Category Archives: Historic Preservation

Eleven Projects Receive 2020 New York State Historic Preservation Awards

Historic Hudson Masked Tour: Statewide Historic Preservation Advocacy Organizations were recognized with an Excellence in Historic Preservation Organizational Achievement award. “2020 was unprecedented in its impacts to communities across New York State. The state’s preservation organizations rose to the challenge of programming during a global pandemic and tumultuous political year. Their ingenuity, resilience, and creativity proved that preservation is imperative to quality of life and will be essential in navigating the path to economic recovery.” (Photo by NYS Parks)

Eleven projects preserving New York State’s history, ranging from an eighteenth-century Dutch barn rehabilitation to an artist installation memorializing black lives at John Brown Farm State Historic Site, have received 2020 State Historic Preservation Awards. 

Created in 1980, the State Historic Preservation Awards are awarded by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation each year to honor excellence in the protection and revitalization of historic and cultural resources. The Governor also signed legislation in 2013 to bolster state use of rehabilitation tax credits, which have spurred billions of dollars in completed investments of historic commercial properties and tens of millions in owner-occupied historic homes.

“The 2020 New York State Historic Preservation Awards help bolster efforts to keep New York’s storied history protected and accessible to all,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said.”These historic projects demonstrate the diversity of lived New York experiences since our state’s founding. New York is thankful to the dedicated stewards of each site, who provide invaluable support by devoting countless hours to the protection of historic sites for all to learn from and enjoy.”

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said“The diversity of the projects being recognized demonstrates that preservation begins with passionate local individuals expanding their advocacy into productive partnerships. We are proud to be one of those partners and congratulate all of the individuals and groups for their extraordinary efforts to preserve these historic places.”  

This year’s 2020 State Historic Preservation Awards recipients are:

Binghamton Carnegie Library, Broome County

Excellence in Historic Building Rehabilitation 

The former Carnegie Library in downtown Binghamton was transformed into SUNY Broome’s Culinary and Events Center serving the school’s hospitality programs. The $21.5 million dollar rehabilitation project successfully made use to commercial tax credits to revitalize the historic building into a state-of-the art education and event facility. 

Cropsey Barn, New City, Rockland County

Excellence in Historic Building Rehabilitation & Conservation 

The Cropsey family has made an extraordinary commitment in the rehabilitation and long-term use of a New York State and National Register listed property. In fear of losing an agricultural site to sprawl, the family transferred ownership of their eighteenth-century barn and land to the county with a restrictive covenant ensuring its agricultural future. Working with a group of traditional trades craftspeople and building conservators, the barn had been fully restored and is now used by the local County Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) association for planting and harvesting organically grown products. 

Holley Gardens, Village of Holley, Orleans County

Excellence in Historic Building Rehabilitation

Constructed between 1930 and 1931, the former Holley High had been vacant since 1975.  In 2020, Home Leasing and Edgemere Development completed a dramatic rehabilitation of the building that has created 41 affordable housing units for seniors and new office and meeting space for the village government. The developers utilized both the state Historic Tax Credit and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit programs to assist with the adaptive reuse.  

Dr. Ferguson’s House, Glens Falls, Warren County

Excellence in Historic Building Rehabilitation 

When Dr. Ferguson’s House became threatened with demolition, local preservationists Darren & Lisa Tracy stepped in to rescue it. With careful planning and cooperation, the Tracys rehabilitated the 1870 National Register-listed building using Federal & State Historic Tax Credits for use as an apartment building, thereby saving an important community treasure.

Onderdonck-Tallman-Budke House, Clarkstown, Rockland County

Excellence in Historic Building Rehabilitation

Constructed between the 1790s and 1870s, and last occupied in the 1930s, the Onderdonck-Tallman-Budke House had fallen into disrepair. With the help of town funds, the historic sandstone Dutch house was painstakingly restored and serves as an educational resource in Clarkstown’s Germonds Park.  

Fire Watchtower at Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem, New York City

Excellence in Historic Structure Rehabilitation 

Known to many as the Harlem Fire Watchtower, the 1856 cast iron structure at Marcus Garvey Park is a community landmark owned by the City of New York. Spurred by citizen advocacy, a public-private partnership was established to restore Watchtower, which resulted in sizable contributions from the New York City Council, Mayor, and Borough President’s offices. The resulting rehabilitation preserves an enduring symbol of Harlem’s identity and historic legacy.  

Carnegie Libraries of New York City

Excellence in Historic Documentation  

What began in 2009 as a project by the Historic Districts Council to survey Carnegie Libraries in New York City, culminated in the creation of a Multiple Property Documentation Form that was approved by the National Park Service in September 2020. Establishing the significance of these resources facilitates future listings for these beloved community buildings.

Mary E. Bell House, Center Moriches, Long Island

Excellence in Organizational Achievement  

The restoration and historic registers listing of the Mary E. Bell House preserves a history of black landownership on Long Island during the nineteenth century and documents the central role of women within the Moriches African American community. Constructed in 1872, the home was occupied by the Smith and Bell families for more than 100 years. Owner Mary Bell rose to prominence in the community for her association with the Moriches AME Zion Church. By 2011, the house had fallen into disrepair. The town of Brookhaven acquired the property and a formal agreement with the Ketcham Inn Foundation was entered to restore the building, which now operates as historic site.

Village of Heuvelton, St. Lawrence County 

Excellence in Archeology Stewardship

The Village of Heuvelton unexpectedly discovered several historic burials of the former village “old cemetery” during a water tank and sewer rehabilitation project. Through careful research and coordination with agencies involved, the village successfully and sensitively navigated the challenges of excavating the human remains for further study and re-interment.

