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Chatham Union Station

Location: Chatham, New York

Original Architects: Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge

Period: 1887

National Register of Historic Places

Completed in 1887 for the Boston & Albany Railroad Company and designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge (successors to H.H. Richardson), Chatham Union Station features a bell-cast hipped roof and masonry walls of light granite with brownstone trim; the trademarks of Richardson.  Significant alterations were made to the building after a severe fire in 1906; most notably the loss of the articulated structural ceiling in the central waiting room, which was re-framed and covered with a beaded board.  Passenger service ceased in 1972 followed by a long period of neglect.  In 1997, the building was purchased by the Village of Chatham.  By then, the central portion of the main roof was in danger of collapse and immediately shored. That same year, the National Union Bank of Kinderhook acquired the station from the Village for adaptive use as a banking facility. MCWB performed full services from design through construction administration.  The firm also prepared the Historic Preservation Certification Application for the National Park Service to qualify the restoration of Chatham Union Station for preservation tax credits.


The Chatham Union Station project included complete restoration and renovation of the exterior and interior. Exterior restoration included replacement of the central portion of the roof framing structure, replacement of the slate roof, restoration of windows and doors, cleaning and re-pointing of granite and brownstone masonry walls, and repair and replacement of wood trim and canopy elements. Interior work included reconfiguration of walls in secondary spaces to accommodate banking functions, stripping and refinishing of original quarter-sawn white oak wall paneling, restoration of the original articulated ceiling system lost in the 1906 fire, design of period decorative lighting fixtures, and selection of decorative carpeting and drapery fabrics. Custom designed period furniture and millwork including desks, conference table and teller stations were also a part of the interior work. In addition, all new mechanical and electrical systems were provided and designed to be visually integrated with the historic fabric of the interior.


This project represents a model for adaptive use of historic buildings, and was awarded The New York State Historic Preservation Award by The State Historic Preservation Office for Outstanding Rehabilitation.

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