In 1759 the colonial town of Skenesboro was founded by British Army Captain, Philip Skene. Skenesboro was a center of maritime trade, located at the southern end of Lake Champlain with saw mills, grist mills and an iron foundry.
During the Revolutionary War, Benedict Arnold built the first naval fleet in the town of Skenesboro, which was renamed Whitehall after the war. In 1960 the New York State Legislature declared Whitehall as the Birthplace of the United States Navy. As well as defense, transportation has also been a major theme of the community’s role in history. Since 1819 the canal has also been used for shipping of produce, iron ore and other products from Canada to New York City. The railroad also played an important role in Whitehall’s growth and prosperity. The Saratoga and Rensselaer Railroad extended to Whitehall in 1848, and a second line, the Rutland and Washington, connected Whitehall to Vermont. As lake steamers stopped regular service, the New York and Canada Railroad Company extended the railroad from Whitehall through the Adirondack Mountains. The railroad was Whitehall’s largest industry for many decades. AMTRAK passenger trains offer local service regularly to this day.
The building was built in 1906 by the First National Bank of Whitehall. In 1936 the Town of Whitehall took it over and used it as the Town Office until Mike and Linda Lemnotis bought it in 2008. In December 2014 we, Nat and Nancy Huntington, bought this historic building and converted it into Historic Grounds Coffee House. It had always been a dream of ours to own a place where the community could gather for good food and conversations, a place that would be part of the fabric of a small town community. It is our hope that you will join us in making this new business, in an old building located on historic grounds, a place for the community to gather, eat great, homemade, local food, and enjoy each other’s company.
Here at Historic Grounds, we feel strongly about the quality of our product, that our food is homemade, and that we support local businesses and farms. We serve Battenkill Valley Creamery Milk and Scribner’s Maple Syrup. Our menu is handcrafted and our food is made fresh with care by us and our dedicated staff.
Our coffee house combines the history of Whitehall with the food we all love. Inside our coffee house you will find exposed brick walls, an exquisite sky light, and the smell of fresh brewed coffee. Decor also includes numerous historic photos of Whitehall. We pride ourselves in providing the community with premium fresh ground coffee, specialty drinks (espressos, lattes, cocoas, etc), and teas. If you are feeling hungry it is the perfect place to have breakfast, lunch sandwiches made with house roasted meats, homemade soups, and fresh salads. Want to grab something quick? Popovers, scones, muffins, cupcakes and other pastries are available daily!