The board of the Whallonsburg Grange Hall, a nonprofit community and performing arts center in Essex, New York, is pleased to announce that it has purchased Whitcomb’s Garage in Whallonsburg, the vacant building and land directly across Whallons Bay Road from the Grange. The iconic building sits on a well-maintained 1.5-acre lot with frontage on the Boquet River. The 1950s-era garage was owned by Clarence “Narni” Whitcomb, who sold and serviced cars there until the 1990s. Mr. Whitcomb, a lifelong resident of Whallonsburg, died in 2017. The purchase was made possible through a dedicated, anonymous donation.
Whallonsburg Grange board vice-president Andy Buchanan said, “We’re very excited about the possibilities here. Although we don’t yet have a specific plan for the building and it will need renovation, we believe it can contribute to the economic revitalization of Whallonsburg and of the region. It is in a central location on Route 22 and is large enough for two or three small businesses to share the space. We want to preserve the historic structure and will work with future tenants to improve the building and make it as attractive as the Grange is now.” Buchanan pointed out that there is a large greenspace behind the garage with frontage on the Boquet River. He said, “We hope to create a play area and community space where the Grange could host outdoor events in the summer. Most importantly, local residents will be involved in all stages of developing and implementing a future for this building, which sits literally at the center of our hamlet.”
The Whallonsburg Grange Hall, built by the local Grange chapter in 1915, was renovated and restored through a ten-year-long volunteer effort. It is now open year-round as a community and performing arts center for the mid-Champlain Valley and hosts a film series, concerts, plays, lectures, and children’s activities. For more information about the Whitcomb property contact the Grange at (518) 963-7777 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.