Philmont presents plans for Historic District

PHILMONT – The village, in a project partnership with Philmont Beautification, Inc. (PBI), has released a three volume Reconnaissance Level Cultural Resources Survey and Appendices conducted and compiled by preservationist consultant Jessie Ravage. The survey was funded by the Preservation League of New York under the Preserve New York program awarded to PBI in 2019 and received funding provided by the state Department of State under the Brownfield Opportunity Program to the Village of Philmont in 2020.

“The release of this survey of Philmont’s historic buildings and mills is a major step forward for the village. I ran for elected office as mayor on a promise to work with the community to achieve continued revitalization in the village, this survey is a major step towards making good on that promise,” said Mayor Brian Johnson in a press release. “Laying the pathway to create a Village of Philmont Historic District will help property owners repair and fix their properties by using the Federal and NYS Historic Preservation Tax Credits.”

A recent Statement of Significance based on the evaluation of the survey by NYS Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation has determined the Village of Philmont is eligible to apply for the nomination of the Historic District defined by the survey boundary.

The preliminary boundary for the district incorporates most of the village. To the south, it runs across the ridge and includes both sides of Summit Street and all of Summit Lake. To the east, it includes the south side of Martindale Road and Route 217 to the village boundary. To the north, the boundary generally includes the extent of the village’s north-south streets, including Eagle, Columbia, Maple, Prospect, and Highland. To the west, the boundary runs along the western boundary of the village. The Village of Philmont Historic District includes approximately 425 resources, including the man-made Summit Lake. The early hamlet extended along Main Street, which became a turnpike in the early nineteenth century. Several mill buildings and structures associated with waterpower remain extant throughout the community. Most of the village’s residential and commercial buildings date to ca. 1870-1900, during its period of peak expansion. A few central commercial and institutional buildings in the center of the community and residences near the edges date to the first half of the century, reflecting both the village’s physical maturation and the relative stability of the factory town during that period.

“There has been a considerable excitement in the community about this survey in the works since the fall of 2019,” said Sally Baker, co/founder and executive director of PBI, “it gathered a lot of community support, and we hope it will generate many conversations and continued community participation with PBI going forward towards a potential Nomination for a Village of Philmont Historic District.”

The Cultural Resources Survey and 2 volume Appendices are available at the Philmont Village Office for viewing during normal office hours Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Philmont Library for library check-out, and electronic versions can be accessed online on both websites, and on PBI’s site. Copies of just the survey volume are available for purchase for $20 at the Village Office and the Philmont Library.

An informational online presentation will be hosted by Philmont Beautification, Inc., as a free Zoom webinar on June 24 at 7 p.m. to facilitate community discussions of the Cultural Resources Survey, and how it can lead to creating a Historic District. It will consist of two speakers and a community Q&A aimed at starting the conversation to build consensus to create a Historic District.

“Philmont’s History & Survey” presented by Ms. Ravage. The presentation will cover Ms. Ravage’s experience of assembling the Cultural Resources Survey, the history of Philmont as a mill town, and her recommendations for creating a Village of Philmont Historic District.

“Creating a Village of Philmont Historic District” presented by Jennifer Betsworth, a Historic Preservation Program Analyst at NYS Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. Ms. Betsworth will present a high level presentation of the process involved in creating a Historic District, what a National Register nomination entails, a review of the preservation tax credit programs available to property owners, address some of the misconceptions about what a Historic District is and is not, and how the preservation tax credits can assist property owners with repairs to their properties – both interior and exterior.

The link to register for the PBI Zoom presentation is posted at and provided on various local social media platforms.

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