Deveaux School Historic District
Deveaux School Historic District
Deveaux School Historic District, Schoellkopf Hall (1929), June 2009
|Location||2900 Lewiston Rd., Niagara Falls, New York|
|Architect||0tis, C.H.; Et al.|
|NRHP Reference #||
|Added to NRHP||June 5, 1974|
The property was deeded in the mid-1850s as “The DeVeaux College for Orphans and Destitute Children” by Judge Samuel DeVeaux and operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York. Samuel DeVeaux was a heavy contributor to the Lockport and Niagara Railroads, also known as the Strap Railroad and was instrumental in the construction of the Whirlpool Suspension Bridge in 1847. His business dealings resulted in vast purchases of land along the Niagara River. The entire region still bears his name.
Judge DeVeaux died suddenly on August 3, 1852, and being deeply religious and a sincere believer in the benefit of education, he left a portion of his estate for the benefit of Niagara Falls and the Episcopal Diocese to establish DeVeaux College. The college was located at the northern limits of the city and opposite the Whirlpool.
DeVeaux vision of a preeminent institution of learning which would train young men in academics, trade professions and to give them an education that did not neglect religious training. For nearly 80 years course work included mandatory military training with cadets dressed in uniforms in the tradition of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. The last day of military influence on campus came was on Founder’s Day in 1950 when the uniforms were replaced by coats and ties.
Buildings on the property at one time included Van Rensselaer Hall, Monro Hall, Schoellkopf Hall, Edgewood, the Walker Residence, the Buscaglia-Castellani Art Gallery, a brick barn, boiler house and three residential homes. The 51-acre site grew to encompass a campus of nearly a dozen buildings and residences.
The first buildings constructed included Van Rensselaer Hall, built in 1855-57 and dedicated on May 20, 1857 in honor of the Rev. Dr. Maunsell Van Rensselaer, the first president of the school. Designed by Buffalo architect C. N. Otis, Van Rensselaer Hall referred to as "the college edifice". was the school's first building and consisted of the kitchen, dining room, pantries, laundry, and bathrooms on the ground level and school rooms, chapel, hospital, library, and president's rooms on the second level. The third floor contained the dormitory which accommodated about 25 boys. Additional dorms and a play room were in the attic. In 1866 the building was expanded and a new kitchen, chapel and study hall were added. This expansion was later named Patterson Hall after the second president of the school Rev. Dr. George H. Patterson.
The construction of Munro Hall in 1894 was an indication of expansion and lavish spending at Deveaux School. This new Gothic inspired building cost $18,000 and was attached to Patterson Hall. Munro's major feature was a new and bigger chapel which occupied the entire second floor. "Edgewood", the Chaplain's house, also dates to this era of expansion and was located at the southeast of the complex.
Years of decline
DeVeaux College fell on hard times as the demand for prep-school education continued to decline in the 20th century and the Episcopal Diocese ceased operations at the school and, in 1971, looked to another organization to accept the burden of taking care of the historic structures. Subsequent property owners or lessees include Niagara County, Niagara Falls, Niagara University, Board of Cooperative Educational Services, Niagara County Community College and currently New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation who christened the property DeVeaux Woods State Park.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- Cornelia E. Brooke (March 1974). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Deveaux School Historic District". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2009-06-14. See also: "Accompanying four photos".