Historic Structures

Marcus McGraw House (Lamont Library), McGraw New York

Date added: February 17, 2010 Categories: New York House Library Greek Revival

The rear portion of the building is said to be one of the first eleven houses built in McGraw Village by 1813. The front or "Greek Temple" part of the house was occupied by John Lamont, whose son, Daniel, later became private secretary to President Grover Cleveland, and later Secretary of War.

Local historians believe that Marcus McGraw, son of Samuel McGraw, a "first settler", probably built the rear portion which was one of the ten or eleven houses on Main Street in 1810 to 1813. There is disagreement as to whether Marcus McGraw or John Lamont built the front or "Greek Temple" part as it was called, and about whether Marcus built or only lived in the older rear portion. However, John Lamont moved to it in 1851 bringing his son, Daniel, just born that year. Daniel Scott Lamont grew to manhood here.

Marcus McGraw, first known occupant, and possibly builder of the old portion, was the son of the town's first settler, Samuel McGraw, for whom the town is named.

John Lamont operated the first special line grocery.

Daniel Scott Lament, son of John, started his notable career as publisher of the McGraw Advertiser and later worked on the Albany Argus. When twenty years old he became deputy clerk of the State Assembly. When Grover Cleveland became Governor of New York State he made Mr. Lamont his military secretary and three days later his private secretary. When Cleveland became president, he took Lamont with him to Washington. During his second term he appointed Lamont, by now a Colonel, Secretary of War. In 1897, Col. Lamont became vice-president of the Northern Pacific Railroad. As he became famous there were noteworthy celebrations in McGraw when he returned to his old home for a visit. Once he came in a special train car called the "Yellowstone," drawn by a special locomotive.

After the death of Daniel's mother, his widow, Juliet K. Lamont, conceived the idea of converting the old homestead into a library, and in 1906, Daniel's daughter, Elizabeth K. Lamont, carried out this idea, remodeling for the purpose. In 1917, she added the corner lot extending to Church Street to the property, and on August 21, 1945, she deeded it to the Village of McGraw, It is still operated as a library in 1974.