The Preservation League of New York State will honor and celebrate the recipients of its Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards at the The New York Yacht Club, 37 West 44th Street – New York City on Wednesday evening, May 13, 2009 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The suggested donation is $60 per ticket. For more information contact Shelley LaClair at 518-462-5658 x13 or download the invitation and RSVP card from the League’s website at www.preservenys.org.
Katie Eggers Comeau, Director of Preservation Services for the The Landmark Society of Western New York has posted a nice list of upcoming historic preservation education events at their blog Confessions of a Preservationist. The events are designed for “everyone from homeowners to design professionals.” I’m reposting the entire list here, but be sure to check out their blog.
This isn’t a full listing of all upcoming Landmark Society events, just those that are geared specifically toward historic preservation education (as opposed to our many tours and other events, which, of course, are also educational!). For other upcoming events, including local and out-of-town tours, be sure to check out the Events section of our website.
April 6, 13, 27, and May 5 and 12: Your Old House workshops – learn to care for your house by preparing your garden for spring, repairing your windows, taking care of hardwood floors, and more! All sessions start at 6 p.m. at the Stone-Tolan Barn, 2370 East Avenue in Brighton; these sell out early, so register in advance to reserve your spot for one session or the full series.
April 18: Birthday party for Frederick Law Olmsted in Highland Park (Lamberton Conservatory, 180 Reservoir Avenue), at 5:00 p.m. Enjoy cake and punch while learning about Rochester’s remarkable Olmsted legacy.
April 23: Preservation Night at the Opera House – while not our event (this one is sponsored by the Village of Lancaster Historic Preservation Commission), this looks like a great opportunity to hear about the newly created Preservation Buffalo Niagara, and to learn about the Certified Local Government (CLG) program. The program will be held at the historic Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Avenue, Lancaster.
May is National Preservation Month! This year’s theme is “This Place Matters” – a powerful theme, since the historic places we care about do matter, for so many reasons.
May 2: Regional Preservation Conference in Medina, NY: Homeowners, Realtors, elected officials, zoning/planning/preservation board members, community activists, and anyone else with an interest in older buildings and neighborhoods won’t want to miss it! Medina High School, 2 Mustang Drive (off Route 31), Medina.
May, date TBA: Marketing Historic Houses Successfully: This class, a joint effort of the Landmark Society’s Rochestercityliving.com initiative and the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors, educates Realtors about the attributes of older housing stock, helping them to sell these special properties. The class includes two bus tours of city neighborhoods. Registration will be handled by GRAR, with classes taught by Cynthia Howk, Steve Jordan, and Jean France.
June 4: Green Strategies for Historic Buildings: This day-long workshop, presented by the National Preservation Institute, will demonstrate how the environmental goal of “reduce, reuse, recycle” can enhance the capital cost competitiveness of preservation projects. We are really excited to be cosponsoring this event, along with the Preservation League of NYS and AIA New York State. The workshop will be held at the Eisenhart Auditorium of the Rochester Museum & Science Center, 657 East Avenue.
As part of the Lake Champlain Quadricentennial celebration, Adirondack Architectural Heritage is presenting a new tour series, Architecture of the Champlain Valley. The series features half-day walking tours of eight towns along the lake, led by experienced and professional guides. Tours will be at 9:30 am and 1:00 pm on Saturdays in May and June unless otherwise noted.
May 2- Willsboro: One of the oldest settlements in Essex County, Willsboro has a rich history connected to agriculture, paper industry, stone quarrying, shipbuilding, and tourism.
May 9- Keeseville: Keeseville is a town with a long history as an industrial community that manufactured products from wood and iron ore using the power of the Ausable River.
May 16- Essex: Essex prospered during much of the 19th century as a shipping and ship building port, and today, as a National Historic Register District, contains many wonderful examples of various styles of architecture.
May 23- Elizabethtown: As the county seat, Elizabethtown boasts a large historic government complex, and a number of buildings that reflect the town’s social, political and economic importance.
