 1870s. It began in France during the reign of Napoleon III and is based on the designs of Francois Mansart. The mansard roof with its usable attic space is the key element of this design. Also note the eaves with brackets and columned porches.

As with many homes built during this period, the kitchen and laundry were located in the basement with the primary living space on the first and second floors.

A number of notable city residents have lived in this home. Walter Bicker Allen, was a prominent businessman in Ogdensburg. He was born in 1824 the son of E. B. Allen and Harriet Seymour Allen at Sault Ste. Marie. His father E.B. Allen was an early resident of Ogdensburg. In 1861 he married Helen Egert; they had three children. Mr. Allen was involved in shipping and owned a hardware store. He served as a city alderman beginning in 1868, and was a trustee of the Presbyterian Church. He died in 1884 and is buried in the Ogdensburg Cemetery.

The Bell Mansion is named after another notable resident, Willard Bell. Dr. Bell married Harriet Allen, daughter of Walter Allen and assumed ownership of the home in 1905. Dr. Bell was a specialist in the treatment of eye, ear, nose and throat ailments, who practiced in Ogdensburg until his death in 1920. He was born in 1857 the son of George and Ellen Howe Bell. His brother Charles was a partner in Bill Bell and Co. Flour Mill. Dr. Bell married Harriet Seymour Allen in 1884. She was born in Ogdensburg in 1863. The couple had two sons, Walter Allen Bell, who owned a lumber business and George Allen Bell who moved to Bangor, Maine. Mrs. Bell died in 1952.

In recent years the Bell Mansion has not only been a private home, but has also housed a bridal shop.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

See Nineteenth Century St. Lawrence County in 3-D on April 20th

Tom French, author of River Views: A History of the 1000 Islands in 3-D, will give a presentation on nineteenth century stereographs, three-dimensional photographs, of St. Lawrence County and the Thousand Islands at the St. Lawrence County Historical Association on Thursday, April 20th at noon, as part of their monthly Brown Bag Lunch Series. Brown Bag Lunches are free and open to the public: bring your own lunch and enjoy a beverage and dessert provided by the SLCHA. The presentation will include a brief history of stereography and many images of St. Lawrence County and the Thousand Islands that do not appear in the book. French will also bring a number of stereoview reproductions and viewers so that the audience can have an opportunity to view the images in 3-D, as they were meant to be seen. After the presentation, he will be available for questions and a book signing. Tom French teaches English in Massena, NY. His work has been featured in Mac|Life, Adirondack Explorer, Adirondack Life, Thousand Island, Stereo World, and The Watertown Daily Times. River Views: A History of the 1000 Islands in 3-D was awarded a Silver Medal for Best Regional Book in the Northeast in the 2012 Independent Publishers Book Awards; the book comes with a special viewer that allows readers to view the 125-year-old photographs of the Thousand Islands in three dimensions. The Brown Bag Lunch Series is a popular lunch time lecture series dedicated to the memory of Patricia Harrington Carson, who founded the series during her 24 years as a Trustee of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association. Pat Carson was active on numerous SLCHA Committees, and was an article writer and an issue editor of the SLCHA’s history journal, The Quarterly.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Pilgrim Holiness Church

The Pilgrim Holiness Church was located at 201 Washington Street (corner of Washington and Isabella Streets). The building was demolished in 1972 during urban renewal. #ogdensburghistory #urbanrenewal

Saturday, March 18, 2017

212 Catherine Street

I found this photo yesterday in my office. It shows a building at 212 Catherine Street, owned by Adam Petrelli Jr. The space was rented by Edwin Mitchell. The original property was owned by William J. and Mary Averell (prior to 1896)and was conveyed to George G. Ramsey. Eventually Adam J. Petrelli and his wife Regina purchased the property in 1946. The building was demolished in 1972 during Urban Renewal. #ogdensburghistory #urbanrenewal

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Hear the Tale of a Local Civil War Soldier on March 16th

Hear the Tale of a Local Civil War Soldier on March 16th Potsdam resident William A. Elderkin, a graduate of West Point, was married in the White House, and fought in the first battle of Bull Run. He traveled over 16,000 miles with his trunk, now in the collection of the Potsdam Public Museum, tracing the history of the nineteenth century Indian wars, the development of industrial steel, the spread of railroads, and the establishment of American capitalism. Learn more about Elderkin and his trunk from Jan Wojcik at noon on Thursday, March 16th, at the St. Lawrence County Historical Association. Brown Bag Lunches are free and open to the public: bring your own lunch and enjoy a beverage and dessert provided by SLCHA. Wojcik, a member of the SLCHA Civil War Round Table, has given talks on the role of women in the Civil War, the Battle of Spotsylvania, the Overland Campaign, and the Surrender at Appomattox. He serves as the president of the board of trustees of the Potsdam Museum. The Brown Bag Lunch Series is a popular lunch time lecture series dedicated to the memory of Patricia Harrington Carson, who founded the series during her 24 years as a Trustee of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association. Pat Carson was active on numerous SLCHA Committees, and was an article writer and an issue editor of the SLCHA’s history journal, The Quarterly. The St. Lawrence County Historical Association at the Silas Wright House is normally open Tuesday through Saturday noon to 4 p.m., Friday noon to 8 p.m. Admission to the museum is free; admission to the archives is free for members and children, $2.50 for college students, and $5 for the general public. The St. Lawrence County Historical Association is located at 3 E. Main St., Canton. Parking is available behind the SLCHA, next to the museum’s main entrance. The St. Lawrence County Historical Association is a membership organization open to anyone interested in St. Lawrence County history. For more information, or to become a member, call the SLCHA at 315-386-8133 or e-mail The Brown Bag Lunch program is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Visit the SLCHA’s website,, for more information on St. Lawrence County history.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Out on a limb: Helpful tips if your genealogy search takes you to New York

