A matter of history

The parade ground was also set aside as a public gathering place for Malta residents.

Deeds with restrictions placed on the ground since early times include stipulations the land not be enclosed, fenced or ploughed, and that it must remain a common, without being divided.

Michael Dunning arrived in town in the spring of 1772 from Newtown, Conn., with his family. For many years, both the Rogers Hotel at Dunning Street and Dean Chase's Tavern at Malta Ridge were major stops for the stagecoaches from Albany to the north. In 1962, a historic marker was placed at the parade ground in memory of Col. Elmer Ellsworth, one of the first Union officers to be killed in the Civil War. Ellsworth was born in Malta, where his father ran a tailoring shop for years before the family moved to Mechanicville.

The Ellsworth name continues to be used in new town developments, such as Ellsworth Commons.

The town's largest housing development, Luther Forest, has an entrance about a mile from the Connollys' salon.

"We're quintessentially downtown Malta; we're walkable and located near thousands of homes, but our hands are tied as far as being economically viable," said William Connolly. "We're held to completely different standards than other businesses in the area; we can't even put up signs."

Just behind the Connolly's property is a connected group of businesses, including a pharmacy, video store, doctor's offices and photography studio.

The town's post office was built behind their property as well.

"The point is, we're a rural farmhouse in the middle of a downtown area, and we're under tremendous constraints," said Cristine Connolly.

Gay said in discussions during the development of the new downtown Malta greenspace plan, there is talk about relocating the historic district.

"In the plan, there is a depiction of what the downtown and historic district would look like, and there is a rendering of a Parade Ground historic area that is placed on the north side of Dunning Street," said Gay.

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