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White Creek Historic District

White Creek Town, Washington County, NY

The White Creek Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Portions of the content of this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1]

The White Creek historic district encompasses twenty-two individual properties clustered around the intersections of Byars and Niles Roads and County Route 68. The hamlet of White Creek is situated at the extreme southeastern corner of Washington County near the New York-Vermont border. The topography surrounding White Creek Historic District is characterized by agricultural lands and wooded hills.

Included within the district are structures representing a variety of functions and styles spanning the period from 1770 to 1885. The typical structure in the White Creek Historic District is timber framed, clapboard sheathed, and covered by a gable roof of shingle or slate. The buildings are similar in scale, and nearly all are rural adaptations of architectural forms popular during their respective periods of construction. The principal style found in the district is the Greek Revival, though examples of the half-house and shed-roofed dwellings of the eighteenth century, Federal-style residences, and two Queen Anne-style buildings of the late nineteenth century also contribute to the architectural variety. The architectural integrity of the White Creek Historic District is interrupted at only two locations by modern residences.

Though the district is predominantly residential, it also contains several rare surviving examples of Greek Revival-style commercial buildings, including a hotel/tavern, a general store, and a harness shop which now serves as the community fire station. These structures contribute to a sense of vitality in the crossroads hamlet.

The White Creek Historic District is a significant cluster of individual properties which illustrate the historical development of architectural styles in rural Washington County. Settled by Quakers during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, White Creek remained a prosperous farming community and seat of local commerce throughout the nineteenth century. With its wealth of Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival, and Queen Anne style architecture, the White Creek Historic District reflects the tastes of a rural New York hamlet as they changed over more than a century.

Settlement in the town of "White Creek began after the granting of the Cambridge Patent in 1761. The first settlers in the present hamlet of White Creek were Quakers. John Allen built the first permanent residence in 1770, a house which remains as the best-preserved structure surviving from the eighteenth century in White Creek. The Cornell House and the Christopher Allen House (both built 1792) also survive from the colonial period, reflecting a rich variety of house styles. According to local tradition, the Christopher Allen House was operated as a tavern, and its ballroom also served as a temporary hospital for wounded from the nearby Battle of Waloomsac [Bennington] in 1777.

White Creek became a center of regional commerce late in the eighteenth century, and local prosperity reached its high point during the 1840's. Among the most interesting and important of White Creek's historic buildings are its commercial structures. The hotel and tavern, the harness shop, and the unusual three-story Dyer Sisson general store are outstanding, rare Greek Revival-style rural commercial buildings whose presence in the historic district contribute to a fuller understanding of life in White Creek during the nineteenth century. The businesses housed in these and other White Creek structures prospered, enabling owners to build comfortable homes along the streets of the hamlet. Most of these residences survive within the present district, and their stylistic treatment illustrates the relationship between wealth and taste in White Creek from the 1780's to the 1880's.

The fortunes of White Creek declined as transportation changes passed the community by. The effect of these changes was de facto preservation of a significant concentration of historic architecture in a rural settling nearly free of modern intrusions. The quality and variety of buildings within the hamlet make the White Creek Historic District a significant and unusual community deserving attention and sensitive preservation and protection.

  1. Smith, Raymond W., NY State Office of Parks and Recreation, White Creek Historic District, Washington County NY, 1978, nomination document, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Street Names
Meeting House Road • Niles Road • Route 68 • White Creek Road

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