Auburn, NY, invites you to celebrate International Underground Railroad Month this September by introducing an innovative app that offers two self-guided driving tours—a 24-stop exploration in Auburn and a 27-site adventure across Cayuga County. The app seamlessly blends technology and history, bringing the Underground Railroad to life.
Auburn, renowned as the chosen home of Harriet Tubman, an iconic figure in the Underground Railroad, has a rich history of freedom-seeking efforts that predates her arrival.
The Underground Railroad in Cayuga County thrived as early as the 1830s, thanks to a diverse group of individuals dedicated to helping those seeking freedom. By the 1850s, Cayuga County was home to around 400 Black residents, with 200 in Auburn alone, many of whom were descendants of the region’s earliest settlers.
Additionally, visitors can enjoy an in-person guided experience led by Ted Freeman, a descendant of Harry and Kate Freeman, with deep ties to the Underground Railroad and the New Guinea Negro Settlement. Harry and Kate Freeman were the co-founders of the city of Auburn, New York. They were taken and made slaves from Guinea, Africa, later freed by the Mansfield Decree in England and came to the colonies as indentured servants who fought in the Revolutionary War, and created one of the most important stations and terminals during the Underground Railroad Movement.
“We believe this innovative technology and guided experience offer a fresh perspective on our past, empowering us to shape the future,” says Claire Dunlap, Director of Sales at Tour Cayuga.
This project, supported by extensive research, identifies historic sites that remain on Cayuga County’s landscape, serving as reminders of the people who committed their lives to freedom.
America’s Highest Railroad The “Grandest” Railway A 150-Year Old Narrow Gauge Railroad And One RR that runs in “A Hole in The Ground”
There is just something about historic railroads. Unfortunately, many of the engines and trains that have been saved are static. Lifeless. But there are places in America where you can see a steam engine come alive and run at speed (go fast), where you can climb America’s only accessible 14,000-foot mountain, ride on a 150-year old railroad lost in time and coming back to life in the beautiful valleys of central Pennsylvania and ride on the original subway cars from 1916 and 1930’s to places such Coney Island in Brooklyn. This is where open windows, strap hangers and swaying cars are as fun as the rides found at Coney Island. Yes, there are great train rides this summer, and here’s a ticket to four of the most interesting.
THE BROADMOOR, MANITOU & PIKES PEAK COG RAILWAY
(Manitou, CO to the summit at Pikes Peak – 14,115 feet)
Climb every mountain. Well, there is only one 14-thousand-foot mountain in the US that you don’t have to climb. You can take the train. A unique train – a cog. At The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway, America’s highest railway reaches a height of 14,115 feet. This is where the words to the song “America the Beautiful” were composed. Completely rebuilt it’s back and better than ever climbing up America’s Mountain. This iconic railway is one of only two cog railways in the U.S.
Originally built in 1891 and owned and operated by The Broadmoor since 1925, this historic railway is the highest railroad in America, the highest cog railway in the world, one of Colorado’s top attractions, and one of the nation’s most unique experiences. A Ride & Stay package is also available via The Broadmoor, a luxury Forbes Five Star/AAA Five Diamond property, that includes accommodations and train tickets.
The Railway runs every day. For information and reservations hop onboard at www.cograilway.com
THE GRAND CANYON RAILWAY
(Williams, AZ on Rt. 66 to steps from South Rim, Grand Canyon)
Grand Canyon Railway has been taking people to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon since 1901 when it was built by the legendary Atkinson, Topeka and Santé Fee (ATSF). Grand Canyon Railway runs daily from Williams, AZ on historic Rt. 66 to within steps of the Grand Canyon South Rim and El Tovar. The pristine train, comprised of railcars from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, including luxury dome cars and an open platform observation car, as well as vintage coaches with opening windows, departs at 9:30 a.m. and returns at 5:45 p.m. with a 2.5-hour layover at South Rim of Grand Canyon. The train rolls directly into Grand Canyon National Park, taking an estimated 70,000 cars off the road.
