303 W. Church Street

Year Built:

This house was built in 1850 as the Hall Family Homestead. The Halls were early settlers in the Chemung Valley. Fred and Robert Hall owned and operated Hall Brothers Booksellers & Stationers. Francis Hall was briefly the U.S. Consul to Japan, Mayor of the Village of Elmira from 1852-1860, was instrumental in the establishment of the Steele Memorial Library, Arnot Medical Center, and was noted for his philanthropies. In 1916, the Ithaca based architectural firm of Gibb and Waltz redesigned the facade of the building, resulting in the present Tudor Style of the house. The Hall Family owned the property until it was sold to Dr. Thomas Burke in 1926. Since 1937, the building has housed various professional offices, retail and commercial business, and individual apartments.

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360 W. Church Street

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This classic Queen Anne style house was built in 1876 for Elijah Smith. In 1895, it was sold to Charles Jones, who operated a livery and boarding stable at the property. The house was occupied by various local business owners until 1935 when it was divided into apartments.

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378 W. Church Street

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This exquisite Georgian mansion was designed by Pierce & Bickford architects in 1898 for Mrs. Kate M. Gillett, widow of Solomon L. Gillett. Mr. Gillett was a prominent banker and industrialist who came to Elmira in the 1830's from Colchester, Connecticut. His career began as a clerk in a general store and graduated to become a partner with Joshua B. Wheeler. By the 1840's, Gillett was the land commissioner and assistant treasurer of the Elmira Williamsport Railroad. He later became treasurer of the Elmira, Canandaigua, & Niagara Falls Railroad, and vice president of Chemung Canal bank. In the 1850's Gillett served as the Village President of Elmira. He Invested in Elmira's Civil War prosperity by being among the first stockholders in the Elmira Woolen Mills, and the Elmira Rolling Mill. He also donated $10,000 to Elmira College for the construction of a music hall. Gillett died in 1893, and his second wife Kate has the house built in 1898, where she lived until her death in 1923. In 1924, Frank L. Benson, M.D. made the house his residence and office. In 1929, the house was sold to Dennis J. Reagan, owner of Walsh & Reagan Furniture & Carpets. In 1945, the house was converted to offices for five doctors.

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463 W. Church Street

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This modest Italianate house was built in 1865 for the Swan Family, who owned the property for 140 years, right up to 2005. The Swan Insurance Firm was founded by Charles Swan in 1853. This home was their private residence until 1960, when it was converted to an apartment and a law office.

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