Jack Finch, retired principal of the Myer Elementary School in Hurley and a former Kingston alderman and county legislator, peered at a picture on the wall of Scott Dutton’s meticulously designed and restored building on Canfield Street in Midtown Kingston last Saturday night. The 1940s Bob Haines photograph showed where the West Shore Line railroad crossed Broadway at street level. A small white stand at street level had a Coca-Cola sign and offered hamburgers and “hot doggies.” The stand was titled in small cursive writing: The White Pig.
“I used to work there when I was a kid,” Finch said.
Kingston had parking meters even then. In the foreground was a part of a meter.
Stephen Blauweiss, producer and director of Blauweiss Films, hosted about 200 visitors to Dutton’s premises last Saturday evening, to see the opening reception of an exhibit of Midtown street life and architecture of the 20th century. Portraying the physical details of a local time and place, it was quite a show, occupying eight galleries. Informational posters accompanied each of the subjects covered.
Blauweiss says Kingston’s present revitalization makes for an ideal opportunity to document a small town making a comeback while striving to prevent the social problems associated with gentrification. The film he is working on will be called “Kingston: Reinventing an American City.”
A former occupant of Dutton Architecture’s premises was a wholesale grocery company called Everett and Treadwell. The construction of the underpass under the railroad crossing meant that the building would no longer front directly on Broadway. I think it was later occupied a John Shults enterprise that was a subcontractor to IBM before Dutton bought it.
The energetic Blauweiss has more than one iron in the fire. This Saturday, November 4 at 8 p.m. at the Woodstock Playhouse, Blauweiss will host an evening of short films, history and live music celebrating Woodstock arts history dating back to 1902. He is working on what he says is the first comprehensive documentary solely focused on the town’s rich artistic and cultural history. At $25, tickets for “Woodstock: 100 Years of the Arts,” are available on the Woodstock Playhouse website.
Last month, Kingston’s planning board approved the first phase of Dutton’s latest project, the rehabilitation of the former Fuller Shirt factory on Pine Grove Avenue.