During most of the summer and into early fall, the Railway pulls the daily train once a month with a steam engine built in 1923 and that runs on waste vegetable oil.There is no extra charge for the steam engine pulled trains. It be believed Grand Canyon Railway is the last standard gauge passenger railroad in the US where steam engines are still scheduled to pull revenue trains.
You can save 30% on train tickets when you book in conjunction with any 1 or 2-night stay at The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Visit thetrain.com or call 1-800-THE.-TRAIN (1-800-843-8724) for updated and current information on both the hotel and the train.
It is now also possible to charter an entire luxury private railroad car or even an entire private train complete with chefs, bartenders, entertainers, and staff. These are ideal for “milestone” moments, such as graduations, family reunions, anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, etc. For charters call 928-635-5700 or visit www.thetrain.com/charters.
The East Broad Top Railroad (Orbisonia, Central Pennsylvania) A 150-year-old narrow-gauge railroad coming out of hibernation and to life in a big way.
It’s one of the true treasures in American railroading. The East Broad Top Railroad (EBT) located in Orbisonia, PA and nestled in the rolling hills and farmlands in the central part of the state-started train rides and historic railroad shop tours this spring. The 150-year-old railroad is considered by the Smithsonian to be one of the best-preserved examples of 19th century American narrow gauge railroads (the rails less than 4 feet apart so the trains, and everything is smaller than “standard” railroads) and industrial complexes in the country.
It was already an antique when it was shut down in 1956; today is it a true treasure that far exceed the trains and tracks. The EBT still has six narrow-gauge steam locomotives, each awaiting their turn for restoration, one of which is expected soon. Initially, the railroad will offer one hour train rides in a vintage caboose, passenger car or even an open-air car on a nine-mile round-trip ride from the historic roundhouse and shops in Orbisonia to Colgate Grove and back. Prices begin at $20 for adults and $18 for children.
Reservations are strongly suggested. For information and reservations visit www.eastbroadtop.com or call 814-447-3285.
The New York Transit Museum & Nostalgia Rides (New York City)
Yes, the New York subway is a railroad and a rather large one at that with 665 miles of mainline track and 472 stations that caters to more than a billion rides a year. It even has a museum in Brooklyn. Founded in 1976, the New York Transit Museum is dedicated to telling and preserving the stories of mass transportation – extraordinary engineering feats, workers who labored in the tunnels over 100 years ago, communities that were drastically transformed, and the ever-evolving technology, design, and ridership of a system that runs 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the Transit Museum’s working platform level spans a full city block, and is home to a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907.
However, what most people don’t know is that this is not just a static museum. It maintains and operates a wide variety of vintage train cars dating back to 1907. These historic subway trains are occasionally run on what’s called “Nostalgia Rides.” Some go to Yankee Stadium, other to Coney Island or the Rockaway Beach & Boardwalk, and some venture to historic cemeteries or decommissioned subway stations. We’re talking open windows, flickering light bulbs, hanging on to strap hangers and swaying cars. It’s a trip, and a trip back in time on the real things, right down to the rattan seats and car card (ads) that try to sell everything from bras and cookies, the ZIP code and baseball games at the Polo Grounds, Ebbets Field and of course, Yankee Stadium. For information on the museum and Nostalgia Rides visit www.nytransitmuseum.org.
Registration for Parks & Trails NY’s Cycle the Erie Canal 2021 opens today, April 1, at noon. The traditional eight-day, 400-mile biking adventure is returning for a 23rd year in 2021. Riders will leave Buffalo July 11 and reach Albany on July 18.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of riders, volunteers, staff, vendors, and local community members is at the forefront of planning. With this in mind, the PTNY coordinators have made the following changes:
The tour is limited to 350 participants and volunteers. Be sure to register early to reserve your spot!
All registrations will be for the full eight-day option.
