July 31, 2013

Vilas Home celebrates 125th anniversary

PLATTSBURGH — Residents and staff of the Vilas Home in Plattsburgh are marking the 125th anniversary of the historic building, and they want to share the celebration with the community.

The Vilas Home, located on the corner of Beekman and Cornelia streets, will be host to an open house Sunday morning with activities for family members of all ages.

“We like to think of the Vilas Home as very comfortable and very homey for our residents,” said Scott Hurlburt, administrator of the adult-living community.

“It’s like a quality piece of leather that has aged over 70 years. It has scratches and some discoloration, but that makes it all the more attractive.”


The Vilas Home was built in 1888 by Samuel F. and Harriet Vilas as a home for senior citizens who were unable to live alone. The original name was the Samuel F. Vilas Home for Aged and Infirmed Women.

“I believe that Harriet was more the driving influence behind the establishment of the Vilas Home,” Hurlburt said.

“The home was originally built to house 12 elderly women and served Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties.

“Mrs. Vilas also took in derelict women and children, and in exchange, those women took care of the elderly folk,” he added. “The building could initially accommodate 31 residents.”


Historians consider the Vilas Home a prime example of Queen Anne architecture, with its truncated hip roof, cross-gable wings, arched windows, recessed porches and shingled pillars.

The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places under the provisions of the National Historical Preservation Act of 1966.

In the 1990s, a 12-bed addition was constructed at the back of the Vilas Home, but the addition has kept the traditional quality of what Mr. and Mrs. Vilas intended when they first mused of a home for seniors in the latter years of the 1800s.

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