Memorial Field for Black Lives, John Brown Farm State Historic Site, Essex County

Excellence in Historic Site Interpretation and Public Engagement

Working with the not-for-profit group John Brown Lives!, Artist Karen Davidson Seward created the Memorial Field for Black Lives as a space to acknowledge the struggle for equality in America in response to the brutal murders of unarmed Black Americans and widespread protests this summer. The exhibit debuted at John Brown Farm State Historic Site, the home and final resting place of an abolitionist who gave his life to end slavery.

Statewide Historic Preservation Advocacy Organizations

Excellence in Historic Preservation Organizational Achievement 

2020 was unprecedented in its impacts to communities across New York State. The state’s preservation organizations rose to the challenge of programming during a global pandemic and tumultuous political year. Their ingenuity, resilience, and creativity proved that preservation is imperative to quality of life and will be essential in navigating the path to economic recovery.  

New York’s Division for Historic Preservation helps communities identify, evaluate, preserve and revitalize their historic, archeological, and cultural resources. The Division works with governments, the public, and educational and not-for-profit organizations to raise historic preservation awareness, to instill in New Yorkers a sense of pride in the state’s unique history and to encourage heritage tourism and community revitalization.

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Newport’s Preservation Society Hosts Online Holiday Auction of Exclusive Experiences

The famous Gold Room at Marble House, one of the Preservation Society of Newport County’s legendary Gilded Age mansions. The Preservation Society is hosting an online Exclusive Experiences Holiday Auction from Nov. 22 through Dec. 6 with proceeds supporting the society’s preservation efforts © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEWPORT, R.I. – The season of giving is fast approaching and, just in time, the Preservation Society of Newport County will be conducting an online Exclusive Experiences Holiday Auction from November 22 through December 6.

Offering unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences that allow people to explore the Newport Mansions in new ways, the Preservation Society is making 19 remarkable packages available for bid. All proceeds from this auction will support the preservation work of the Preservation Society of Newport County.

“If you’re searching for the perfect holiday gift, we are auctioning off some unbelievable experiences that have never been available to the general public,” Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe said. “This is a rare opportunity to create memories for your family, your best friends, and other special people in your lives. And you’ll enjoy the satisfaction of supporting Rhode Island’s largest cultural organization as it continues to preserve and protect 11 historic properties and landscapes, including seven National Historic Landmarks.”

Winning bids will take participants to some extraordinary heights, literally and figuratively. Here are a few examples:

         Enjoy beautiful views of land and sea during a helicopter sightseeing tour for two over Newport before landing on the grounds of The Breakers to receive a personalized and special tour. Top it off with light refreshments.

         Bid on the unequaled opportunity to have a wedding at The Breakers, the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages.” Imagine entertaining family and friends in one of the most opulent settings in the country. The awe-inspiring Great Hall, the palatial Dining Room, the stunning views of the ocean and its breaking waves will leave you and your guests with memories to treasure forever.

         Enjoy a night of “glamping” – glamorous camping – for up to four people on the awning-covered terrace at Rosecliff or Marble House with a catered picnic supper on the back lawn, night-time snacks and a catered breakfast in bed the next morning.

Some of our other auction packages include: a sleepover for eight children, ages 8-17, and up to four adult chaperones in The Great Hall of The Breakers; a New England clambake for up to 20 at Green Animals Topiary Garden; an in-depth tour of The Elms highlighted by the very rare opportunity to enjoy a French-inspired dinner for 10 guests at the Dining Room table; and a catered reception and three-course dinner for up to 10 people in The Gold Room at Marble House.

For the complete list and description of all of the amazing packages the Preservation Society will make available during this Exclusive Experiences Holiday Auction, check www.newportmansions.org beginning Friday, November 20. Note: there is no time restriction on any of the auction items, so now is the time to plan for post-COVID-19 days.

Send questions about the auction to events@newportmansions.org.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020, is a nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history. Its 11 historic properties – seven of them National Historic Landmarks – span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

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On Centennial of 19th amendment, NYS Announces Preservation Project of Historic Susan B. Anthony Childhood Home

“Wave” Sculpture puts you in the march toward the first Women’s Rights Convention, at Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls. New York State is marking the centennial of the 19th amendment by allocating money to preserve and restore Susan B. Anthony’s childhood home in Battenville © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

On the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an effort to stabilize and preserve the childhood home of prominent 19th century women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony, in Washington County. The work at the 1832 two-story brick home on Route 29 in Battenville where Anthony lived from ages 13 to 19, which includes repairs to the roof, masonry and drainage, as well as mold remediation and water damage, is expected to be complete by September.

“New York has been the birthplace to many of the progressive movements that have left an indelible mark on our society while pushing the nation forward and particularly for women’s suffrage, which began at Seneca Falls and included legendary New Yorkers such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and so many more,”Governor Cuomo said. “As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, we must also recognize there is more work to be done. New York will continue to lead the nation in creating greater equality for all and we are proud to preserve and enhance this important part of American history for future generations.”

“On the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, this development will stabilize Susan B. Anthony’s childhood home in Washington County, allowing for the reuse of the property,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “While the Susan B. Anthony House and Museum in Rochester showcases the history of one of the world’s greatest revolutionaries, this project will further preserve Anthony’s legacy in New York State. As the birthplace of the women’s rights movement, New York was the first major state to grant the right to vote in the country, leading the way for the 19th Amendment. As we celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage, we still have more work to do to achieve true equality and justice. Now more than ever, we must embrace this time to continue to fight for real change.”

This year is also the 200th anniversary of Susan B. Anthony’s birth, in 1820. The child of a Quaker family that promoted abolition and temperance, she lived in Washington County, in Battenville and later in Center Falls, from 1826 to 1845 between the ages of 6 and 25 before her family moved to Rochester.