If your genealogical searches take you to even the smallest communities in the state of New York, rejoice. You’ll have a knowledgeable friend to help you. Thanks to a far-sighted government policy, every community in that state has an appointed historian. This unique system is overseen by the Office of the State Historian and includes 1,640 historians, generally based in their towns’ libraries. Click here to read more of Tom Mooney's article.

FYI Genealogists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The St. Lawrence Valley Genealogical Society [SLVGS] and the St. Lawrence County Historical Association [SLCHA] are sponsoring an opportunity for SLVGS members, and others, to become acquainted with the research room of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association at 3 E. Main St., Canton [the Silas Wright House “Red Barn” addition]. This will be an "open-house" type meeting beginning at 10 am, Saturday, March 4. An extra-special plus, we will be introducing the latest genealogy-related collection at SLCHA – records of the Alcoa 25-year club going back over 60 years, up to 2008. Many of these records contain a considerable amount of family data. A number of experienced genealogy researchers will be on hand to answer questions, and assist attendees with their research. Those arriving in the morning will have the opportunity to continue to use the research facilities until 4 p.m, with the usual $5 research fee for non-members waived. At 11 a.m, Norm Young will talk about on-line newspaper searching, and using Adobe Acrobat Reader in conjunction with such research. Contact SLCHA with any questions on this event, at 315-386-8133.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

J.L. O'Connor Cigar Company

While digging through a file cabinet the other day I found this photo which shows the J.L. O'Connor Cigar Company in about 1972. It was located at 2 Ford St. in Ogdensburg. The business began in 1906 with Canadian born J.L. O'Connor as a founder of the business. The building was demolished during Urban Renewal. #ogdensburghistory

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Jock's Restaurant

I found another photo in my office the other day...Jock's Restaurant was located between 316 and 320 North Water Street. This photo shows it in 1972 prior to Urban Renewal when the building was demolished. #ogdensburghistory

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Strollin' Down State Street: the Virtual Tour

The snow may be blowing, but you can still take a "virtual" walk down State Street. This tour was funded by the Sweetgrass Foundation. Click here to start your tour. #ogdensburghistory

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Dr. Mary Bryan

Dr. Mary Bryan became a physician at a time when women were still struggling to get the right to vote and certainly were not encouraged to attend college, let alone take up a profession. She was born in 1854 in Lisbon, NY the daughter of Miles and Sarah Martin Bryan. The family moved to Ogdensburg by 1863, residing on Greene St. She attended public schools, then taught in city schools for 9 years.

In 1883 she resigned her teaching position to enter the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia, receiving her medical degree in 1887. After practicing in Colorado Springs a short time, she went to New York City to become house physician in the Methodist Deaconess home.

After two years, she went to India as a missionary and for the next 6 years she had charge of a women’s hospital at Bareilly, a town located on the Ramganga River in India. Reportedly she treated 16,500 people annually. (Missionaries reported that 2.5 million people lived in the district.) While there she saved the life of the Queen’s 4 year old son. The Queen offered her the position of private physician in her household, which included a retinue of servants, a camel and summer and winter homes. Due to ill health, Dr. Bryan did not accept the offer, returning to the United States in 1897. The Queen contacted her again, but Dr. Bryan decided to stay in the United States. She returned to Ogdensburg setting up practice at 50 Greene St. and was the physician in charge of infants at the United Helpers Home. Throughout her life she worked closely with the Society of United Helpers as a medical director. Later she moved her office to 322 Elizabeth St. Although she was a skillful surgeon, she practiced general medicine most likely because at the time female surgeons were not accepted as easily as those practicing general medicine.

Dr. Bryan became a member of the Alpha University Extension Club, which was organized in 1894 as a women’s study group. She presented a number of programs about her time in India. In 1927 she donated her entire collection of artifacts from India to the Ogdensburg Public Library, including a large ostrich egg, as well as, medical books. She also donated a large number of books to the Lisbon Hepburn Public Library. Dr. Bryan retired from practice in 1929. After suffering a stroke, she passed away in August of 1931 leaving behind a legacy of healing and trailblazing a path for women in the medical profession.

Ogdensburg Public Library

United Helpers
Cinnamon Alberto and Lori Smithers

Jewel Lacomb

Woman’s Missionary Friend Vols 30 and 31

New York State Journal of Medicine Vols 13 and 14

The Double Cross and Medical Missionary Record (1900) vols 3-7, 15

Northwestern Christian Advocate (1897) vol 45

Annual Report: Methodist Episcopal Church Missionary Society (1898)

Photos: Drexel University Library

Women’s Medical College of Philadelphia:

Ogdensburg Public Library:

The Republican-journal., June 10, 1920, Page 8, Image 8

The Republican-journal., October 03, 1927, Page 10, Image 10