After my post about Windfield Designs, Inc we heard from a number of you sharing stories about your own collections. Some folks have one or two, others, like Ginny Combs, have whole villages. Ginny shared on Facebook, "I have a village on top of my china closet with the Finch Pruyn Office (a Christmas gift from the company when my husband worked there) the Delong and Sisson houses and some generic Winfield houses. Also have the high school on Glen St on a table in the livingroom because it's not the same scale as the others and a small facade of Jackson Heights school where my husband and our 3 kids were students many moons ago... Love them all!"
Janet Loughrey said "My best friend worked at their store, I think it was on Ridge St.? She probably spent most of her salary on collecting these, lol. I have the Delong House, Empire Theatre, Glens Falls Home, a generic "Hometown USA" with balloons (dated 1993), and two Glens Falls City Hall, one with a working clock. None are the coin bank size; they are all flat designs."
Janet remembers correctly! Around 1994-1995 Windfield Designs had a store at 21 Ridge Street (the Backdoor Café was around, well the back) and Birch Bark Eatery is located there today. Prior to that, from about 1990-1993, Windfield Designs was at the one story brick building at 80-82 Warren Street which is currently getting a makeover. From 1987-1989 they were listed in the city directories at 20 Elm Street (The Mill). By 1996, the company was listed in the phone book at 528 Glen Street, a two story Victorian located between Coolidge & Horicon.
The collection here at the Folklife Center does not include the Delong House, City Hall, or the adorable sounding "Hometown USA with balloons" mentioned above! However, we do have a newly expanded collection thanks to patron Jessica Hatfield of South Glens Falls who donated over 30 pieces! Most are generic coin banks, a few were ones we already had, and two were delightful surprises.
One of those surprises was a music box! Our collection already included a coin bank version of Braydon & Chapman Music Store, so imagine my delight when I turned over the donated collectible to discover a knob. When turned, the song "Lara's Theme" from Doctor Zhivago (1965) begins to play. Words were added to the tune after the film, and many know it as the song "Somewhere My Love" recorded by Ray Conniff Singers, Connie Francis, Andy Williams, and others.
According to the accompanying tag, the building just south of Centennial Circle was originally designed and constructed in 1864 as a two story Italianate building for the First National Bank of Glens Falls. Royal J. Braydon and Fred Chapman leased the building in 1920 for their music store. By 1925 they had purchased the building, added a brick façade, third story with balcony, and the Braydon & Chapman name board still present on the building nearly 100 years later. The music store operated until about 1970 just five years after the business was sold to the Spain Organ Company of Latham.
The second surprise? Recipe boxes! The teal one above (donated by Jessica) has a useful ridge in the roof to hold a recipe card in place as you are using it. The white one below was in our collection already, but contained a recipe card inside for cornbread. I even made a batch on my day off.
Cornbread "Johnny bread"
2 Eggs - well beaten
1 cup sugar
2 cups milk
Pinch of salt
2 cups corn meal
2 cups white flour
3 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. melted butter - add last
Bake at 400° for 20 minutes.
(1/2 recipe for five)
According to an article in the Winter 1985 issue of Glens Falls Today, the "Culinary Institute of America commissioned them to produce a recipe card holder modeled after their main building... which is available through their alumni magazine." Neither of our recipe boxes resemble buildings on the CIA campus, so the recipe box idea must have been used on existing models. We have a mustard colored coin bank that resembles the teal recipe box, and a white clapboard coin bank that resembles the white recipe box.
Over the next few weeks I will be updating existing listings and adding the new pieces to our digital collection on New York Heritage. I am also working on a database, and planning an exhibition for early 2022.
Donations to this collection came from Jessica Hatfield (2021), Snyder/Gantz family and Erica Gonyea (2019), Todd DeGarmo, and the Friends of Crandall Public Library.
If you would like to share information about your collection to be included in the database, or to donate pieces, please call 518-792-6508 x239 or email me at email@example.com.
Art and Artifacts collection, Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library. "Model buildings: Windfield Designs, Inc." New York Heritage Digital Collections. Accessed October 9, 2021. https://nyheritage.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/crandall/id/385/rec/2
“Windfield Designs: The House That Hank Built.” Glens Falls Today 1, no. 2 (1985): 37.
Tisha Dolton is Librarian/Historian at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY. Her areas of interest are suffrage music, suffragists of Warren and Washington Counties, local women and minority populations, and embroidery.
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