Governor Cuomo also announced that the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which is managing the $695,000 stabilization project, has reached a purchase agreement on an adjoining four-acre site that contains a former historic tavern dating to the period when the Anthony family lived next door. Supported by the state Environmental Protection Fund, the $130,500 purchase will allow for future creation of adequate parking for the Anthony home and serve as a staging area for continued phased redevelopment of the building for an as-yet undetermined future use.

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “Part of our mission is the preservation of our state’s historic legacy. The home where Susan B. Anthony spent her formative years has a story to tell and we want to get the home in the proper condition, so it one day is able to tell it.”

The stabilization project is supported by a $250,000 grant obtained by state Assembly Member Carrie Woerner and the remainder from New York Works; support was also obtained by State Senator Betty Little.

The Battenville home was built in 1832-33 by Anthony’s father who had moved the family from Adams, Mass., to manage a cotton mill on the nearby Battenkill River. At the age of 13, Susan joined the Easton Society of Friends. The Anthonys lost their home in 1839 due to financial setbacks caused by a national financial recession in 1837. The former family residence was in a state of disrepair by the time State Parks purchased it at foreclosure for $1 in 2006.

Anthony, who died in 1906 at age 86, worked for decades to advance women’s rights, but did not live to see the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. She is buried in Rochester.

“To have played a small role in preserving this unique part of the history of Susan B. Anthony’s life truly is a privilege,” Greenwich Supervisor Donald Ward said. “The Town of Greenwich is supportive of NYS efforts to revitalize the Anthony home. The home is a symbol of those Suffragettes that battled for the Womens Right to Vote. In the future we are hoping the SBA house will become a historical site bringing visitors to Greenwich and honoring our hometown heroine. It is my hope that in doing so we are helping assure that the magnitude of her accomplishments, her courage and her unwillingness to yield in the face of enormous obstacles will never be forgotten.   As we commemorate the centennial of women’s suffrage this year, we celebrate the life of this remarkable woman who recognized that the ideals enshrined in the U.S. Constitution are, in fact, a call to action to be better individuals and to be a better nation.” 

Assembly Member Carrie Woerner said, “Susan B. Anthony’s contributions to our nation through the Women’s Suffrage movement are crucial pieces of history, and on the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment I am pleased to see her homestead in Washington County brought back to life for countless generations to visit and learn from. The dedication and relentless passion of local community leaders have been essential in the restoration of this historic property and I am glad to continue to lend my support to this project.”

Salem Supervisor Evera Sue Clary said, “We are honored to support the woman whose formative years were spent here on the banks of the Battenkill. Susan B. Anthony reminds us of the power of women, the power of the vote, and the importance of taking risks in order to force necessary change in our society. May she continue to inspire our local youth and beyond to create good trouble she is remembered for. ” 

“I have passed that schoolhouse thousands of times. It at one time way back bordered my family property,” Jackson Supervisor Jay Skellie said. “Some of my relatives attended it and my grandmother taught there for a short time. To think that events that happened there to Susan B Anthony set her course in life which would change history for women in the U.S. is mind blowing.”

Ann Kril, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County, said, “It is fitting that NYS announces the work to preserve the childhood home of suffragist Susan B. Anthony on this 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which is also the 100th anniversary of the transformation of the National Woman Suffrage Association into the League of Women Voters.”

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails and boat launches, which were visited by a record 77 million people in 2019. A recent university study found that spending by State Parks and its visitors supports $5 billion in output and sales, 54,000 private-sector jobs and more than $2.8 billion in additional state GDP. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit parks.ny.gov, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. The free New York State Parks Explorer mobile app is available for iOS and Android devices. To download, visit: Google Play Store, NY State Parks Explorer App or Apple Store, NY State Parks Explorer App.

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Long Island’s American Airpower Museum Reopens August 1 with Flyovers of WWII Bombers, Fighters

A fly-by of World War II era planes from the American Air Power Museum, Long Island’s only flying military aviation museum, at the popular Jones Beach Air Show. The museum reopens August 1 with a special event featuring flyovers of WWII era bombers and fighters © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Farmingdale, NY– The American Airpower Museum, Long Island’s only flying military aviation museum, is mounting a Grand Reopening special event on Saturday, August 1, 2020.  Like all other New York State museums, the American Airpower Museum (AAM) was forced to close due to the Coronavirus outbreak, resulting in the cancellation of half of the Museum’s 2020 flight season.  AAM’s iconic WWII bombers and fighters return to action with an exciting family-friendly flight demonstration.

Join AAM on August 1, at 11:00 a.m., when World War II and other vintage aircraft depart from AAM’s ramp to take to the skies over Long Island’s north and south shores. Aircraft will create camera-ready opportunities as they perform low-level passes over Republic Airport where AAM is based.  These flights will feature AAM’s Grumman TBM Avenger, two North American T6 Texans, the AT28D5 Vietnam era combat fighter, the WACO Biplane and as an added attraction, L-39 cold war era Russian jets.

2020 was slated to be a banner year for AAM.  Museum aircraft were scheduled to participate in historic events marking the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII and honoring U.S. Veterans who made the Allied victory possible.  As they have done for the last 17 years, AAM’s WWII airplanes were going to appear in the Annual Jones Beach Airshow.  And it must be noted that on May 24th 2020, the American Airpower Museum celebrated its 20th anniversary in isolation.

