Backstory and Context
This highly ornate four-story building on the corner of Court and Chenango Streets is one of Binghamton’s most unique and distinctive structures. Known as the Perry Block, it is faced with cast iron, and is the only example of this type of architecture in the area. Notice the large windows and ornate architectural features, typical of this form of construction.
Built in 1876, the Perry Block was designed by one of New York’s most famous architects, Isaac Gale Perry. Perry first came to Binghamton from New York City in 1858 to supervise construction of his first major architectural project, the New York State Inebriate Asylum.
With his wife Lucretia, Perry lived on the fourth floor of this building while operating his business on the floor below. The first and second floors were occupied by a variety of businesses, and local residents will remember shopping here when it was home to McLean’s, one of Binghamton’s most popular department stores.
Throughout his career Perry designed several structures in town including the county courthouse across the street. In addition he designed approximately 40 armories throughout the state, and was selected to complete the State Capitol in Albany. It is worth noting that with all his accomplishments, the building in front of you has been described by some as Perry’s greatest structure.
It is interesting to note that this building played a staring role in the Hollywood movie “Liebestraum”, filmed in Binghamton in 1991 – a movie that features several of Binghamton’s historic buildings.