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410 West Gray Street
This building is a large three-story stick style structure built in 1885 for Clay W. Holmes, publisher of The Elmira Advertiser. Holmes wrote a book about Elmira's Civil War confederate prison camp in 1912 while living in this house. Right behind this house is the building which housed the Frostilla Factory, built in 1885. Frostilla was a fragrant pink skin lotion, which in the late 1800's was famous across the U.S, Canada, and Europe. When Frostilla prospered, Mr. Holmes entered the newspaper field and in 1890, became the business manager of The Advertiser. In 1896, he started the Hygela Refrigerating Company. He served as director and vice president of the Canton National Bank, president of the Chemung Valley Mutual Loan Association, first president of the Elmira Water Board, president of the Turner Electric Co., and the Elmira Board of Education. In 1936, the house was converted into apartments.
We purchased this property in 2009. Just inside its ornate front double-doors is a dramatic grand staircase, introducing intricate wood-worked motifs that can be found throughout the building. It contains eight apartments, two studios, five 1-bedrooms, and one 2-bedroom, and we've been renovating as they become available. They feature a mix of oak and white kitchen cabinetry, hardwood floors, multiple gorgeous fireplaces, ornate door and window frames, and lots of unique built-in space. The building is currently in a contract with Catholic Charities.
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