August 1990

 
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The Little Greek Temple

of Montour Falls

by

Louise V. Stillman

Situated on the corner of Main and Genesee Streets, in the center of the Montour Falls Historic District, is a small brick building in the Greek temple style. This landmark building is presently the law office of Cameron Argetsinger. It was constructed in 1854 to be the Schuyler County Clerk's office, and represents a memorable period in the County's history.

This brick structure flanks on one side the Village Hall that was built in 1855 to be the Schuyler County Courthouse. On the opposite side of the Village Hall is the Memorial Library. The designers of these three buildings, Gillespie and Coryell, achieved a strong sense of architectural unity by placing the courthouse with its white cupola and two-story portico between the two one-story buildings. Each of these lower structures have four-column porticos facing forward as does the portico of the central building, but they also have side porticos facing outwards onto side streets. Both have L-shaped plans that are nearly mirror images of the other. The slight variations add interest to these two dependencies of the Village Hall.

Four one-story-high columns laid up of curved bricks, with Doric capitals above, support each pediment of the four porticos. The entablature and pediments are all of the same pink brick.

The building rests on large hand-cut stones. The wood framing within the building is all of post and beam construction, handhewn and pegged together with wood pins. The original woodwork exists throughout. There have been few structural changes; a kitchen area was added in one wing years ago. In another small wing can be seen the original fireproof vault which provided safety for the county records when it was the Schuyler County Clerk's Office.

The building was deeded to St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Montour Falls in 1924 by Willis and Elizabeth Hopkins, and for many years it was used for church activities. In 1968 it was purchased by attorney Archie Lape for an office. Cameron P. Argetsinger formed a firm with Mr. Lape, and it is now the office of Mr. Argetsinger.

Louise V. Stillman
 
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