The Hunt Memorial Building

The Hunt Memorial Building in Ellenville, NY, is a historical landmark with a rich legacy dating back to its inception in 1917. This neoclassical structure was built with funds from John R. Hunt, a local philanthropist, intended as the local headquarters for the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Frank Estabrook, a noted architect from Newburgh, designed the building to serve dual functions: to offer rented office spaces generating income, and to act as a community center for public use.

Throughout the mid-20th century, the Hunt Memorial Building remained a cornerstone of Ellenville’s downtown scene, alongside the post office and the Wayside Inn. Over the years, it hosted various tenants, including a community newspaper, a sustainable wood and forestry products company, and a stuffed toy factory. Despite this, the building faced structural challenges and urban decline, reflecting the broader economic struggles of the region.

In the 1990s, the building faced further challenges when it lost its major tenants. Efforts by subsequent owners to revitalize it were unsuccessful until local preservationists formed the Hunt Memorial Preservation Committee. Their goal was to restore the building’s historical and architectural significance.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, the Hunt Memorial Building is a symbol of Ellenville’s heritage. It’s part of the Ellenville Downtown Historic District, and efforts to restore it involve a combination of public and private funding. The building continues to play an active role in the community, hosting major events like festivals, races, and art shows. Its ongoing restoration reflects the community’s commitment to preserving its rich historical legacy and contributing to the downtown’s revival.