Empire Shirt Factory was established in 1879 by Louis Weinman and L. W. Emerson. In 1883 James Emerson, at the age of 19, became the sole owner. At that time the company employed about 100 hands and manufactured about 25,000 dozen shirts per year. In 1891, J. P. Baumann & Son bought into the company, enlarged the building, and started producing ladies' shirtwaists. They employed a corps of skilled designers, pattern makers, cutters, pressers and sewers. In 1892 a three-story building was added along the river for use as a laundry (since demolished.) Most employees in the laundry were expected to be men and boys. By 1896, they were producing 500 dozen shirtwaists and 200 dozen robes daily, employing over 800 people. The showroom for J. P. Baumann & Sons was located in New York City. The Troy Company purchased the Empire Shirt Co. and continued manufacturing through the 1940s and into the early part of the 1970s. It became "The Outlet Barn,” selling clothing at discounted rates, and housed a variety of different shops. In 1965 the overpass linking the two structures was taking down. In recent years, Tom and Mark Grace purchased the main building and renovated it. It now houses a restaurant called Lizzie Keays Restaurant (after a shirt factory worker), an athletic club, a beauty parlor and office space. The building on the Schroon River, now part of the Grist Mill on the Schroon restaurant property, was used as an antique store for a few years, but as of this writing sits vacant.
The Merrill Ma.Gee House evolved in three distinct stages: the original structure on the property consisted of a 13:2-story, frame vernacular Greek Revival style farmhouse built circa 1835. A two-story, Greek Revival style main block with giant portico was adde.d to the east end of the original house circa 1855, at which time the earlier structure became the service wing. The final addition to the house occurred after 1911, at which time a 1 stciry, frame, vernacular Federal period farmhouse built in 1815 was moved from Thurman Station to Warrensburg and attached to the west end of the 1833 house. This moved struct re, used as a summer kitchen, has acquired historical significance in its present location as a component wing of the Merrill MaGee House. A shed roofed frame kitchen was also added to the northwest side of the building (1833 section) in 1911.
The entire exterior of the Merrill MaGie House is sheathed with narrow clapboards. The gable and shed roofs of the various sections are covered with slate. Seven tall, brick interior chiiilileys rise above the roofs. The formal east elevation is dominated by a classical portico supported on square, paneled colunms. The offset entrance consists of a six panel door within a molded classical entablature. A simple frieze and cornice delineate the roofline, and pilasters define the corners and bays of the formal front. The center and rear wings of the building are characterized by simple vernacular details, including one-story porches supported on simple classical wood columns and simple cornices with returns.
Fenestration throughout the house is generally regular and syrnn:e.:t_ ical, consisting of regularly spaced openings hung with movable six-over-six wood sash. The 1833 portion of the building exhibits half-story windows on the south elevation. Hany windows are hung with louvered wood shutters. A louvered lunette is located in each gable end of the formal Greek Revival style addition of ca.l855.
The Merrill MaGee Hous-e is significant for its architecture and for its historical association with one of Warrensburg’s most prominent families for nearly 150 years. Consisting of a frame, vernacular Greek Revival style farmhouse of the 1830's, a monumental Greek Revival style addition of ca. 1855, and a rear wing built
in 181-5- and moved to the property in 1912,•the Merrill
M Gee House reflects the prosperity and architectural taste of a
local entrepreneurial family and is the best preserved example
of early/mid-nineteenth century vernacular residential design
extant in the village of Warrensburg, Six historic outbuildings,
a swimming pool, and landscaped grounds contribute to the property’s
The original house on the property was built in the early
1830's and acquired by Stephen Griffin II in 1838. A leading industrial entrepreneur of the Warrensburg-Adirondack Region, Griffin owned and managed a series of tanneries, sawmills, and timber companies, achieving a reputation for his business acumen and personal integrity. Stephen Griffin was also important for his civic career,which included serving three terms as town supervisor, election to the New York State Assembly, and appointment as state agent for timber lands in Warren and Hamilton Counties. His •vernacular Greek Revival style residence is significant as a reflection of regional architectural trends during the formative years of Griffin’s career in Warrensburg. With its half-story windows, broadporch, and finely crafted interior details, the house represents the typical middle-class residence of its region and period.
As Griffin’s industrial enterprises succeeded and his wealth accrued, the family built a large and imposing addition to the existing residence, With its monumental street facade consisting of a giant portico and classical pilasters, the ca. 1855 addition turned the residence into the most stylish mid-nineteenth century structure in Warrensburg. It remains an outstanding and rare regional example of monumental Greek Revival residential architecture.