Non-rider drivers will not be allowed to accompany the tour this year.
To keep everyone safe and meet state and local COVID-19 regulations, registration fees have increased this year.
To register, visit ptny.org/ctec2021. Registration opens today, Thursday, April 1, at noon.
The route follows the legendary Erie Canal passing locks and aqueducts and winding through historic villages and rural farmlands.
The 400-mile journey along the legendary Erie Canal ends in Albany eight days later. Along the way, cyclists enjoy some of the finest scenery, most interesting history, and unparalleled cycling in the United States. Covering between 40 and 60 miles per day, cyclists travel along the Erie Canalway Trail, which is now more than 85 percent complete and the east-west axis of the statewide 750-mile Empire State Trail.
Designed as a camping trip, accommodations are provided with showers, toilet facilities, some with pools or lakes for swimming; eight breakfasts and six dinners; two daily refreshment stops along the route; evening entertainment including music and historical presentations; guided tours of the Canal, historic sites, museums and other attractions including the Women’s Rights National Historic Park, Erie Canal Museum and Village, Fort Stanwix National Monument and a boat tour through the Lockport locks; kick-off reception and end-of-tour celebration; Cycle the Erie Canal t-shirt; baggage transport; SAG wagon and mobile mechanical support; daily maps and cue sheets; painted and arrowed routes; pre-departure info packet including training trips. Other amenities available (at additional fee) include fresh daily towels, gourmet morning coffee, tent and air mattress rental and set up (for those who don’t want to pitch their own tent).
The price up until June 7 is $1200/adult, $650 youth (6-17); $290 child (5 and under); shuttle is $100.
The PTNY coordinators are following the guidance from New York State, and will be prepared to follow all regulations in place in July. Registrants will be notifiedof any updates or changes. Visit New York State’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory to stay abreast of restrictions that might impact your travel plans.
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.
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.
NEWPORT, R.I. – The Preservation Society of Newport County today received final state approval to reopen the Newport Mansions to visitors under strict health precautions.
The Breakers is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day with the last tour admission at 5 p.m.
The Elms is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day with a final tour admission at 4 p.m. The Servant Life Tour will be available during that same time.
“By reopening The Breakers and The Elms, we will bring in revenue we need to survive, and our visitors will help to jump-start Newport’s economy and support local businesses,” said Trudy Coxe, executive director and CEO of the Preservation Society. “With so many events canceled this summer, the economic stimulus of the Newport Mansions on the city and the state will be greater than ever.”
The Preservation Society hopes to reopen Marble House and Rosecliff later in the season.
In response to the pandemic, all of the Preservation Society’s historic properties and house museums have been closed to the public since March 15. Because 70 percent of the nonprofit organization’s revenue is derived from tour and events admissions, its annual budget has been cut dramatically.
The Preservation Society has prepared the following measures to help protect the health and safety of visitors:
• Audio tour equipment will no longer be distributed. Audio tours of The Elms or The Breakers can be downloaded onto smartphones and visitors can use their own earbuds to listen. The download is free and available through the Newport Mansions app.
• Tickets will be sold only online at NewportMansions.org. Ticket buyers can download and print their ticket at home or show their ticket on their smartphone when they arrive on site. Tickets will be for a specific day and time. Visitors will get to choose when they prefer to visit, subject to availability.
• Preservation Society members will continue to enjoy free admission but must make reservations through NewportMansions.org using their email address and ZIP code.
• A limited number of visitors will be allowed in each house at one time, as determined by state COVID-19 regulations. Staff members will wear face masks and guests will be required to wear masks, too.
• As always, guests will not be allowed to touch any objects or surfaces inside the house except as necessary, such as stair handrails. Staff will wipe down the handrails and any other surfaces visitors might touch throughout the day.
• Restroom attendants will make sure the number of people in each bathroom does not exceed the limit and will clean throughout the day.