At the end of the 2019 season, AAM took their aircraft “off line” for the winter to begin scheduled maintenance and inspections, making sure the Warbirds would be ready for a full 2020 flight season.  Sometime in early January, the coronavirus outbreak hit our shores.  Public health and safety concerns led AAM’s Board of Directors to preemptively close the Museum on March 16th for two weeks.  “The health and safety of our staff, volunteers and the public was foremost,” said Jeff Clyman, AAM president.  “That’s why we acted early and sent everyone home, causing a total cessation of work on our aircraft,” he added.  Then on March 22nd, New York State ordered all non-essential businesses statewide to close.  Two weeks became three months.

Clyman said it has always been AAM’s mission to honor the legacy of those who gave all to preserve our freedoms.  “We’re pleased to announce we recently resumed maintenance and inspection of our aircraft so that much anticipated flight operations can begin with our grand reopening event.  We also promise a flying salute to our Veterans and front line workers very soon,” he said.  

Admission for adults is $13, seniors and veterans $10 and children $8.  Due to the need for social distancing, admission will be limited to first come/first served.  A maximum attendance of 150 persons will be allowed on the outdoor ramp area, with limited access to the Museum.  All visitors will be required to wear face masks and will have their temperatures digitally taken at the entrance.  As a special promotion, the first 20 people admitted will be included in a raffle for WACO Biplane flights later in the summer (limit one per family).  So bring lunch, hang out and enjoy the AAM experience.

If you are unable to come to the event on Saturday, August 1st,  your can still help AAM offset major financial losses incurred during the Covid-19 shutdown, by using a secure PayPal link at: www.americanairpowermuseum.com/donate/ to make a tax-deductible contribution – any amount is appreciated — or for more information on corporate donations, call Jacky Clyman, AAM executive vice president, at (917) 690-1965 or jacky@cockpitusa.com.

The American Airpower Museum is an aviation museum located on the landmarked former site of Republic Aviationat Republic Airport, Farmingdale, NY.  The Museum maintains a collection of aviation artifacts and an array of aircraft spanning the many years of the aircraft factory’s history.  The Museum is a 501 (c) (3) Nonprofit Educational Foundation.

The American Airpower Museum, Hangar 3, 1230 New Highway, Farmingdale, NY 11735, 631-293-6398, info@americanairpowermuseum.org, www.americanairpowermuseum.com.

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Two Historic Maine Windjammers Begin Sailing this Season

Maine Windjammer cruise aboard the historic Stephen Tabor (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.

Rockland, ME – Two of the eight members of the historic Maine Windjammers fleet have opted to meet the stringent standards in wake of the COVID-19 health emergency and sail in 2020: the Stephen Tabor and the Ladona.

Usually the “fit out” season to get boats ready for sailing goes from March through late May with a Memorial Day start to the season for the Maine Windjammer Association, the largest fleet of working windjammers in America. This year, it’s taken until mid-July for boats to start sailing, but the hurdles to start the season have gone well beyond fit-out.  The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt until July 1st when Governor Janet Mills allowed overnight windjammer cruises in Maine to re-open.  Throughout that time, members of the Maine Windjammer Association were busy working with the Dept of Marine Resources to create guidance for a safe sailing environment. 

To sail in 2020, the overnight windjammer trips need to meet guidelines for lodging, restaurants and windjammers on top of the rigorous Coast Guard licensing requirements. To date, two of the eight members of the fleet have opted to sail in 2020.

No sector of the tourism industry is required to meet such stringent guidelines, yet for Captain Noah Barnes of the Schooner Stephen Taber, the guidelines ensure that passengers will be safe. “We’ve taken it one step further than the already stringent protocols, and are asking every guest who comes sailing with us to attest to a negative COVID-19 test,” said Captain Noah.  “This is one way we can safeguard the guests and crew on board this summer,” he added. In addition, stringent sanitization and cleaning, social distancing and safety protocols will be in place for those sailing this summer.  For complete information on COVID-19 safety procedures and protocols aboard Schooners Ladona and Stephen Taber, click here.

The Schooner Ladona was the first to set sail on Saturday, July 18.  Schooner Stephen Taber’s first trip departed on July 23 with live entertainment provided by the Charlie Nobles Band.

“We’re doing everything we can do to help people get out and enjoy a sailing vacation on board a beautiful windjammer this summer,” said Captain Noah. “We’ve put safety measures and cleaning protocols in place and changed itineraries to visit more remote uninhabited islands to give plenty of room for social distancing while ashore,” he added. “Will it be the same kind of windjammer cruise everyone knows and loves? Hey, you can’t take the beauty of the Maine coast or the freedom of sailing by wind power away. The rush of jumping off the bowsprit into refreshing Maine harbors and knuckling down on a lobster baked on the beach will still be ingredients of your windjammer trips this summer,” he added.

Six of the Maine Windjammer Association fleet captains have opted to cancel trips this season and are looking toward 2021.  Many issues played into their decisions.  All members of the Maine Windjammer Association have already created 2021 schedules, available on SailMaineCoast.com for those who like to plan trips in advance.

“We’ve had some huge hurdles to overcome in order to leave the dock this week,” said J.R. Braugh, Captain of the Schooner Ladona. “We’re glad that we’re going to be able to offer guests the ideal summer vacation in Maine – sailing aboard a beautifully restored wind-driven schooner taking in Maine scenery and allowing Mother Nature to soothe stressed bodies, minds and souls in the perfect unplugged vacation,” he added.

For more information on the schedules for 2020 and 2021 sailing seasons, and to learn more about the Maine Windjammer Association fleet, visit https://SailMaineCoast.com.

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Greater Williamsburg, Virginia, Attractions Reopen for Visitors With Health Protocols

Discover personal stories of enslaved and free African Americans on both sides of the American Revolution and their contributions toward establishing an independent nation in “Forgotten Soldier,” a special exhibition at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown (photo courtesy of Greater Williamsburg)

Greater Williamsburg, Virginia, arguably America’s first outdoor destination established in 1609, is easily accessible by car from many East Coast cities and is now back in business welcoming vacationers from near and far. Area attractions, lodging, dining, and other industry partners have started to reopen or begun to announce reopening plans and timelines along with some exciting improvements and updates.

