12 Plattekill Avenue, New Paltz

logoNew Paltz is old. We know that because it has the stone houses of Huguenot Street and the Elting Memorial Library building on Main. With this rich “stone house history” we often overlook other interesting 19th century structures in our village. Many of these still gracefully serve us in a variety of ways.

To honor those non-stone structures, I’ve chosen one address, 12 Plattekill Avenue, because it is representative of so many long-serving structures here. Though it has had a number of callings, today’s visitor to #12 is enjoying the fabulous food and baked goods of The Village Tea Room.



The house at 112 Plattekill Avenue in a 1908 post card.

The house at 112 Plattekill Avenue in a 1908 post card.



Today, the Village Tea House.

Today, the Village Tea House.



When I was growing up in the 1950s, my friend, Nancy Diemer, lived in #12’s beautiful house. She and I attended the Campus School (today called the Vandenberg Learning Center) which could be seen from Nancy’s porch. Then, too, the Matty Fairweather clan called 12 Plattekill home.



1980 the late Mattie Fairweather, electrician, holding Vanderlyn law office sign from early 1900s.

1980 the late Mattie Fairweather, electrician, holding Vanderlyn law office sign from early 1900s.



Several years ago, the house did a brief stint as a B&B, then was returned to its original purpose, a home. Its outbuilding has had a cat’s worth of lives as different commercial needs were perceived and satisfied by a diverse group of ernest entrepreneurs and professionals.

Taylor shop, law office, electrical shop, childrens’ general store, and today, The Village Tea Room Restaurant and Bakery.



The 1970s childrens "General Store."

The 1970s childrens “General Store.”



Nancy Diemer and I will attend our 50th New Paltz high school reunion in September along with many of our classmates who shared this town.

We, old townies, welcomed and appreciated the diverse people who came to add spice to our growing community. Whether lately, or years ago, many found a reason to stay and enhance this village’s charm and prosperity. Places like 12 Plattekill figure large in our memory of life in this once quieter little village.

More photos of existing New Paltz structures that were “built to last” are presented below. Can you identify them before reading the captions?





South Chestnut & Main

South Chestnut & Main: 1913 postcard showing the corner of Main Street and South Chestnut Street. The sender’s message: “This is where we are, about the spot behind the automobile in the picture.”



Main & North Front

Main & North Front: The image in this 1906 postcard shows “The Casino,” where ice cream and other treats were served in a huge room with fern and wicker decor. Dancing was on the second floor. The view of the Shawangunks, the exciting night life, and treats were very popular, bringing party-ers from as far as Poughkeepsie on the trolley. A special “night trolley” ran to bring them home on weekends. No, not a gambling casino. Trolley tracks in foreground. Building on left is a stable. The Casino is today’s P&G’s restaurant on the corner of Main and North Front Streets.



Main & North Front

Main & North Front: Blue Crane is now P&G’s Restaurant on the corner of Main Street and N. Front Street. Note the Methodist Church Steeple in center of picture, the Tamney’s New Paltz Hotel on the left and trolley tracks.



Main & Church Streets

Main & Church Streets: 1906 view of the “flatiron” Firemans Hall building corner of Main Street and Church Street. Note same steeple as pictured in the Blue Crane card. Flatiron building had the fire truck doors on the Church Street side. Other original buildings include the one on the left, now Main St. Bistro; and looking up Main Street, you can see existing shops including Jack’s Meats and Deli, and the Casino (later to become Blue Crane Inn, and is now P&Gs.)



Main & Huguenot Street

Main & Huguenot Street: 1918 image shows the base of Main Street. Buildings on right are gone and the bridge has been replaced, but the building on the left is now offices. The sign reads “Round and Flat Bottom Boats to Let” and the one on the right reads “Horton’s Ice Cream.” Tourism and fun were alway a huge part of New Paltz’s personality, opportunity and prosperity.



Old New Paltz buildings

Old New Paltz buildings: Although the post card is postmarked 1924, I think the image is slightly older. To get your bearings, you are standing on the corner of N. Chestnut and Main Streets (in front of what is now Neko’s Restaurant) and looking up Main Street. The sign on the right reads “New Paltz Olympia Ice Cream Parlor.” The building with the bay windows is still recognizable today. The trolley tracks run in the center of the street. The building just visible farthest up on the right is the Tamney Hotel, one of two buildings so named at different times, the other stands today on the corner of Wurts & Main. The building pictured was razed, replaced by a gas station, and later by Ariel Books, and now is a Starbucks.