• Visitors will be required to maintain a safe distance from each other. Lines on the floors of some rooms will show visitors where to stand until the next spot is available. All tours will be one-directional.
• Because the elevators in The Breakers and The Elms, which require a staff operator, are too small to accommodate people while practicing social distancing, they will not be in operation during the initial phase of reopening.
• The Preservation Society is also working with state officials to devise a plan so guests can purchase sandwiches and snacks from the Welcome Center at The Breakers and enjoy seating on the lawn.
The Preservation Society, which owns and operates 11 historic properties, hosted more than 1 million tours for the fourth straight year in 2019. In July, it delivered the 40 millionth tour since the organization’s founding in 1945.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
For more information, follow us on Twitter and join the conversation using the
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the New York State Board for Historic Preservation has recommended adding 23 properties, resources and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The nominations reflect the striking diversity of New York State’s history and include the home of historic painter George Bellows in the Mid-Hudson Valley, a pocket park in Manhattan, one of the oldest tool and machine manufacturing facilities in Buffalo, and an 1855 eclectic Catskills retreat once home to “The Soda Fountain King” John Matthews.
“These nominations will help communities across this great state preserve the historic landmarks and sites that shaped New York’s rich heritage,” Governor Cuomo said. “By recognizing the very fabric of our cities and towns, New York is shining light on important sites and resources in every region, while supporting community development and encouraging residents and visitors alike to experience the diverse history and culture found in every corner of the state.”
State and National Registers listing can assist property owners in revitalizing buildings, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. Since the Governor signed legislation to bolster the state’s use of rehabilitation tax credits in 2013, the state and federal program has spurred $3 billion of investment in historic commercial properties.
“This designation is an important step in helping the owners and caretakers preserve and improve these assets,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “The preservation of these diverse places will help bolster prosperity and quality of life across New York State.”
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 more than 120,000 historic buildings, structures and sites throughout the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places, individually or as components of historic districts. Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations.
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. More information and photos of the nominations are available on the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website.
Dunix, Cornwallville – The 1855 Catskill Mountain farmstead was purchased and transformed into a fanciful summer retreat for the family of “The Soda Fountain King” John Matthews (1808-1870), whose fortune was derived from pioneering soda fountain apparatus.
Whitehall Fire Station, Whitehall – The station was completed in 1913 to house the village’s first mechanized, gas-powered fire engine and moved by a team of horses to its present location in 1932 after its original site was claimed for the relocation of railroad tracks.
Central New York
Lipe-Rollway Corporation Building J, Syracuse – Constructed 1920-21, the building is a key site in the city’s diverse manufacturing heritage, known for round-the-clock production of transmissions for tanks and heavy equipment such as the 600-pound transmission for the M-4 General Sherman Tank.
Wampsville Presbyterian Church, Wampsville – The edifice of the first religious organization in Wampsville was built in 1830, altered in 1878, and expanded in 1891 and 1912-1915 while retaining many of its original architectural features.
The Lyons Downtown Historic District, Lyons – The district includes 256 resources that reflect the long history of Lyons from late 18th century settlement to early 19th century canal town and later as a governmental and industrial center that lasted well into the 20th century.
The Japanese Bridge, Shelter Island – Built c.1905, the ornamental landscape feature designed by engineer and inventor Ernest L. Ransome is one of the only surviving traces of the estate of Francis Marion Smith, the owner of the Pacific Coast Borax Company.
George W. Bellows House, Woodstock – The house was built in 1921 as a summer residence by George Bellows (1882-1925), one of the most prominent young members of the “Ashcan School” of art, who was best known for this early work – typically of boxing matches and urban life painted in a rough, energetic, and bold style.
Kingston City Almshouse, Kingston – Constructed between 1872-1874, the Italianate style structure provided a home for Kingston’s aging and impoverished residents until 1948.
John H. and Sarah Trumbull House, Kingston – Built in 1876, the home was designed by noted architect Arthur Crooks, who blended Gothic features with the Stick style to create an impressive house nestled into the large rocks and ledges in the landscape.