While there are new restrictions and guidelines being followed in this post-quarantine world, the major attractions that make this iconic destination so famous are open or will open soon, including Colonial Williamsburg, American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Jamestown Settlement, Historic Jamestowne, Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, most restaurants, hotels, resorts, wineries, breweries and more. 

To encourage visitation to the region, the Williamsburg Tourism Council has launched a new “Life. At Your Pace” marketing campaign to remind guests that the region’s varied and diverse attractions and experiences – from kayaking to Segway tours of battlefields, from brew pubs to amusement parks and golf – offer everyone from all walks of life multiple experiences that allow them to explore at their own pace and comfort level.

Travelers should come to Williamsburg prepared and follow all CDC and local health guidance including practicing good hygiene and social distancing, wearing facial coverings in public spaces both indoors and outdoors, and staying home and not visiting while sick. For a full and most up-to-date list of what is open as well as health and wellness guidelines, visit www.visitwilliamsburg.com.

As of June 23, 2020, here is an overview of what’s open in Greater Williamsburg.  As information continues to change, please visit respective websites for updates and the latest policies.

Williamsburg

  • Restaurants in Merchants Square have expanded outdoor seating areas, which has also been enhanced with the addition of new outdoor dining furniture on Duke of Gloucester Street from North Henry to Boundary Street. New restaurants include David Everett’s La Piazza, offering handmade pastas and light Mediterranean fare and Wythe Candy & Gourmet Shop, and there are also new stores catering to fashion, home furnishings, interior design, and gardening. Additional information can be found at merchantssquare.org.
  • Colonial Williamsburg reopened several of its historic interpretation sites on a limited basis on June 14. The art museums, Governor’s Palace, Capitol, Courthouse, Weaver trade shop, Carpenter’s Yard, Peyton Randolph Yard, Colonial Garden, Magazine yard, Armoury Yard, Brickyard, George Wythe Yard and Curtis Square will operate at reduced capacity and follow site-specific guidelines developed as part of the foundation’s COVID-19 business resumption plan, consistent with the state’s Phase 2 requirements. The Williamsburg Lodge and the Market House, Colonial Williamsburg’s open-air market on Duke of Gloucester Street, is open. Several changes have been made to the guest experience for the initial reopening, including moving interpretive programming outdoors. Ticketed guests can also expect limited interaction with interpretive staff. The foundation will open additional sites and expand programming in coming weeks. 
    • JULY 4th: Colonial Williamsburg also has special programming to celebrate the Fourth of July, including readings of the Declaration of Independence, a dramatic program titled “Created Equal,” a pig roast at Chowning’s Tavern Garden, and more. Due to social-distancing requirements and state gathering restrictions intended to limit health risks associated with COVID-19, this year’s fireworks as well as performances by Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes & Drums are cancelled. A community-wide grand reopening event is planned for after the state enters Phase 3 of its “Forward Virginia” reopening plan. The latest information about July 4th programming in Colonial Williamsburg can be found at colonialwilliamsburg.org/july4.
  • Williamsburg Premium Outlets has reopened with most store hours from noon to 7 p.m. 
  • Go Ape Treetop Adventure and Journey reopened its Freedom Park location in James City County on June 5. New regulations and procedures include reduced session capacities to adhere to social distancing requirements, advanced reservations, completing waivers online prior to arrival, and credit cards only.
  • On June 10, the Colonial National Historical Park reopened access to the Colonial Parkway for vehicle traffic from Highway 199 (west of Colonial Williamsburg) to Jamestown Island. More details will be provided soon when full operations are resumed.
  • Busch Gardens, Water Country USA and Great Wolf Lodge are slated to open soon…

Yorktown

  • Yorktown Market Days returned to its regular time and waterfront location at Riverwalk Landing on June 13 and will run on Saturdays through the end of October, rain or shine, with the exceptions of July 4 and Oct. 3
  • American Revolution Museum at Yorktown was scheduled to reopen on June 24. Adjustments to museum operations include limited capacity in the outdoor living-history areas including buildings and structures as well as the indoor museum theater, gallery films and galleries. Additional details on summer programming and special events will be announced soon.
    • Special exhibition The Forgotten Soldier: African Americans in the Revolutionary War”will also reopen on June 24 for an extended two-week showing through July 8. Forgotten Soldier explores the personal stories of enslaved and free African Americans on both sides of the American Revolution and illuminates the difficult choices and risks faced by African Americans during a revolutionary time in history and the varied and indispensable roles they played during the war and beyond.
    • JULY 4th: Visitors can salute the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence during Liberty Celebration at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, including interpretive programs, artillery demonstrations, a rare July 1776 broadside of the Declaration of Independence, patriotic programming in outdoor recreations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm, and more. 
  • Yorktown’s Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival has been rescheduled for Aug. 9 from noon to 6 pm. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Attendees can sample more than 30 different craft beers, dig into some of the region’s finest BBQ, and listen to some of the best Blues musicians in Hampton Roads. 

Jamestown

  • Jamestown Settlement was scheduled to reopen on June 24. Adjustments to museum operations include limited capacity in the outdoor living-history areas including buildings, structures and ships as well as the indoor museum theater, gallery films and galleries. Additional details on summer programming and special events will be announced soon.
  • Historic Jamestowne reopened on June 29. All public programs will take place outside and follow social distancing protocols. Tickets will be available for purchase starting June 22, and visitors are encouraged to purchase online at https://historicjamestowne.org/visit/tickets-2/. Contact-less payment will be available on-site (no cash accepted).

