The Landmark Society of Western New York has announced its 2014 Five to Revive – a list of historic sites it has determined to be in need of targeted revitalization. The announcement was made at the Landmark Society headquarters on Fitzhugh St. in Rochester.
“The preservation efforts of The Landmark Society of Western New York continue to be focused on community revitalization,” Executive Director Wayne Goodman said in a statement to the press. “This is the second year we are announcing a Five to Revive list to call attention to key properties in western New York that are in need of investment. We can’t stress enough that these are significant historic properties whose rehabilitations can become catalytic projects for the neighborhoods and communities that surround them.”
The 2014 Five to Revive list includes:
- Auditorium Theater, Rochester, NY
- Designated Buildings of Historic Value, Rochester, NY
- Erie Canal Warehouse, Village of Brockport, Monroe County, NY
- Hillside Cemetery and Chapel, Town of Clarendon, Orleans County
- Former Trinity Episcopal Church, Town of Seneca Falls, Seneca County
The Five to Revive initiative, chaired by Tom Castelein, Vice-President of Preservation on The Landmark Society Board, hopes to enhance the organization’s ongoing efforts to support revitalization in western New York. “Our inaugural 2013 list of properties are moving closer to the goal of contributing to economic revitalization in their communities,” Castelein said.
“Preservation is revitalization,” adds Goodman. “Preservation creates local jobs, stimulates investment, increases tax revenues and builds sustainable communities. When residents, communities and those in local and state governments work together the possibilities are limitless.”
Background on Five to Revive sites
875 East Main Street
City of Rochester, Monroe County
An officially designated City of Rochester landmark, the Auditorium Center, built in 1928-29, is architecturally and historically significant as one of the region’s finest examples of Art Deco design. Originally built as the Masonic Temple, it was the headquarters for over six decades of the fraternal order of Free and Accepted Masons, a worldwide organization whose local members used this remarkable facility for their meetings and theatrical productions, as well as numerous public events. In addition to the 2,464-seat Auditorium Theater, the building includes several large and elaborately designed meeting halls and lounges, smaller meeting rooms, offices, and extensive storage facilities.
A highly visible anchor in Rochester’s Cultural District, the Auditorium Theater is one of the most important historic theater complexes in the Finger Lakes region. Its exceptional historic and architectural significance make it an important candidate for revitalization and continued use as a community performing arts center. The Landmark Society hopes to work proactively with the Rochester Broadway Theatre League and City officials to plan for the long term use and care of this important Main Street gem.
Designated Buildings of Historic Value
City of Rochester
In 2003, the City of Rochester created a list of Designated Buildings of Historic Value (DBHV) as part of the Zoning Code to protect the character and economic value of Rochester’s many historic buildings. The DBHV list contains properties that have been determined by the New York State Historic Preservation Office to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Zoning Code prohibits demolition of a DBHV and further requires that significant architectural features be maintained. In recent years, however, the Zoning Board of Appeals has issued variances allowing the demolition of protected DBHV’s, including the highly publicized Cataract Brewery building and the former church at 660 West Main Street.
We are including the Designated Buildings of Historic Value list in our 2014 Five to Revive to draw attention to this list and the review process these buildings must pass through before they are lost forever. At nearly 5000 properties, it is said the list is too unwieldy and restrictive. Yet recent events have shown the intended protection and thoughtful review has become just another routine step in the review process. The Landmark Society hopes to work collaboratively with the City of Rochester and other stakeholders to update and refine the DBHV list and to reexamine the evaluation criteria when it comes to erasing Rochester’s important historic resources.
Erie Canal Warehouse
60 Clinton Street
Village of Brockport, Monroe County
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this historic factory and warehouse complex is a rare surviving example of the brownstone industrial buildings that once lined the banks of the Erie Canal at Brockport. Unique in Monroe County, it is also the only surviving building related to the local reaper manufacturing industry, whose products were sold to an international clientele. The existing buildings here were built between 1850 and 1852 for the Agricultural Works in Brockport, later known as Whiteside, Barnett and Company. The property was later used as a lumberyard from about 1880 to 1904 and as a cannery until 1945. During the late 20th century, an auto repair business was located in this building. In 2008, the vacant building was purchased by the Greater Brockport Development Corporation, which undertook extensive structural and roof repair, as well as environmental remediation at the site.
A highly visible anchor on the Erie Canal in the village of Brockport, this historic industrial building is unique in Monroe County. Its exceptional historic and architectural significance make it an important candidate for revitalization after many years of vacancy and a potential catalyst for further redevelopment in this historic canalside neighborhood.
Hillside Cemetery and Chapel
NYS Route 237 and South Holley Road
Town of Clarendon, Orleans County
Located just outside the village of Holley, Hillside Cemetery is an active town cemetery established in 1866 and developed between 1866 and 1938. Encompassing approximately 30 acres, the Cemetery is a significant example of two periods of cemetery design. Built in 1894, the elegant Gothic Revival Chapel is prominently located near the entrance to the cemetery on the west side of South Holley Road and is a primary feature of the cemetery. The Chapel has been vacant and largely unused since the 1960s. Both the designed landscape of the Cemetery and the Chapel suffer from deferred maintenance and lack of funds.
The Hillside Cemetery and Chapel are important examples of historic landscape architecture and building architecture in Orleans County. They are highly visible resources at the southern gateway into the village of Holley. With such historic and architectural significance, the Hillside Cemetery and Chapel could, with proper funding and maintenance, serve as attractive assets in the Clarendon and Holley communities.
Former Trinity Episcopal Church
10-14 Bayard Street
Town of Seneca Falls, Seneca County
Built in 1833, the former Trinity Episcopal Church is a rare and important early example of Gothic Revival ecclesiastical architecture in central/western New York. It is a major contributing resource in the village of Seneca Falls and reflects the architectural, religious, and industrial history of the community, as well as the region. It has exceptional connections with the nationally important social justice movements of the 19th century. In 2002, State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio secured $150,000 in state funding to provide for the acquisition and preservation of the building. The building has remained vacant and unused since that time. A highly visible landmark for over 180 years, the former church has excellent potential for rehabilitation and re-use as a community resource in the 21st century.
A highly visible anchor in Seneca Falls, with significant ties to abolitionist and women’s rights history, this building retains exceptional historic, cultural and architectural significance. Originally used as a house of worship, former Trinity Church highlights the challenges facing similar religious properties throughout the nation that have become vacant and seek new uses. This signature building is worthy of recognition and protection, with the ultimate goal of rehabilitation for an appropriate re-use.
For more information visit www.landmarksociety.org.