Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Gallery, 40 North Main Street

The building at 40 North Main Street was constructed sometime in the 1830’s and was occupied by the Woolworth and Sadler families for many years. The house was then owned by Darwin Maxson, an abolitionist and professor at both Alfred Academy and Alfred University at various times between 1849 and 1862. The house became a station on the Underground Railroad where slaves were hidden until a route to freedom could be arranged for them.

In 1955, Glidden Parker purchased the property and opened Glidden Galleries. The shop, which was originally started on the basis of pottery, quickly expanded to gifts and decorative accessories from local craftsmen and from around the world.

In 1972, Karney R. Cochran purchased the property. His daughter renamed it The Gallery, and operated the business for 6 years until E.W. Crandall & Son, Inc. purchased it in 1978. Faith Palmer, Vice President of E.W. Crandall & Son, Inc., took over full responsibility of The Gallery in 1979. Since that time, the second floor, which had previously housed an apartment, was renovated to allow for additional selling space and a spiral staircase was added to allow access to that space. Faith Palmer owned the shop until recently.

The property at 40 North Main Street in Alfred is currently in a transition state. The Gallery gift shop, most recently managed by Amanda Burns, has recently closed its doors after 37 years.

(to be continued)

Work Cited

The Alfred Historical Society and Baker’s Bridge Association. History of Alfred, New York. Dallas: Curtis Media Corporation, 1990.


  1. The building that once housed The Gallery would be another great addition to the map based on transformation. Going from a house to an Underground Railroad station to a gift shop to the recently opened liquor store, it has seen many changes. While the structure hasn't changed all that much, the context of the building has changed dramatically. It is interesting to note the change in visitors as well. First as a home, family and friends occupied the space. As an Underground Railroad, slaves found a safe haven in their travels. As The Gallery visitors came looking for unique gifts and local crafts, bringing in Alfred community members, parents, and the occasional student looking for a gift, etc. Now as a liquor store it attracts many more students than before. It is now a staple in a typical students life, whereas before it was less visited by the average student. This is a little difficult to map since the changes are more contextual versus physical, however it is still an important transformation to note.

  2. Why did the gallery close? Since the liquor store only occupies half of the building, what will happen with the other half?

  3. The Gallery gift store that was located in the building on 43 North Main Street, closed its doors after the current owner Faith Palmer decided to retire. The business was for sale, and had several interested parties; however, after the economic downturn in late 2008 many of those who were interested lost their sources of investment money.

    Faith and Jim Palmer wanted to relocate permanently to a warmer area of the country, and I wanted to pursue a different career path.....therefore the difficult decision was made to close.

    I loved welcoming all of the local residents, students and visitors to Alfred. The Gallery was truly a wonderful place in Alfred, and I do miss it terribly.

    However, since the store has closed I was able to dedicate this past spring to writing a grant for the Village of Alfred as part of an internship through the Technology Management Program at Alfred State College. Just last week I found out that the grant was successful, and the Village has been awarded $325,000 to help revitalize our Main Street Business District.

    I would also like to mention that you can still purchase wonderful gifts in Alfred Station. (there are 10 retail shops in Alfred Station...)