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Newport Mansions Open their Doors Virtually During Closure

The famous Gold Room at Alva Vanderbilt’s Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island, epitomizes the Gilded Age. While the Preservation Society of Newport mansions are closed, you can visit virtually. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEWPORT, R.I. – The Preservation Society of Newport County is offering new virtual tours of its historic houses and recent exhibitions as a free activity for people to enjoy while the house museums are closed.

Visitors to the Preservation Society’s website, NewportMansions.org, now can take self-guided 3-D tours through The Elms, Marble House, Isaac Bell House and Hunter House. They can also virtually experience two previous exhibitions at Rosecliff: “John James Audubon: Obsession Untamed” and “Tiffany Glass: Painting With Color and Light.”

Here is the link: www.newportmansions.org/exhibitions/virtual-exhibition-tours

“We have had a phenomenal reaction to this,” Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe said. “Everybody has been through a Newport  Mansion, but it gives you the opportunity, on a room-by-room basis, to zoom in on an object you might not have noticed.”

Preservation Society Research Fellow Sébastien Dutton is working to complete more of these virtual tours, and they will be posted as they are finished. This work is being supervised by Leslie Jones, Director of Museum Affairs and Chief Curator.

“This technology allows us to digitize the interiors of all our historic properties, in an effort not only to bring these spaces and their content to the public, but also as a matter of our core preservation principles,” Jones said. “It allows for us to not only visually account for the interiors and their aesthetics and the placement of objects, but it also allows us to have accurate measurements of every floor space, every ceiling height, down to the millimeter.”

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020, is a nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history. Its 11 historic properties – seven of them National Historic Landmarks – span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development. For more information, visit NewportMansions.org.

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NYS to Invest $300 Million to “Reimagine” Erie Canal, Expand Recreational Activities, Finish 750-Mile Empire State Trail

As part of the $300 million plan to “Reimagine” the Erie Canal, a 750-mile Empire State Trail will be completed, including closing gaps of Erie Canalway that makes possible the annual  eight-day, 400-mile, Cycle the Erie bike tour (registration now open) © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

by Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

This is huge for New York State’s tourism and recreational opportunities: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s is proposing a $300 million plan to reimagine the Erie Canal by creating recreational activities on the Canal to boost tourism and recreational fishing, mitigate flooding, enhance irrigation and restore wetlands. 

“When the Erie Canal was created in the 19th century it set the state and the nation on a path to prosperity, and this year we will repurpose the canal to fit our state’s 21st century needs,” Governor Cuomo said. “This bold and visionary plan to transform this historic waterway will build on the success of the Empire State Trail (750 miles of connected bikeways), grow tourism across Upstate New York, improve resilience of today’s Canal communities and ensure the economic sustainability of the waterway into the future.”

“The canals have played a crucial role in New York’s history and growth, and with the implementation of these new exciting projects, the canals will remain a vital force and make a positive contribution to the economic well-being and quality of life in the 225 communities they travel through,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

A first phase of funding starting this year – through the New York Power Authority Board which oversees the Canal Corporation as a subsidiary –  includes a $100 million economic development fund to invest in communities along the Canal and a separate $65 million investment in solutions that will help prevent ice jams and related flooding in the Schenectady area.

The remaining $135 million of the plan’s funding will subsequently be allocated to research recommended by the Reimagine Task Force, as well as to solutionsrelated to flood mitigation, invasive species prevention and ecosystem restoration.

New Economic Development Fund for Canal Communities

In the first phase of the program, a $100 million economic development fund will support projects that adaptively reuse canal infrastructure to enhance water recreation, tie the Canal’s new recreational improvements to the Governor’s Empire State Trail, celebrate historic canal structures, and develop unique canalside attractions and activities. Roughly $25 million of that will be allocated immediately to a set of initial projects:

Connecting Communities: The “Brockport Loop” project in Monroe County will connect SUNY College at Brockport to the Empire State Trailand the village of Brockport through the transformation of a canal guard-gate into a pedestrian bridge and overlook, with a supporting grant of $2 million from the Ralph Wilson Foundation. 

Celebrating “Iconic Infrastructure”: Interactive, hydro-powered illumination of Canal “movable dams” – initially in Amsterdam and Canajoharie in the Mohawk River valley – will celebrate the Canal’s heritage and its history as an engineering marvel.

Expanding Water Recreation: A new whitewater destination, at the north end of Cayuga Lake near Seneca Falls, will rely on existing water control infrastructure to construct an active water sports course adjacent to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, to increase eco-tourism and sport visitors to the region.

Adapting Industrial Property for New Uses: Winner of the Reimagine the Canals competition, a canalside pocket neighborhood, will be developed by Madison County in Central New York at a former industrial property in Canastota along the Old Erie Canal – demonstrating a new model for 21st century canalside living.

Developing Destination Accommodations: The historic Guy Park Manor, on the Mohawk River in Amsterdam, will be reborn as a hospitality destination and a pedestrian bridge constructed across the already-existing Canal lock will provide access to additional overnight accommodation along the Empire State Trail on the opposite side of the river.

World-Class Fishing and Restored Wetlands 

To create world-class fishing in Western New York, the new plan recommends managing water releases from the Canal to enhance fish habitat, improve angling opportunities, and extend the fall fishing season in Lake Ontario tributaries. It also includes funding to expand public fishing access along key streams in Orleans, Monroe and Niagara Counties. In addition, it identifies a program to divert Canal water to restore and re-nourish wetlands in Central New York that were compromised a century ago by the Canal’s construction. This will allow areas in close proximity to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, a migratory stopover for more than 1 million birds each year, to be significantly enhanced to further attract naturalists, locals, and visitors from throughout the region and beyond. 

