Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the Old Stone Barracks important? The Old Stone Barracks has been a part of the long and important military history of the North Country ever since it was completed in 1843. It has housed Army infantry and artillery units, been a hospital, headquarters for the band, seen troops muster and train for the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. It was part of an innovative college and part of the Plattsburgh Air Base facility. It is the oldest extant structure on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base, which is itself historically notable as the most long-standing combat-ready, military installation in the United States. The Barracks is also one of the last remaining examples of the first generation of permanent U.S. Army barracks in existence in the United States.
What was the Crisis? In 2010 a Montreal developer purchased the Barracks property and proposed a massive apartment complex on the seven acre site. The community quickly rose up in shock and anger and, to his great credit, the owner withdrew his proposal but, by eventually putting the property back on the open market, the threat remains that it could be inappropriately developed and that the building and the open space around it could be lost to the community forever.
Who are the Friends of the Old Stone Barracks? Out of this crisis, a group of people quietly came together to create the Friends of the Old Stone Barracks, which is chartered by New York State as a nonprofit organization and has Federal tax-exempt status as a 501(c)3 corporation. The Friends' mission is to secure the highest and best use of Plattsburgh's Old Stone Barracks by obtaining the property, engaging the community in a discussion about its future, and ensuring the appropriate adaptive reuse of the Barracks.
What was the Urgency? In order to acquire the property, to ensure its preservation and appropriate adaptive reuse, The Friends needed to raise $225,000 by December 1, 2014. This deadline allowed less than six months to raise the funds after signing the purchase agreement.
Was The Friends successful? During the month of September, The Friends held a series of public forums to hear project proposals and to engage the community in a discussion about the future of the barracks. Resulting from the proposals, The Friends came to an agreement with the proprietors of Valcour Brewing Company to assign the contract to purchase the Old Stone Barracks to them. Since then, Valcour Brewing Company has closed on the property, enabling them to begin undertaking their extraordinary plan to both preserve the Barracks and to transform the building into a craft brewery, tasting room, events space, and inn, all of which will have very positive economic and cultural impacts on the region.
Why Should I Donate to The Friends if the barracks has been purchased? With this success, we’re now turning our attention to the second part of our overall goal as outlined in our original case statement: “uses (of) the building and site for public education and inspiration.” To that end, The Friends is working to establish a public interpretive heritage trail through the Old Stone Barracks property. The walking trail will provide an educational experience through which people can learn about the history and importance of the Barracks and the rich military history of the Champlain Valley. Our ability to build this trail is part of our agreement with Valcour Brewing Company and it will be funded using the donations we have received and will continue to receive from people like you. We hope that our donors recognize the importance of an interpretive trail to perpetuate future visitors’ appreciation of the historic nature of the property.