Tag Archives: historic sites

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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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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23 Sites Recommended to New York State and National Registers of Historic Places

NYC-5BoroBike 050612_403e2 (c) Karen Rubin-Alice Austen House SI
Already on the National and State register of historic places: Alice Austen House, Staten Island: Originally listed in 1970, the National Register listing for the 17th century Staten Island house where Austen lived did not reveal the full extent of Austen’s significance as an artist living an openly non-traditional life and how she dealt with gender and social norms in her photography. The expanded National Register listing details that between 1917 and 1945, Austen shared the house with her companion, Gertrude Tate, with whom she had an intimate, fifty-three-year, same-sex relationship. Austen was what has become known as a “New Woman,” breaking from contemporary societal strictures on feminine behavior. Austen and her friends were among many middle- and upper-class educated women of the late 19th century who did not feel that they needed a man to live a successful life. Austen’s non-traditional relationship with Tate and her exploration of gender and societal norms were illustrated in her photographs. The designation of the Alice Austen House is part of the broader New York City LGBT Historic Sites Project, which is working to highlight LGBT history from the founding of New York City through the 20th Century. For more information about documented LGBT historic sites in NYC and to view the organization’s interactive map, visit https://www.nyclgbtsites.org/. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

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.

Capital Region

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.

Finger Lakes 

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.

Long Island 

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.

Mid-Hudson Valley 

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. 

Mohawk Valley 

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 War thanks 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.

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