Ideas in this plan originated from the Reimagine the Canals Task Force recommendations,  launched by Governor Cuomo in May of 2019 to pursue a comprehensive investigation of how the 195-year-old Erie Canal could be reimagined for the 21st century. The Reimagine the Canals Task Force Report  was just released.

The Task Force engaged with municipal leaders, stakeholders, local business owners, scientists and other experts, along with community members, to identify opportunities and solutions that support a new vision for future investments in the waterway. Many of the ideas that the Task Force explored came from the completed Reimagine the Canals competition, held last year by the New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation. SUNY’s Rockefeller Institute of Government, on behalf of the Task Force, conducted a series of outreach sessions during the summer in five canal communities – Lockport, Brockport, Schenectady, Utica and Syracuse – to solicit new ideas from the public at large. Ideas were also solicited on a Reimagine the Canals website, offering more distant canal users an opportunity to provide their views to the Task Force.

The “Reimagine” initiative builds on successful efforts by Governor Cuomo to invest in the canal corridor, including the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative and successful Taste NY program, which have stoked new industries, businesses and housing in canal communities. Harnessing the Canal’s full potential to attract more tourism and recreation is a key focus of the Initiative. Governor Cuomo and state agency and authority staff will collaborate with Empire Line communities and continue to consult with Task Force members and other stakeholders to ensure the success of projects as they move forward. 

There are 1.6 million trips taken annually on the Erie Canal Trailway, the former towpath used by mules and horses to pull barges in the canals’ early days. The Trailway is part of Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Trail, which at 750 miles will be the largest state multi-use trail network when completed in late 2020. Governor DeWitt Clinton began work on the original Erie Canal on July 4, 1817. 

In addition to investing $300 million in the Canal System, there are also plans to create two new state parks in the Hudson Valley, add 4,000 acres of land to parks and introduce a $3 billion “Restore Mother Nature” bond act.

Meanwhile, registration has opened for the 22nd Annual Cycle the Erie, eight-day 400-mile, fully supported biking/camping trip, from Buffalo to Albany, operated by Parks & Trails NY, taking place July 12-19, 2020. For information on Cycle the Erie Canal, call Parks & Trails New York, 518-434-1583, email eriecanaltour@ptny.org or visit www.ptny.org/cycle-the-erie-canal.

(See our series on Cycle the Erie, at goingplacesfarandnear.com)

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Save Venice Launches Immediate Response Fund Following Historic November Floods In Venice, Italy

Venice under water. Save Venice, an American non-profit organization, has formed an Immediate Response Fund for artistic and cultural heritage recovery following the extreme floods (acque alte) that devastated Venice between November 12-17, 2019 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Save Venice, an American nonprofit organization, has formed an Immediate Response Fund for artistic and cultural heritage recovery following the extreme floods (acque alte) that devastated Venice between November 12-17, 2019. The Embassy of Italy in Washington DC and Save Venice are partnering to raise funds for the Immediate Response Fund, which will support urgent relief efforts and preventative conservation. Donations can be made at savevenice.org/donate by selecting the Immediate Response Fund, and will be matched by Save Venice, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000 through February 2020.

“Save Venice was born in the aftermath of the terrible floods of November 1966, and the November 2019 floods underscore the urgency of our mission,” said Save Venice Chairman Frederick Ilchman. “The Immediate Response Fund will allow Save Venice to move quickly to mitigate the effects of corrosive saltwater and deposits in flooded churches, museums, and comparable public buildings, to support emergency conservation treatment for paintings, stonework, floors, wooden furnishings, and books and archival documents, as well as to undertake preventative conservation to minimize damage from future floods. We will continue to do what our track record proves we do best: protect Venice’s irreplaceable artistic heritage.”

The Italian Ambassador, Armando Varricchio, noted, “Venice has deep historical roots and is a modern and vibrant city, innovative and open to the future with a strong entrepreneurial and industrial background. Venice and Venetians are resilient. They will rise to this challenge,” adding that “the legacy of the past, the energy and dynamism of nowadays Venice are the solid foundations on which to build a bright future for the city.”

Dr. Ilchman said, “We are honored to partner with the Embassy of Italy on this important initiative to make a difference for Venice, and we express our gratitude to Ambassador Varricchio.”

Headquartered in New York City, Save Venice maintains a full-time office in Venice with staff members diligently overseeing each conservation site. They are collaborating with conservators and local authorities to assist with damage assessment and plans for the recovery process. As new environmental challenges arise, Save Venice and its family of experts are prepared to devise and implement additional preservation protocols. The Board of Directors of Save Venice is convinced that the time to act is now.

Save Venice is a leading American non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the artistic heritage of Venice, Italy for the world. Founded in response to the floods of 1966, the worst in recorded history, and incorporated in 1971, Save Venice has since worked tirelessly to preserve, protect, and promote the art and culture of Venice and has funded the conservation of more than 550 projects comprising over 1,000 individual artworks. In 2015, Save Venice established the Rosand Library & Study Center in Venice, creating a nexus for the research of Venetian art, history, and conservation. Save Venice also provides grants for fellowships, exhibitions, and publications to advance Venetian scholarship and conservation.

For more information about Save Venice, visit: www.savevenice.org

Facebook, Instagram & Twitter: @SaveVeniceInc

National Trust Issues Appeal to Help Save America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2019

National Mall Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C. is on the National Trust for Historic Preservation list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2019 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By National Trust for Historic Preservation

Each year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation puts out an emergency call to protect the most endangered historic places. This year’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places sheds light on important examples of our nation’s heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. Over 300 places have been listed in its 32-year history, and in that time, fewer than 5 percent of listed sites have been lost.