New Guinea Community Site, Hyde Park – The archaeologically significant historic site within Hackett Hill Park was the location of an early free black community, active from ca. 1790 to ca. 1850 during the prolonged process of emancipation in New York, when rural settlements on or near established towns attracted recently freed black migrants who were looking for work, searching for family members separated during slavery, or hoping to find havens away from their former masters.
The Vernooy-Bevier Stone House, Wawarsing – The property includes a limestone house likely dating to the mid-point of the 18th century, as well as a remarkable collection of later 19th century farm outbuildings.
The Upper Genesee Street Historic District, Utica – The buildings in the city’s commercial core embody the history of the community from 1825 to 1972, representing its years of economic success, subsequent decline, and efforts at rejuvenation as a pioneering project of the Urban Renewal program.
The Oneida Downtown Commercial Historic District, Oneida – The district reflects the historic evolution of the city, which emerged as a regional transportation hub and industrial center after the Civil Warthanks to the Oneida Feeder Canal and the Utica-Syracuse Railroad.
New York City
Earl Hall, Manhattan – Completed in 1902, the building was among the earliest structures erected on the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia College; it is also an important work by preeminent architecture firm McKim, Mead & White. Earl Hall is also important in LGBT history as the home of the Student Homophile League, officially recognized by the university in 1967, making Columbia the first university in the United States with a gay student group. Beginning in 1970, regularly scheduled gay dances in Earl Hall became one of the most important gay social events in New York City.
Greenacre Park, Manhattan – The 6,360-square-foot park on East 51st Street exemplifies the mid-20th century vest-pocket park movement, which promoted the creation of small urban parks to celebrate urban life after decades of urban renewal and the destruction of vast swathes of urban fabric.
Old Town of Flushing Burial Ground (Martin’s Field), Queens – The burial ground is the final resting place for approximately 1,000 individuals buried between 1840 and 1898, most of whom were Flushing’s poorest citizens, with a large percentage of African American and Native American descent.
The Ridgewood Reservoir, Brooklyn/Queens – Constructed beginning in 1865, the main distributing reservoir for the City of Brooklyn provided water to allow Brooklyn to become the third largest city in the country by 1890, supply the steam engines that made Brooklyn an industrial powerhouse, and become the largest beer producing city in the United States.
The Saxe Embroidery Company Building, Bronx – The 1904 factory building was initially constructed for a family-owned business specializing in embroidered medallions and monograms and ultimately housed a range of small-scale local manufacturing enterprises.
LANAI, Manhattan – Built in 1911, LANAI (now known as ARGO) is the oldest known surviving example of a shallow draft luxury houseboat designed by renowned built builder John Trumpy, built at the Mathis Yacht Building Company.
Western New York
Ingleside Home, Buffalo – Erected in 1929, the Colonial Revival building was designed to serve the institution that provided social and psychological counseling services as well as health care exclusively to women in need through 1976.
Niagara Machine & Tool Works Factory, Buffalo – The 1910 factory is one of the oldest and most important tool and machine manufacturing facilities – specializing in presses, punches, and rotary sheets for government defense contracts – built and operated in Buffalo in the 20th century.
Westminster House Club House, Buffalo – The 1909 building is one of the only remaining buildings in the city affiliated with the Settlement House Movement, whose social workers conducted extensive community outreach within the surrounding neighborhood, as well as offering educational and recreational programming at the club house.
The West End Historic District, Springville – The intact enclave of residential and religious architecture that grew up west of the village center during the 19th and 20th centuries, spurred by the 1878 opening of the Springville & Sardinia railroad.
March is Women’s History Month, but Women’s History has a special significance in New York, which considers itself the birthplace of women’s suffrage a century ago. This year, and continuing through 2020, the state’s Women’s Suffrage Commission is planning to offer major events and exhibits across the state.