May 30- Port Henry: Port Henry and the surrounding town of Moriah have the longest industrial history of any community in the Champlain Valley, beginning with iron mining and manufacturing in the late 1700s.
June 6- Ticonderoga: Historically associated with military events, Ticonderoga developed as an industrial town connected to paper manufacturing, and today offers more than three dozen buildings listed on the National Register.
June 20- Wadhams (10:00)/Westport (1:00): The hamlet of Wadhams lies just north of Westport on the Boquet River, and was once known for its industrial pursuits which supported the outlying farms. Though industry and agriculture played a role in the development of Westport, it has gained most of its identity as a summer resort town.
June 27- Ironville: In the town of Crown Point, the settlement of Ironville is the site of the Penfield Homestead Museum and was once the center of a thriving iron industry.
Attendance is free of charge, but advance registration is required. Reservations may be made by calling AARCH at 834-9328.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is the private, non-profit, historic preservation organization for the Adirondack Park region. This is one of over fifty events in our annual series highlighting the region’s vast architectural legacy. For more information on membership and our complete program schedule contact AARCH at (518) 834-9328 or visit our website at www.aarch.org.
A new book chronicles the untold story of the largest restored home in America – OHEKA Castle. The 291-page work, entitled OHEKA CASTLE Monument to Survival, is the definitive behind-the-scenes look at the 20-year and $30 million dollar historic preservation of New York’s largest home and Long Island’s largest Gold Coast mansion which, at 115,000 square feet, is more than twice the size of the White House. OHEKA Castle, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004, has previously been featured on Home and Garden Television Network’s (HGTV) Restore America as well as the final episode of the Arts & Entertainment Network’s (A&E) America’s Castles. The new book is the only work that reveals the mansion’s 90-year history, the extraordinary efforts to save it and the restoration itself depicted in over 250 black and white and full color photographs.
The book opens up with personal reflections about OHEKA by best-selling author and Long Islander, Nelson DeMille. DeMille’s introduction begins with the statement: “Ellen Schaffer and Joan Cergol have worked eight years to write this remarkable book about a remarkable house: OHEKA Castle.” In the book’s foreword, entitled “Why OHEKA matters,” the authors state: “In sharing OHEKA’s story, we also tell a tale of victory for all those who believe historic structures should and can be saved for future generations. By documenting this successful large-scale experience in historic preservation, we hope to educate and inspire others to attain their own hopes and dreams of saving that ‘big old house’ down the road.”
The new book is the product of an eight year collaboration between co-authors Ellen Schaffer and Joan Cergol, who were introduced in 1996 by OHEKA Castle owner Gary Melius. Schaffer, a civic leader and longtime resident of Cold Spring Hills, the community in which OHEKA is situated, and Cergol, a local public relations professional, worked side by side to create a not-for-profit organization known as “Friends of OHEKA” and develop an innovative zoning approach to preserve the structure and maintain its residential zoning. At that time, OHEKA’s future was at risk due to zoning issues threatening Melius’ ability to advance his restoration plan for a 127-room “single family home” on Long Island’s North Shore.
The story illustrates the importance of public-private partnerships for historic preservation in America, where government funding is almost non-existent. It also documents a successful “public awareness campaign” to garner the public support needed for government intervention. The story reveals how a dedicated and resourceful owner, a supportive community and an enlightened town came together to accomplish what seemed impossible – rescuing, restoring and ultimately succeeding in finding adaptive reuses for an otherwise obsolete Gold Coast mansion in the center of a residential community.
The book encourages owners of historic structures, local communities and governments across America to think “outside the box” of historic preservation. The story reveals how a preservation tool known as a “historic overlay district,” when combined with good old-fashioned American ingenuity, can turn a devastated Gold Coast ruins into a useful structure to serve our modern-day society. Now carefully captured and preserved by the co-authors, this “preservation success story” is itself preserved to serve a larger goal of encouraging ordinary citizens and local governments to save historic homes for future generations.
