The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) announced a $750,000 federal grant award to support rehabilitation work at Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston, Ulster County, NY.
The grant is from the National Park Service (NPS), which has awarded $10 million in the second round of funding for their Semiquincentennial Grant Program commemorating the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States.
Created by Congress in 2020 and funded through the Historic Preservation Fund, this round of grants supports 20 cultural resource preservation projects across 14 states, including rehabilitation of two historic buildings at Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston. OPRHP also received a $500,000 Semiquincentennial Grant in the first round of awards in 2022 for masonry preservation at Old Fort Niagara State Historic Site in Niagara.
Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston is significant for both its association with the establishment of New York State government during the American Revolution as well as later efforts by the public to commemorate that history. The Senate House is a building of vernacular Dutch characteristics, erected over multiple phases during the 17th and 18th centuries, and subsequently modified during its state ownership.
As the meeting place of New York’s first Senate, the site reflects the state’s political response to the events of the Revolution and the individuals who shaped that response. The site is also noteworthy for efforts to protect and commemorate places of interest related to the Revolution; Senate House is the second oldest state historic site in New York, the first being Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh.
The 1927 Museum Building was erected, in part, for commemorative purposes; its Colonial Revival-style design pays homage to Kingston’s vernacular building traditions. Contemporary sources also indicate that it was the centerpiece of celebrations staged for the sesquicentennial of the Revolution. The site’s interpretation of colonial history, along with its history as a place of commemoration and historic preservation, mark it as a vital resource for interpreting local, state, and national history.
Rehabilitation work at Senate House State Historic Site, which is slated to start in spring 2024, is being supported in part by a $750,000 Semiquincentennial Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
The scope for the $2.7 million project includes work for both the Senate House and Museum Building: roof replacement and repairs; masonry work; repair of exterior woodwork, windows, and doors; and site drainage improvements.
These interventions are considered critical to fixing and preventing structural damage caused by ongoing water infiltration, and are expected to reflect period-appropriate restoration solutions.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which saw a record 79.5 million visits in 2022.
For more information about NPS historic preservation programs and grants, please visit nps.gov/stlpg/
Photo: Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston, Ulster County, NY.