This year, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York, the Women’s Suffrage Commission just launched a website: www.ny.gov/suffrage, providing information about upcoming events across the state, profiles New York suffragists and takes visitors on a tour of New York’s historic destinations relevant to the suffrage movement and women’s rights.
“This month, we celebrate the critical role that New York played in the fight for a woman’s right to vote from the Seneca Falls Convention all the way to the passage of the Women’s Equality Agenda in 2015 because in New York we know that women’s rights are human rights,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “I encourage all New Yorkers and visitors alike to visit one of these exhibits and trace the historic timeline that New York’s women pioneered and to learn about the obstacles that they conquered in the fight for equality.”
New York was home to the first-ever Women’s Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls, on July 19 and 20, 1848 and organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Sixty-nine years later, on Nov. 6, 1917, women in New York State won the right to vote.
“New York women have an enduring legacy in the pursuit of equal rights that began nearly 170 years ago in Seneca Falls, and as a result of their advocacy this state passed women’s suffrage three years before the rest of the nation. This year we celebrate the accomplishments of the women who led the fight for equality, setting the stage for future battles against workplace discrimination, in support of pay equity, and to preserve a woman’s right to make decisions about her health care,” said NYS Women’s Suffrage Commission Chair, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “As the state’s highest ranking elected woman, I consider it my mission to inspire the next generation of women to rise up and shape a more just, equitable society.”
As part of New York’s recognition of Women’s History Month this year, a number of exhibits are available for public viewing in both the Empire State Plaza and the New York State Capitol Building. The exhibit “Women’s Suffrage in New York State,” located in the Capitol corridor which connects the state house to the Empire State Plaza, will include imagery of pro- and anti-suffrage propaganda with historic photographs of the women who organized and marched until the vote was won. The exhibition offers a glimpse of this historic struggle and groundbreaking victory for women’s rights.
The exhibit, “New York State Women’s Suffrage 1917 – 2017 | The Fight for the Vote and the March for Full Equality,” is located in the East Gallery on the second floor of the Capitol and traces the almost 70-year struggle for the vote. The exhibit highlights the lives of 12 influential Suffragists and the critical role they played in securing the vote by African Americans and working women. This month-long exhibit features the “Spirit of 1776” wooden suffrage wagon in which a Long Island Suffragist and her eight-year-old daughter traveled throughout Long Island and Manhattan during the summer of 1913 to spread the importance of votes for women, a 1917 banner carried by Suffragists, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 1854 address to the New York State Legislature.
One of the highlights of the New York State Capitol is the Great Western Staircase, which features a gallery of historic Americans brought to life in elaborate stone carvings. As the staircase was nearing completion, it was observed that not one famous woman was represented. Located in the area just outside the Empire State Plaza Visitor Center and Gift Shop this exhibit will feature photographs of the six carvings of women that were added to the staircase: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Clara Barton, Frances E. Willard, Molly Pitcher, Elmina Spencer, and Susan B. Anthony.
Also on view outside the Visitor Center is the mural Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, which was created by students from the Monroe Community College Art Department in Rochester. Known for being a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, Tubman later became a strong supporter of the women’s rights movements.
Throughout the month of March, special one-hour Capitol tours focused on the suffrage movement will be available to visitors. The tours will feature artifacts selected to showcase the suffragists’ journey. For more information about the Capitol tours, visit www.empirestateplaza.org.
In addition, events and celebrations are also planned across New York State to mark the centennial:
In Seneca Falls, Convention Days is an annual three-day event scheduled for July 14-16, 2017, that continues to build on the ideas of the 1848 convention. The Women’s Rights National Historic Park, also in Seneca Falls, still echoes with the memories of the first women’s rights convention in the McClintock Home, the home of convention leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton, where the convention was planned and the Wesleyan Chapel, where the convention met. Convention Days in Seneca Falls is an annual three-day event scheduled for July 14-16, 2017, that continues to build on the ideas of the 1848 convention.
