Exchange Street artist — Part 2

The Exchange Street portrait artist and sign painter that I wrote about yesterday was also a hobbyist photographer who captured professional quality stunning images depicting late 19th century Glens Falls social history.

After reading my post yesterday, Tim Weidner, director of The Chapman Historical Museum, had a hunch that W.W. Kennedy was the same person as William Wallace Kennedy, the photographer.

A Nov. 5, 1976 Post-Star report confirmed that Kennedy, the photographer, was a sign painter who operated a studio on Exchange Street.

Kennedy traveled around Glens Falls on a bicycle with a heavy glass plate camera strapped to his back, according to Glens Falls City Historian Wayne Wright, who published many of Kennedy’s photographs in the 2009 book “Listening In.”

Kennedy lived and worked in Glens Falls from around 1880 to around 1899, when he moved to Amsterdam, where his parents lived.

Decades later Kathryn O’Brien, granddaughter of the photographer, discovered Kennedy’s glass slides when she was cleaning out an abandoned house on Washington Street, in Glens Falls, where Kennedy had lived.

Here is a bit more information about Kennedy’s artistic work which I found today.

1890 — Kennedy and William O. Capron repainted the M.B. Little engine and hose carriage, and Kennedy painted yellow lettering on the show window of Sanford & Pearsall drug store at 116 Glen St.

1894 — Kennedy painted the gilding and decorative features on the altar at St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church.

Sources: The Post-Star June 21,1973; Nov. 5, 1976; The Morning Star June 5, 1890; Feb. 17, 1894; Nov. 9, 1898; “Listening In,” compiled by Glens Falls City Historian Wayne Wright, 2009

Click here to read my previous post about W.W. Kennedy

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Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY