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The Building

From Store to Museum

Trace the history of the museum building from 1812 to the present

The Old Stone Store

The museum building stands on a lot that was part of the Canadian and Nova Scotia Refugee Tract, which was set aside by the State of New York for Canadian sympathizers who participated in the American Revolution. Lot 172 was granted to Jacob Van der Hayden in 1790, and in 1803 he sold eighty acres to Seth Graves.


Benjamin Wait was the next owner of the property and operated a store at this location. He in turn sold part of the land to Ebenezer Ascher Scott, who constructed a one-story stone dwelling and store around 1812. In 1824, two upper floors were added, the third floor being a single large room with a vaulted ceiling which was used by the members of Harmony Lodge No. 1, Chazy’s first Masonic lodge, for their meetings.


Ebenezer Scott left Chazy for California in 1850. The structure was used by a number of other local merchants over the years and briefly served as the town post office in the early 1870s. James Philander Forbes, a cabinetmaker, casketmaker, and undertaker, operated his business there from around 1880 until his death in 1907. Some years later, the building was purchased by Clarence H. Jones, operator of the Chazy Marble Lime Works, who intended to turn it into apartments for his employees. But before this plan was carried out, in June 1916, Alice and William Miner purchased the property, along with the adjoining lot to the south. Additional structures on the site were razed, and construction on the Old Stone Store began in 1923.

The building known as the “Old Stone Store” had many lives before being turned into the Alice T. Miner Museum.
Photograph, labeled “Scott’s Store, now Colonial Home”; ca. 1916
Photograph labeled “1917 – Old Stone Store, Chazy N.Y.”
Colonial Home from the southwest, ca. 1926
Colonial Home, north side, ca. 1926

The Colonial Home

Architect Frederick B. Townsend of Chicago was tasked with designing a new structure that would incorporate the existing building while also enlarging it to accommodate Alice’s growing collection. Townsend’s new design more than doubled the size of the Old Stone Store by building an addition that extends east and north from the main block and raising the roof to create a taller third story. A basement was created for the new building by blasting through solid rock.

The stones of the old building were loosened, removed, and reset in cement to construct the main block of the new structure. Additional stone was acquired from the home of Dr. Solomon N. Fisk, which had burned down in 1869, and from a disused starch factory on Stratton Hill Road. New stone was also quarried from the Buckman farm on Route 9.

The ceiling joists from the store were removed and used as decorative timbers in the Colonial Kitchen. The south door was purchased from the home of Harry Sanger in Beekmantown, and the west door (the Museum’s main entrance) came from the home of Isaac Goodwin in Worcester, Massachusetts. The sidelights of both doors contain bullseye glass, manufactured in Redford, New York between 1831 and 1851. The remaining doors, cabinets, trim, and all other woodwork were made by A. Mason & Sons Lumber Mill in Peru. Because of concerns about fire, this was the only wood used in construction. Local mason Aaron DeGregory built the fireplaces, stone lintels and sills, fences, front steps, and chimneys. The floors are concrete and the walls are layers of tile coated in plaster; the roof is copper. Although it was built as a museum, the plan of the Colonial Home–as its name suggests–is typical of early 20th century Colonial Revival residential architecture. Its symmetrical facade with double-hung wood sash windows, central door with overhead fanlight, and columned portico are all characteristic of Colonial Revival exteriors. Inside, there is a central hall with a formal dining room and parlor on either side, while the service areas (kitchen and weaving room) are at the back of the house. An open stairway leads to the second and third floors, where the bedrooms, library, and ballroom are located.

Colonial Kitchen, 1926
Parlor, 1926
The Alice T. Miner Museum as it appears today
The Lincoln Library

The Museum Today

The museum today looks very much as it did during Alice Miner’s lifetime. A new copper roof was installed in 2002; this is the only major structural change that has been made to the building.


There have been some cosmetic changes: most of the original wallpaper was removed sometime in the 1950s or 60s, leaving only the ballroom with the original wall treatment from 1924.


The midcentury wallpaper is gradually being phased out in favor of painted walls. The rugs and light fixtures are original pieces purchased by Alice Miner at Marshall Field’s department store in Chicago.

Over the years,curators have made some changes to the arrangement of furniture and other pieces, but the contents of each room are more or less the same as they were in Alice’s day. The museum thus provides a unique window into the Colonial Revival aesthetic of the early 20th century.


The Alice T. Miner Museum was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.

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