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GLENS FALLS  When the southern part of Glen Street, in the vicinity of what is now Glens Falls Civic Center, was demolished as part of an urban renewal project in the 1970s, artist Shirley Patton wanted people to remember “the way we were,” Kathleen Kathe reported in a Dec. 11, 1982 Post-Star article.

Patton, who died in 1999, painted “View South on Glen Street” in 1976 from photographs of Glens Falls that Look magazine published in 1944 as part of its Hometown U.S.A. project.

A companion painting was based on 1955 photographs of Glen Street.

Patton said at the time that the paintings, which were made into prints and sold locally, were “not for artistic excellence” but to preserve history.

“The lovely old buildings in Glens Falls have always given it character and still do today,” Patton was quoted as saying in the 1982 report.

The two original watercolor paintings that were made into prints are now on display at the new Glens Falls Food Co-Op, which will open soon at Empire Theatre Plaza on South Street in Glens Falls.

Liz Parsons, granddaughter of Patton, said the paintings, on long-term display at the co-op, are a metaphor for the revitalization of Glens Falls to its one-time vibrancy.

“When I look at these, I look at how Glens Falls is now and how the community is coming together,” said Parsons, an artist who lives and works in Glens Falls and volunteers at the co-op.

Organizers of Glens Falls Food Co-Op are glad to be part of the momentum in downtown, said Alesa DelSignore, the co-op’s volunteer coordinator.

The specialty food store will sell locally grown or produced vegetables, dairy products, eggs, meats and soaps, as well as bulk dry goods, nuts and raisins.

Work by local artists will be displayed.

“We don’t want it to be just a place to shop. We want it to be an experience,” DelSignore said.

The co-op was previously located in Moreau but closed earlier this year and reorganized when members wanted to move it downtown.

The co-op will establish regular hours later this week to sell gift certificates and memberships and will begin full operation as soon the state Department of Agriculture and Markets issues a permit.

“It’s going to be at least two weeks (before full operation),” Rich Cirino, the co-op treasurer, said Friday.

In the meantime, organizers are attempting to recruit new members and volunteers.

Memberships start at $50 for an individual and $100 for a family, with special recognition for members who donate $250 or more.

For information, contact the co-op at 683-2769 or

Information is available online at

The store will be open to the general public. Members and volunteers will receive discounts.

Parsons said the co-op seemed an ideal place to display her grandmother’s paintings, which had been in storage since 1999.

Her grandmother and her grandfather, who did framing, influenced her own art career, Parsons said.

“It was like the entire accepting world that I grew up in,” she said.

Parsons paused and smiled as she finished telling the story of her first painting.

“It’s a great memory,” she mused.

Parsons was 5 at the time and sitting in her grandmother’s lap.

“She laid out the paints for me and said, ‘Paint,’ ” Parsons said.

“And I said, ‘What should I paint, Gram?’ And she said, ‘Anything you want.’ ”

Parsons painted a bird on a branch, a painting she still has.

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Follow staff writer Maury Thompson at All Politics is Local blog, at PS_Politics on Twitter and at Maury Thompson Post-Star on Facebook.


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