The New York State Board for Historic Preservation recommended the addition of 32 properties to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations.
“From urban office towers and factories to rural cemeteries and hillside retreats, these nominations reflect New York’s distinctive history,” said Carol Ash, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Recognizing these landmarks will help us to preserve, appreciate and understand New York’s unique past.”
Listing these properties on the State and National Registers can assist their owners in revitalizing the structures. Listing will make them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.
The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology and culture of New York State and the nation. There are nearly 90,000 historic buildings, structures and sites throughout the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places, individually or as components of historic districts.
Once the recommendations are approved by the state historic preservation officer, the properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register.
STATE REVIEW BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Peltier House, Cohoes
2. Norman’s Vale (Nott House), Guilderland
3. New Scotland Presbyterian Church & Cemetery, Slingerlands
4. Hutchinson Homestead, Cayuga
5. Dunkirk Schooner Site, Dunkirk
6. Holden B. Mathewson House, South Otselic
7. Eaton Family Residence/Jewish Center of Norwich, Norwich
8. Conyn-Van Rensselaer House, Claverack
9. St. John’s Lutheran Church, Ancram
10. Pratt Homestead, Spencertown
11. Stage Coach Inn/Royal Johnson House
12. E.&B. Holmes Machinery Company Building, Buffalo
13. Masonic Temple, Newport Lodge No.455, Newport
14. Beth-El Jewish Center of Flatbush, Brooklyn
15. Sweet Briar, Geneseo
16. Chittenango Pottery, Chittenango
17. Lake View Cemetery, Brockport
18. Chalmers Knitting Mill, Amsterdam
New York County
19. New York Telephone Co. Building, Manhattan
20. Park and Tilford Building, Manhattan
21. 8 Berkley Drive, Lockport
22. First United Methodist Church, Rome
23. Edward W. Stanley Recreation Center, Clinton
24. Louis Will House, Syracuse
25. C.G. Meaker Warehouse and Syracuse Industrial Properties, Syracuse
26. Dock Hill Extension Stone Arch Bridge, Cornwall-on-Hudson
27. Balmville Cemetery, Balmville
28. Dr. Charles M. Lee House, Fulton
29. Little Stone House, Mexico
30. Jacques Marchais Center of Tibetan Art, Staten Island
31. William Cauldwell House, Noyac
32. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow
According to the New York Landmark Society a proposed change in New York State Tax Law would adversely affect preservation projects in the state:
A proposed change to the New York State Tax Law would harm preservation and increase sales tax on preservation projects by narrowing the definition of “capital improvements” on buildings. The new language would limit the definition to apply only to projects that constitute “new construction, or a new addition to or total reconstruction of existing construction.” This is a change from the current definition which allows an exemption of sales tax on labor for the many preservation projects whose scope is less than 100% reconstruction of a building.
As a result of the proposed change, many renovations, restorations and rehabilitations of existing buildings would no longer qualify as “capital improvements” and the labor associated with these projects would become subject to the State sales tax (4%), and possibly also the New York City sales tax (4%) and MTA sales tax (.375%). At present, these projects generally pay sales tax on building materials but not on labor.
Please e-mail Governor Paterson today by clicking here saying:”please continue using the current definition of ‘capital improvement’ in part PP of Tax Law 1101(b)(9) and not limit it to new construction. The proposed changes work against preservation projects by adding a sales tax to the cost of labor. Preservation projects promote economic revitalization, build communities, and save energy.”
The idea is a simple one: Take viewers to historical locations around New York City that are either off-limits to the general public, or are otherwise difficult or impossible to see. Then post them to the web.
Being an old city, New York has hundreds of overlooked locales to explore. The City Concealed produces about 2 videos a month. They’ve previously shot a boat tour of Newtown Creek, the tombs & catacombs of Green-Wood Cemetery, an eccentric rock sculptor on the furthest reaches of Staten Island, and the abandoned buildings of Brooklyn’s sprawling Navy Yard.