During VoteTilla Week, scheduled for July 16-22, 2017, participants will travel in canal boats from Seneca Falls to Rochester, concluding with a final celebration at the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House. Along the way, boats will dock at towns and villages for historic re-enactments, speeches and music, co-hosted by local groups and partner organizations including the Canal Society of New York State, Seward House and the University of Rochester’s Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership. Also in Rochester, the Central Library of Rochester, which will be honoring the centennial with an exhibit titled “Because of Women Like Her,” a collaboration between a number of partners that aims to draw visitors into the history and its contemporary implications.
In Fayetteville, near Syracuse and the site of the 1852 National Women’s Rights Convention, visitors can tour the home of suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage. Gage, along with Anthony and Stanton, was a founding member of the National Woman Suffrage Association. The museum looks at Gage’s work and strives to focus attention on current social justice issues. Shakers were also early proponents of women’s rights and suffrage and the Shaker Museum/Mount Lebanon, in partnership with Bard College at Simon’s Rock, will be presenting a special exhibition, walking tour and public and academic programs this year in honor of the centennial.
Statewide Centennial of Women’s Suffrage Programs to Begin This Year, Run Through 2020
The 14-member NYS Women’s Suffrage Commission, which Lt. Governor Hochul chairs, is planning and executing a series of statewide programs starting in 2017, which marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York, and lasting through 2020, a century after the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting all women in the United States the right to vote.
“As someone who benefitted greatly from the suffragists’ efforts, I am proud that OGS is highlighting their accomplishments in these special tours and exhibits,”Commissioner RoAnn Destito said.“I encourage everyone to take the time and learn about New York’s place in history as the birthplace of the women’s rights movement and as one of the first states where women were granted the right to vote.”
“New York was the birthplace of the modern women’s rights movement and we have a responsibility to build on that legacy and continue the progress,” said Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “Our state has been fortunate to have many strong women who worked, sacrificed and fought to build a fairer and more equal society. Women’s History Month is a chance to recommit ourselves to come together to support women and pass pro-women legislation.”
“This year’s centennial of women’s suffrage in New York State is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate this momentous achievement,” said Senator Betty Little, who sponsored the legislation creating the commission. “I am incredibly honored to serve on the suffrage centennial commission with Lieutenant Governor Hochul and many other accomplished women. Generations of women before us struggled, sacrificed and persevered, assuring our right to vote and creating a chance for us to lead. We must make the most of this important time to educate a younger generation of the historical significance of women’s suffrage and our State’s unique role in women gaining the right to vote nationally.”
“Throughout history, NYS has been a national leader in advancing women’s rights,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. “As we recognize the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the state, it is important to note that 58 women currently serve in the State Legislature, a percentage higher than the national average. The Legislative Women’s Caucus is honored to continue the tradition of promoting issues and concerns of importance to women across the state.”
Indeed, New York State produced the first woman to run as Vice President on a major party ticket (Geraldine Ferraro) and the first woman to run for President on a major party ticket (Hillary Rodham Clinton).
“For over 100 years, New York State has played a pivotal role in the women’s rights movement, and the City of Albany is proud to be the capital of that progress,” said Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan. “As the City of Albany’s first female Mayor, I am proud that our City carries forward that same commitment to equity and equality to this day. Thank you to Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Hochul for honoring the important role that women have played and continue to play in the history of our great State.”
(We stayed at the St. Francis Inn some years ago, so we were devastated to learn of the damage from Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 and thrilled to get this report that the inn ,which dates from circa 1791 in St. Augustine, Florida, making it the oldest inn in America’s oldest city, has been painstakingly and lovingly restored and is better than ever. Here’s the report:)
St. Augustine, Florida (February 2017) – The historic St. Francis Inn (circa 1791) sees the light at the end of the tunnel with an extensive Inn restoration that has taken nearly 5 months since the force of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. The horrific storm changed the grand old structure’s destiny. What have emerged are property restorations to many of its buildings and deeper trusted friendships throughout the staff. Owners Joe and Margaret Finnegan will never forget their two goals and the driving force to complete the restoration: keep our staff employed and make our guests comfortable.
