Abandoned New York: Fort Edward School

Union School Building in Fort Edward, NY. Early 20th century. Click for source.

Union School Building in Fort Edward, NY. Early 20th century. Click for source.

The Village of Fort Edward is located on US Route 4 between Hudson Falls and Glens Falls in Washington County, NY. The Hudson River forms the western boundary of the town, and Delaware and Hudson Railroad (now the Canadian Pacific Railway) runs through town. Historically, Fort Edward was known for being a portage between the Hudson River and the Champlain Canal. You wouldn’t know it today, but Fort Edward was once the third largest city in North American after Boston and New York City (18th century).

In the 19th century, paper mills, foundries, and sawmills sustained Fort Edward’s economy. Some companies included International Paper, Marinette Paper Company (bought out by Scott Paper Company then by Kimberly Clark), then Irving Tissue. Read more history at Lakes to Locks. General Electric (GE) opened a plant in 1942 to produce selsyn motors during WWII, and post war produced building capacitors. The plant closed in 2013 when operations relocated to Florida for cheaper labor. (Unfortunately, GE polluted the water and air in Fort Edward for decades.)

You can see the former prosperity of Fort Edward as you drive through the village. Due to the suffering economy and other typical factors of the late 20th century, finding an abandoned school was not surprising.

Fort Edward School, 1915. Click for source. (And thanks to Suzasippi for sending the image!)

Fort Edward School, 1915. Click for source. (And thanks to Suzasippi for sending the image!) Note that in this postcard image you can see the adjacent buildings (still standing).

Built as Union School, the building housed the grammar school and the high school until 1923, when the new high school was completed. Later known as the Florence E. Powers School, it housed the elementary school until a new elementary school wing was added to the high school in 1970.

Agway occupied the building until it moved further up Main Street, and since then it appears that the building has sat empty, decaying, and in need of major repairs soon. Take a look around with me.

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Changes to the Union School: Corrugated metal façade and paved up the to the foundation.

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Union / Powers School.

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Altered windows, boarded up windows, and soffits in need of repair.

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Agway ghost signs. The corrugated metal will make you cringe, knowing that it covers the historic windows beneath.

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Neglect is evident in the brickwork.

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The holes in the roof need to be repaired in order to save this building!

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Another view of the side. Look at the brick detail!

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Through the front door.

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Adjacent to the school – an old freight depot perhaps?

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Another freight building / storage building.

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The entire complex is abandoned.

Internet searching revealed little, other than as of 2013, the Renaissance Plan for Fort Edward included a plan to develop the Agway Complex into a multi-use complex. Hopefully that comes to fruition.

Readers, what do you know about this Fort Edward school? I’d love to hear more.

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18 thoughts on “Abandoned New York: Fort Edward School

    • Mary Ellen Barlow says:

      This building is NOT abandoned!! There is a business in it where people go to work everyday. I am a lifelong Fort Edward resident and have lived in my home since 1953, when my parents bought it. The Powers School was my elementary school and, even back then (1956), the third floor was off-limits. It’seems a wonderful building, though I wish it had been restored instead covering things up. I can still see the “cloakrooms” and huge chalkboards. Fond memories of the Powers School.

    • Dan Hurlburt says:

      When I was kid it had barrels of old pool balls all throughout the building and grounds. It was off limits then(1985-95). For more information you can try the village historian, Paul McCarty. The village clerks office number is (518)-747-4023. You could get Paul’s phone number through them. I grew up in Fort Edward and my family still lives there. Fort Edward is a great little town that could use some good press.

        • Scott M Fisher says:

          I remember all the buckets of pool balls there were 50gal drums full of them that was when i was in high school in 2000 ,we used to cut through there all the time

          • Len says:

            According to a Google search Hyatt Ball Co, Fort Edward NY shows that are still in business and employ about 7 people at the School St location. They apparently make ball bearings and pool balls.

  1. Andrew Smith says:

    At one point this was also a billiard ball factory (back by the out buildings there’s still an open pit with defect billiards in it). I believe that was more recent than Agway, but I could be mistaken. My father attended ‘the Power School’ as he calls it in the mid 50’s. both of my parents are lifelong residents and may have more info. We also have a town historian in FE – he’s really good if you reach out via email.

  2. Josh Fisher says:

    We used to play in there as kids in the 90s, the lot was filled with 50 gallon drums of billard balls. Not sure why they were there? You can imagine the fun 12 yr. old boys can have with unlimited pool balls!! My father went to elementary school there in the 50s.

  3. Len says:

    About 8 years ago there was a company that made paint for the military that was in a part of the building. The paint was used on Subs and was almost like Teflon when it dried, water ran off immediately and nothing would stick to it. . At that time Bob Barber (North American Recycling, Cara Fibers) operated out of here. I am pretty sure he stored his many goodies here am not sure but it would not surprise me if he still owns it.

  4. Pamela Blake LaFontaine says:

    The pool ball business is still there I think the other abandoned buildings were Agway. It was rented out by some contractor business. The building is in disrepair but I think it would be too expensive to repair. It will probably be demolished in a few years. I went to school there K-4th grade. My family home was right out front on Broadway. It was a great playground for us.

  5. Patricia Bruce Henry says:

    Went to elementary school there. Ann Wagner was the Principal. Also remember Miss Wrigley the kindergarten teacher, Miss Bowe first grade teacher, Mrs Matochik, Putt Lemay physical ed instructor,Miss Etu the music teacher and Miss Harmon the art teacher. Remember the closeness of the children that went there and fun times on the playground. Remember head checks in the cloakrooms and waiting to see who didn’t come back to class. Lol.

  6. James Mandolare says:

    I was the last class to go to fifth grade at “Powers” school. 1969. I had Ms. Bowe (1), Ms. Waters, (2) Ms. Donovan (3), Ms. Wagner (4) (also the principal), and Ms. Hicky (5). My father had some of the same teachers when he went there in the 1930-40’s!

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