307 Main Street: The MacNaughton house


art of this lot was sold by William Cornwell Jr. to the trustees of the Presbyterian congregation in 1824. The rest of it, and the lot on which #305 now stands, was where the residence of Robert Shearman stood in the early days of the settlement.

Shearman sold out to the trustees of the Presbyterian congregation in 1824, and Cornwell added a piece at the south end of his own property at the same time. The meeting-house built on this lot was the first in Penn Yan, and stood here for more than fifty years. It was enlarged in 1868 and when the old bell broke a new one was added in 1870. This bell is the one that now hangs in the bell tower of the present Presbyterian church, the only part of the old building that remains.

After Charles D. Welles bought the lot the old church stood on in 1883, he demolished the building and built his own residence, which still stands at #305. He originally apparently planned to build two houses on the land, but instead sold the northern part of the lot back to the Cornwells. George R. Cornwell sold it to Sarah F.S. Armstrong in 1905, and in 1909 she sold it to Herbert J. MacNaughton, who then built this house.

It has the Victorian era's surface decoration, but it's clearly a product of the new century. Its dominant style is Colonial Revival, characterized by the simpler massing and the Doric columns on the porch.



Above right: 307 Main Street, built about 1909 by Herbert J. MacNaughton. This house shows the attractive results that could be achieved by applying early-20th century trim elements to a late 19th-century basic style, in the days when every house was a unique production erected by individual craftsmen. They used mass-produced patterns and parts: see how similar the design of the porch is to that of #309 next door, which was built at the same time, without giving at all the same impression.

People related to this lot and structure:

     Abraham Wagener
  John Dorman
    The Shearman brothers

Related sites:

    305 Main Street

Related history:



Above : The old Presbyterian Church, which stood on this lot and that of #305 next door until 1883, when it was razed and the two houses now there built. The church was the first in Penn Yan, erected in 1824 and enlarged and remodeled in 1868.