Deconstructing the St. Francis Inn
It’s a complex multi-faceted project when you lose the floor of a landmark building from the late 1700s. Imagine tearing up the floorboards throughout the inn and finding that there are many layers of history represented the deeper you go. The surprise was discovering 3 floors leading to the original tabby floor structure that must have been built at least 18” down from street level!
Day after day the workers had to first de-construct the entrance, lobby, parlor, dining room, two ground floor guest rooms and the entire kitchen before beginning the restoration. Next to the main inn, the popular Cottage (which served as a cookhouse during the early years) has undergone significant restoration and the pool needed extensive refinishing too. Additionally the Inn’s award-winning gardens and vegetation were demolished by the storm’s winds and waters ~ now waiting for Spring plantings and regeneration. Many of the St. Francis Inn’s guests’ favorite amenities were temporarily taken away: antique furnishings, fireplaces, Jacuzzis, fishpond and the famous dining room that has been a gathering spot for nearly 230 years.
But a miracle happened and the St. Augustine Historical Society bestowed a wonderful temporary dining option to the Inn and its guests ~ The Finnegans could move their entire dining room’s tables, chairs, sideboards and breakfast to Llambias House across the street from the Inn and call it ‘home’ each day, until the inn was ready to host guests again upon completion of the restoration.
Llambias House Comes to the Rescue
The Llambias House (circa 1565-1763) dating back to the first Spanish colonial period of St. Augustine, has become a cherished opportunity for the Inn guests. They get to enjoy breakfast in the gardens and inside one of the prime examples of architecture first developed by the Spanish and later modified by the British during the colonial period. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the Llambias House stands as an important reminder of the influence of Spanish and British colonialism in Florida and their lasting impacts on the United States.
Inn Staff Goes Above and Beyond
How have the St. Francis Inn staff, and the sister property Casa de Suenos staff weathered the half year changes? With true hospitality to each other and their guests! The two bed and breakfast inns are on opposite north/south sides of historic St. Augustine. Yet each day the breakfast buffets, famous nightly desserts and catered events have been prepared in the Casa de Suenos kitchen and transported to the Llambias House and St. Francis Inn courtyard for meals and events.
“Our staff has always been close but having to pull together so the Inn could be cleaned up quickly was definitely a team effort,” says Kelly Brooks, Inn Manager. “We felt lucky that Joe and Margaret worked it out with the construction crew so that we could stay open during the cleanup and restoration so that we could keep our jobs (a huge financial strain on the Finnegans). We learned to be flexible so that we could move from room to room…while keeping reservations coming in and having to locate our daily supplies that needed to find a new home every day. We rolled with the punches many days, because the next day we had to do it all a different way with a new plan!”
Additionally, two of the fulltime innkeepers lost their homes. The St. Francis Inn launched a GoFundMe account to assist in temporary lodging for moving them and their families to a safe haven. Co-workers, prior inn guests and business vendors supported this effort, another commendable example of people coming together to support each other.
St. Francis Inn Completes Restoration
There are many new and beautiful additions to the St. Francis Inn including a state-of-the-art kitchen where guests love to peek in at the cooks and dishes being prepared, new carpeting, paint and furnishings.
“Our staff has made miracles day after day to work within our two inns, juggling beach cottages and guest accommodations to insure their comfort and vacation expectations,” reflects Joe Finnegan. “We didn’t lose one employee during this turbulent time and each employee was flexible with whatever tasks they had to achieve. At the same time, many of our guests enjoyed being a ‘part of history’ when they could view some of the restoration projects and experience dining in the Llambias House ~ but mostly living through the next generation of our Inn’s historic story”.