Port Henry The town of Moriah hopes to make improvements to a pair of historic buildings.
The town is seeking a grant from the Department of New York State Parks and Recreation to refurbish the town hall and adjacent Iron Center museum. Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We (town officials) have a responsibility to care for these buildings, but money is always an issue,” Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. “We’re submitting a grant application and hope we are approved.”
The town hall, located at Park Place in Port Henry, is the former headquarters of the Witherbee & Sherman Mining Co. Next to it is the Iron Center, the former Witherbee & Sherman carriage house.
Town government offices and other agencies are now located in the town hall, while the Iron Center is home to the Moriah Historical Society and its museum.
“Moriah’s town hall borrows heavily from the traditions of European history while being very much of its time and place in the New World,” according to a profile completed by the historical society. “Next door, the old, Italianate style carriage house was designed to resemble a 17th century Italian villa. Yet, it was used as a mineral testing laboratory—a very advanced use of technology for the time.”
If Moriah can secure grant money, officials hope to change the town hall’s handicap access, widen doors and install a handicap-accessible rest room.
Plans also call for the building’s original, ornate doors to be restored, for a windows to be replaced by decorative windows that were originally part of the structure and for painting.
“During the summer you can’t believe the number of people who stop just to take pictures of the (town hall) building,” Scozzafava said. “The original doors are beautiful, mahogany. They’ll change the appearance of the entire building. The original windows, which were removed to conserve energy, have rounded tops and are much larger than the ones here now.”
Work to the Iron Center would include installing handicap access to the upstairs research area, painting, rebuilding its entry doors and replacing the gutter system.
“These are beautiful buildings owned by the people of Moriah,” Scozzafava said. “We can’t let these great resources just fall apart.”