The latest episode is Up in the Fulton Ferry Hotel
You can submit a location idea here.
The Preservation League of New York State announced today the League’s Seven to Save for 2009. As part of New York State’s Quadricentennial celebration, the Preservation League will use its endangered properties program, Seven to Save, to support and enhance the year-long commemoration of the voyages of Henry Hudson, Robert Fulton and Samuel de Champlain. In 2009, all Seven to Save designees are located in the Hudson and Champlain Valleys – in Clinton, Columbia (2), Dutchess, Essex, New York and Rensselaer Counties.
“New York State is especially rich in maritime resources and waterfront communities,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. “The region from the Canadian border to New York Harbor is celebrated for its beauty, and boasts a strong tradition of settlement by Native Americans followed by French, Dutch, English and others who made important contributions reflected in the area’s buildings and landscapes. Unfortunately, many of the valued historic resources that illustrate this heroic saga are threatened by insensitive, ineffective or insufficient public policies, general neglect, and in some cases, outright demolition.”
The 2009 Seven to Save designees are, in chronological order:
1. Magdalen Island
Red Hook, in Tivoli Bays, Dutchess County
(Late Archaic, 6,000-3,000 years ago, through post-contact period)
Studies of Magdalen Island have shown that from the Late Archaic through the post-European contact period, the island has been used as a seasonal home by both Native Americans and Euro-Americans. The site could yield additional archeological information about the Hudson Valley’s early inhabitants.
2. Jan Van Hoesen House
Claverack, Columbia County
(Early 18th century)
Jan Van Hoesen, who built this house, was the grandson of Jan Franz Van Hoesen, original patentee of the area in the 1660s. The farmstead, while encroached upon by the adjacent mobile home park, remains intact and undisturbed. This site exemplifies the themes of Dutch settlement along the Hudson River and its tributaries.
3. Gunboat Spitfire
Lake Champlain, Essex and Clinton Counties
Threat: Natural, including non-native aquatic species, and vandalism
This vessel was part of the American fleet which held the British at bay for a year and contributed to the American victory at Saratoga in 1777. The Spitfire is not only the most significant underwater archeological site on the bottom of Lake Champlain, it illustrates the interconnected history of the Hudson and Champlain Valleys.
4. Plumb-Bronson House
Hudson, Columbia County
(1811, 1838, 1849)
Threat: Many years of unchecked deterioration
Samuel Plumb, owner and operator of a fleet of tow boats on the Hudson River, purchased this property and built his home here in 1811. In 1838, Dr. Oliver Bronson hired famed architect A. J. Davis to embellish the house, and brought him back in 1849 to reorient the house to the Hudson River. Now, the not-for-profit Historic Hudson needs to determine a new use and plans for site stewardship.
5. Fort Montgomery
Rouse’s Point, Clinton County
Threat: Deterioration, need for stabilization
Situated on the border between the United States and Canada, Island Point is where Lake Champlain enters the Richelieu River. It was first fortified in 1818 as the Northern Gateway linking the St. Lawrence and Hudson Rivers. Fort Montgomery was built in the mid-19th century and seen as a crucial fortification by Civil War strategists. This site symbolizes the shared history of these two nations.
6. Burden Iron Works Museum
Troy, Rensselaer County
This building stands as architect Robert Robertson’s best surviving iron works and an important reminder of the Hudson River’s industrial heritage. Robertson designed the building as the offices of the Burden Iron Company, the first in the world to manufacture horseshoes by machine. The site is now operated as a museum of commerce and industry, as well as the offices of the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway, the not-for-profit which owns the building.
