GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Whether you know it or not, if you’ve spent time at City Park in Glens Falls, you know 20 Maple St. The two-story brick building has spent years as the host of a Morgan Stanley office, situated alongside the Queensbury Hotel and Siam Thai Sushi. It’s a small part of Glens Falls’ face – and now, that face is getting some changes.
Last week, a cupola was lifted off the top of the building by crane. This week, new insulation has been laid in its walls. And on Monday, Peter Hoffman shone a flashlight up at a new mystery – quite literally hiding in the rafters.
“We found newspapers dated 1930 in the rafters, so we know this was capped in the 1930s,” said Hoffman, whose company – Glen Street Associates – is renovating the building. “We’re trying to figure out what that is-” pointing up at the mystery in question, a Vaudevillian image depicting a row of performers, and the cut-off face of an unidentified star.
Hoffman and his wife, Suzanne, have kept history in mind as they restore 20 Maple. The mystery print has been looked at by multiple historical societies, and work is underway to figure out exactly what it’s from, and when it would have been put there.
It’s only one bit of history out of many at the small building. Before it housed an investment management firm, 20 Maple was originally constructed in the 1800s as a livery – a type of stable. The horses who lived there were owned by Henry Crandall, the same philanthropist whose name lives on at Crandall Public Library and Crandall Park.
After that, the building became the investment firm of Spencer Trask, the man behind Yaddo Gardens in Saratoga Springs, as well as Three Brothers Island in Lake George. From then to now, much of the building’s original use was covered up – right up until the point when Morgan Stanley said they needed a change.
“To be really honest, it was crazy dated,” said Suzanne Hoffman, co-owner of Glen Street Associates. “To me, it looked like someone’s old grandmother’s house that needed a remodel. Outside it’s a darling, but inside it had been covered by drop ceilings and a lot of antiquated decoration.”
Now, Morgan Stanley has been relocated to an upper floor of the NBT Bank building at 86 Glen St., leaving the Glen Street Associates crew to work some magic. On the first floor, the building’s current door will become a window, mirroring one on the wall’s other side, and leaving room for a new, bigger door dead center. Upstairs, a hole in the roof shows where the cupola was extracted from. When it returns, it will have stained glass created by Guy Sabio, a glass artist with a studio at the Glens Falls Shirt Factory.
Uncovering the original walls means finding secrets. The crew has found hidden, boarded-up windows, some of which will be open to daylight again (others are at unsafe heights along the stairs). New window glass will be installed across the windows on both floors. Part of the second floor will be removed entirely, so that when guests enter down below, they can see a second floor of business happening, separated by a guard rail.
It’s all done with the aesthetic of the original building in mind. For the Hoffmans, that’s more than a courtesy.
“We chase it down,” said Peter. “We chase down what was.”
On the outside, new curbing has been done along the sidewalk. Fresh soil between walkway and building will be soon be home to greenery that will add to a walk down the street.
The Morgan Stanley is out for good, leaving 20 Maple in need of a new tenant. The Hoffmans have already been in conversation with multiple potential new resident businesses.