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The McTighe Mansion: You Never Know What You'll Find In These Walls

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -

Once referred to as Millionaires Row, the section of Riverside Drive closest to downtown was once home to the whose who of Binghamton. Among such families as the Robersons and the Kilmers, lived the McTighes.

The dormered white house was home to grocery tycoon Patrick McTighe and his wife Mary Ann. 

The front room inside 16 Riverside Drive.

“They were kind of like the Maines’ before the Maines," says Robin Alpaugh, who now owns the house.

The McTighe Grocery Company operated several warehouses across Binghamton. One of those buildings still stands on Depot Street, although it did just suffer a partial roof collapse in July.

Inside 16 Riverside Drive, Alpaugh shows me several treasures relating to the McTigues that have been collected through the years by past owners of the home and passed down to each new occupant. In the living room is a wooden crate that once held shredded wheat, one of the McTighe products. The crate is stamped with the business name on the back. Alpaugh also points to some original bill heads displayed in the front foyer of the home. These would have been handed over to mom and pop store owners as the McTighe company made their delivery.

Original bill head from a delivery by the McTighe Grocery Company.

"They were very successful," says Alpaugh.

Patrick and Mary Ann never had kids, but were generous with their wealth and the spacious home. They took in a niece and nephew and raised them as their own. 

The dining room features original woodwork and built in corner cabinets.

Heading into the dining room, Alpaugh points out several pictures of the interior of the house that are hanging on the wall. These show what the parlor and dining room looked like back in the day. When Alpaugh bought the mansion at 16 Riverside Drive in 2004, he did so with the mission of restoring it to its former glory.

"It had sat empty for several years before I bought it and old buildings don't do good unoccupied," says Alpaugh.

A lot of work had to be done, including replacing the roof after the upstairs ceiling caved in. In the process, he uncovered much more.

"You know, you're always kind of looking for secret panels and stuff," says Alpaugh as we head into the library, “I was tapping away and this popped open… and it’s just a hidden compartment."

Home owner Robin Alpaugh removes a panel from the woodwork, revealing a secret compartment.

Removing a panel from the original woodwork on the walls, Alpaugh shows me an old liquor bottle he found inside and some gun cleaning equipment. The discoveries in this house don't end there. Alpaugh reaches under the mantle and pushes a button, a buzzer sounds, and a hidden door swings open. There are two of these in the library with the secret compartment. One of those doors leads to the kitchen, the other now houses a half bath.

"I think maybe it could have been a humidor," says Alpaugh.

Alpaugh can only guess about the hidden doors, and any other possible secrets hidden in the walls of 16 Riverside Drive.

The McTighe Mansion is one of five private residences guests will have the chance to tour for themselves during the PAST Historic Homes Tour on September 15th.