7. Historic South Street Seaport
New York City, New York County
(Tin Building, 1907 and New Market Building, 1939)
Threat: Demolition, loss of context
The South Street Seaport and Fulton Market are historically linked to Fulton and his ferry to Brooklyn, as well as the theme of commerce along the Hudson River. General Growth Properties proposes out-of-scale new development, requiring demolition of the National Register-eligible New Market Building and the relocation of the Tin Building. This site illustrates the need for careful planning along and stewardship of New York State’s waterfront, especially within waterfront historic districts.
The Preservation League will provide targeted support for these seven threatened historic resources throughout 2009, and will work with local groups to protect them.
“We are looking forward to providing strategic attention, extra effort, and new tools to secure the future of these endangered resources for generations to come,” said Erin Tobin, the Preservation League’s eastern regional director for technical and grant programs. “We are delighted to report that through the community involvement and preservation strategies we have created together with local advocates, many significant properties have been saved.”
The Preservation League of New York State, founded in 1974, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of New York’s diverse and rich heritage of historic buildings, districts and landscapes. From its headquarters in Albany, it provides the unified voice for historic preservation. By leading a statewide movement and sharing information and expertise, the Preservation League of New York State promotes historic preservation as a tool to revitalize the Empire State’s neighborhoods and communities.
Daniel Mackay, Director of Public Policy for the Preservation League of New York State, testified at a hearing of the New York State Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees regarding economic development initiatives and arguing for an expanded tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic properties in distressed areas as a way to stimulate the economy:
If New York is to be successful in preserving open space, working farmland and curbing sprawl, economic development must be directed back to existing municipal infrastructure, and that will require recognition and reuse of New York State’s extraordinary legacy of historic buildings in our commercial downtowns and residential neighborhoods across the Empire State.
Because New York State faces a severe budget challenge, now is the time to prioritize implementation of the tools and programs that target public and private reinvestment where it is most needed, in ways that most effectively leverage private and federal dollars for community renewal and economic reinvestment, and in ways that most aggressively and immediately meet economic stimulus benchmarks.
The program that meets these tests and serves these goals is an expanded New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit. Legislation will shortly be introduced by Senator David Valesky and Assemblymember Sam Hoyt which will effectively and appropriately expand this program, direct stimulus and rehabilitation activity to distressed areas, and contain costs for New York State…
The Preservation League, and a diverse and growing partnership of business leaders, municipal officials, economic development interests, and a wide array of environmental and preservation organizations [including the Landmark Society] are joining together in a campaign entitled “Reinvest New York” to promote inclusion of this program in the enacted 2009-2010 New York State Budget…
Implementation of an expanded New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit program represents a targeted investment in the downtowns and historic neighborhoods that form the core of municipalities across New York State, and represents exactly the type of investment that New York State should make in difficult economic and budgetary times: a targeted tool that leverages significant federal and private investment and delivers proven results and benefits to municipalities across New York State.
Apparently, according to Confessions of a Preservationist, Maryland, Missouri and Rhode Island, are three states with good tax credit programs that produce significant economic benefits. “In Rhode Island every $1 million in state tax credit investment leverages $5.35 million in total economic output.” Preservationist notes, “In other words, the program more than pays for itself – it generates income for the state and creates jobs while improving our communities.”
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is offering for the first time an opportunity to explore the rustic building tradition long associated with the Adirondacks. For four days tour private and public camps of the Adirondacks led by experts in the field of architectural history and preservation, and local historians. Stops will include Camp Pine Knot, Camp Sagamore, lunch on the WW Durant, camps at Piseco Lake, and Camp Santanoni. The day trips will be supplemented by evening lectures by preservation professionals. Accommodations at Minnowbrook Conference Center in Blue Mountain Lake, meals and local transportation are included. Cost is $1400 for double occupancy and $1700 for single.
To make a reservation or for further information please call 518-834-9328, or send an email to Susan@aarch.org.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage is the private, non-profit, historic preservation organization for the Adirondack Park region. This tour is one of over fifty events in our their series highlighting the region’s architectural legacy.