The 2019 list includes a diverse mix of historic places across America that face a range of challenges and threats, from climate change to inappropriate development to neglect and disuse.

Find out what you can do to support these irreplaceable sites:

Tenth Street Historic District, Dallas, Texas

ADD YOUR NAME

Primarily settled by formerly enslaved people after the Civil War, Dallas’ Tenth Street Historic District includes a collection of buildings dating from the late 19th to early 20th century. A 2010 change to a local ordinance allowed the city to obtain demolition permits for houses less than 3,000 square feet without Landmark Commission review, which is substantially increasing the rate of demolition. To date, at least 70 of the district’s 260 homes have been demolished.

To challenge this local law, a local preservation group filed a lawsuit against the City of Dallas. Add your name to our petition telling the City of Dallas to amend or repeal this unjust city ordinance.

Nashville’s Music Row, Nashville, Tennessee

ADD YOUR NAME

Nashville’s Music Row is a world-class musical mecca that harbors more than 200 music-related businesses, making it unlike any other place in the world. Out of its modest homes and large commercial buildings has emerged an unmatched canon of music recordings across a wide variety of musical styles, which has delighted music fans for generations.

Despite its critical role in the identity, economy, and culture of internationally renowned “Music City,” Music Row is on pace to becoming a thing of the past. Since 2013, 50 buildings—the majority serving music-related functions—have been demolished to make way for new development. With a new plan to guide Music Row’s future under development, now is an important time to urge Nashville lawmakers to preserve and protect this epicenter of America’s musical heritage.

James R. Thompson Center, Chicago, Illinois

ADD YOUR NAME

The James R. Thompson Center is Chicago’s best example of grand-scale Postmodern architecture. But Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed legislation allowing for sale of the building within two years to help fill a state budget gap. Without preservation protections, the Thompson Center could be demolished. Add your name to our list urging Governor Pritzker to require retention and reuse of the Thompson Center when the building is sold.

Industrial Trust Company Building, Providence, Rhode Island

An iconic part of the Providence skyline, the 1928 Industrial Trust Company Building is under threat due to deterioration and deferred maintenance after six years of vacancy. While this site is located within a qualified “Opportunity Zone” (an area eligible for capital gains tax incentive benefits), there is no redevelopment plan for the so-called Superman Building, and its future is in question. Read More.

Ancestral Places of Southeast Utah, Southeast Utah

SEND A LETTER

Archaeologists believe this area to be one of the country’s most culturally rich but unprotected landscapes open to oil and gas extraction. In the last two years, the Bureau of Land Management dramatically escalated leasing activity in the region, despite concerns from the National Trust, affected tribes, and our regional partners. Send a letter to the Department of the Interior urging them to recognize the cultural significance of these lands.

The Excelsior Club, Charlotte, North Carolina

Listed in the Green Book, the Excelsior Club was a leading private African American social club in the Southeast, hosting artists like Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong during its heyday. The Art Moderne building needs significant investment. The property is currently listed for sale for $1.5 million, but even if a buyer is found, a reuse plan and significant investments are necessary to ensure a strong future. Read more.

National Mall Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C.

ADD YOUR NAME

This iconic cultural landscape comprises some of our nation’s most renowned monuments and famed cherry blossom trees. It’s estimated that as much as $500 million is needed to upgrade and maintain one of the most popular and visited sites in the National Park System. Join our three-year campaign to ensure the Tidal Basin is preserved for future generations.

Hacienda Los Torres, Lares, Puerto Rico

SIGN THE PETITION

Hacienda Los Torres—built in 1846 during the height of Puerto Rico’s coffee industry by Jose Maria Torres—is one of the last historic coffee plantation houses on the island and one of the oldest remaining structures in Puerto Rico. It’s also associated with the “Grito de Lares” revolt and the Spanish-American War.

Long-term deterioration and the effects of multiple hurricanes, including Hurricane Maria in 2017, threaten this historic site. Support saving Hacienda Los Torres.

Willert Park Courts, Buffalo, New York

ADD YOUR NAME

This complex, a unique example of early Modernism with bas-reliefs depicting scenes of everyday life, was New York State’s first housing project constructed specifically for African Americans. Today, the site is vacant and many of its structures are open to the elements. The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority has proposed demolishing the complex to construct replacement housing.

Ask the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority to preserve and redevelop rather than demolish this important site.

Mount Vernon Arsenal and Searcy Hospital, Mount Vernon, Alabama

ADD YOUR NAME

This arsenal was held by the Confederacy during the Civil War and housed Geronimo and approximately 400 Apache prisoners of war during the 1880s and 1890s. The hospital complex served as a segregated mental health facility for African Americans after 1900. The complex closed in 2012 and is currently vacant and deteriorating. Tell the Alabama Department of Mental Health that you support the site’s preservation and economic revitalization.

Bismarck-Mandan Rail Bridge, Bismarck, North Dakota

ADD YOUR NAME

The Bismarck-Mandan Rail Bridge connects Bismarck and Mandan, North Dakota. Constructed in 1883, it was the first rail bridge built across the upper Missouri River. The iconic bridge has been recognized as an International Site of Conscience for the role it played in opening the western United States to white settlement—and the resulting profound impacts to Native American communities—but it has been proposed for demolition by railway company BNSF.

The Coast Guard is in consultation with BNSF and other parties under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The Coast Guard has proposed a conditional permit that would require BNSF to retain the historic bridge until after an adjacent new bridge is constructed, in order to allow time to identify a preservation solution for the Bismarck-Mandan Rail Bridge. Tell the Coast Guard not to allow demolition of this iconic bridge.

For more information, follow us on Twitter and join the conversation using the hashtag #11Most.

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