New York National Guard pulls detachment from city’s historic building

The New York State Armory, 225 Elizabeth St., Ogdensburg, had been the home of the New York National Guard since the early 1900s. A recent decision to consolidate armories in the state has left Ogdensburg’s vacant. Matt Curatolo/Watertown Daily Times

OGDENSBURG — New York’s National Guard has pulled out of the historic New York State Armory, 225 Elizabeth St., leaving it vacant.

The armory had been the home of a detachment from the 108th Infantry Regiment, most recently consisting of roughly 30 members of the National Guard, according to New York National Guard spokesman Eric D. Durr.

“Last week, the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs officially notified the Office of General Services (OGS) that the Ogdensburg Armory is no longer required for our military purposes and we plan to declare the Armory as excess,” Mr. Durr said. “Up until eight months ago, we had a detachment of the 108th Infantry Regiment that was drilling at the Ogdensburg Armory”

The New York National Guard has two infantry battalions — the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry and the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, according to Mr. Durr. He said the decision was based on consolidations and cost effectiveness between those infantry battalions.

The detachment of soldiers that had been in Ogdensburg were relocated.

“We’ve consolidated and tried to rationalize where we need people and try to be cost effective,” Mr. Durr said. “That detachment has been relocated to the Morrisonville Armory, which is also part of the 108th Infantry Regiment. Those soldiers are now drilling there. It’s part of a larger reshuffle of our infantry assets.”

In an email responding to a request for comment, Joseph A. Brill, OGS public information officer, wrote that the Armory property is owned by the state and the state Division of Military and Naval Affairs will “continue to be responsible for maintaining the armory until a closing with a new owner occurs.”

“OGS only takes jurisdiction of the property to administer its transfer to a new owner,” stated Mr. Brill, “Once OGS receives official notification that the armory has been declared surplus, OGS will first inspect and analyze the property to determine whether it could fulfill any other needs New York State might have for it. The property would be offered first to other State agencies before other options are considered to dispose of it.”

If the state does not have another use for the property, there are several options, including public auction, according to Mr. Brill.

“OGS will work with our state agency partners to consider the best possible course of action,” he said.

Another option is that the city of Ogdensburg could acquire the property.

“A municipality can acquire state surplus property, and there is more than one avenue to pursue that, including special legislation and transfer, depending on the municipality’s intended use of the property,” Mr. Brill said.

According to historical records, the city’s New York State Armory was constructed between 1897 and 1898 and it was designed by Isaac Perry, the same state architect who drew up the plans for the St. Lawrence State Hospital, now known as the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center.

The lower levels were constructed with Ogdensburg limestone taken from Nevin’s quarry on Riverside Drive, while the upper levels were made from Potsdam sandstone. It has two turrets and two large towers. Records state “the towers and turrets are battlemented. The narrow windows shaped like castle windows give the building the appearance of an old fortified chateau.”

The armory was originally built for the 40th Separate Company under Capt. Frank Chapman, who commanded 90 men.

“Since its opening in 1898, military units, draftees and volunteers have assembled here before departing for service,” records say. “The Armory is not only historically significant for its association with American military history but also in particular the history of the National Guard.”

Ogdensburg’s armory was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Recommended for you

(2) comments

harrison

Every time this state or the feds consolidate anything it's always the north country that suffers. Just once I'd like to see consolidation done without us getting the short end of the stick.

elderberry

I am sorry to hear this.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.