Thursday, June 7, 2012

Arsenal Green in Malone

Arsenal Green, the swath of park between Main and Elm Streets in the center of the village of Malone, dates from the earliest years of Malone's settled history.  Set aside for the construction of an arsenal to help protect the area from a  British invasion during the War of 1812, it is now a public park with a Lions' Club gazebo and not currently dedicated to any military use. 

According to Seaver, the land for the arsenal and parade ground were deeded to New York State by Cone Andrus, one of Malone's first settlers. 
"An arsenal was built upon the arsenal lot as early as 1812.  It was a two story stone structure, and cost $5,000.  In February 1814, when General Wilkinson's evacuation of Malone occurred, after the retreat here in October 1813 from French Mills, (Fort Covington), following the American defeat at Chrystler's Field or Farm, Colonel Scott occupied the town for a part of two days with a British force of about a thousand men additional to a smaller number of militia and a body of Indian allies. These latter, with some of the more turbulent of the militia and regulars, were bent upon destroying the arsenal and actually set fire to it.  Representations to Colonel Scott by a number of the more prominent residents of Malone to the effect that destruction of the arsenal would he wanton and not within the practices sanctioned in civilized warfare, induced the British commandant to interfere, and the building was saved. When it was finally razed more than forty years later, a part of its timbers and stone were purchased by S.W. Gillett and were used in the erection of the dwelling house afterward owned and occupied by Mrs S.A. Beman. While the arsenal stood, it was used for housing cannon (mainly howitzers) and the accoutrements and equipment of the local State militia."  (Seaver: Historical Sketches of Franklin County, NY (1918)
In 1917, Arsenal Green was given by the state to the Village of Malone.

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