Gratz Grant - Friends of Fort Plain for Diefendorf Hall

The Preservation League presented a $7,500 grant to the Friends of Fort Plain on May 9, 2011, prior to a presentation by Village Historian Eileen Chambers.

The grant was the first made from the Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund, and will support the creation of a conditions assessment and feasibility study for the reuse of 47 Main Street, a mid-19th century building originally known as Diefendorf Hall.

diefendorf illustration.jpg

Marilyn Kaplan of Preservation Architecture will complete the study, producing a final report that will guide the restoration of 47 Main Street with the ultimate goal of returning the building to community use.

This three-story, five-bay brick building, located in the heart of Fort Plain’s downtown, previously served the community as the Rialto Theatre and an American Legion Post but was recently threatened with demolition. A plan is being developed to restore this building with street-level retail space, public gathering space, conference area and a cafe.

The Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund was established in 2010 and is funded through a permanently endowed charitable contribution from Thomas J. Schwarz. The primary goals of the Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund are to fund professional services for important preservation projects that: illustrate the benefits of the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program, leverage other public and private investments, and enable the League to react quickly to preservation opportunities with financial resources.

“It is fitting that we presented the inaugural gift from the Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund just before an illustrated lecture on Fort Plain’s annual Street Fair that attracted thousands of visitors to this village during the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. “We believe that preservation of our historic buildings, neighborhoods, and landscapes is integral to economic development in New York State. We are confident that this grant will build on previous survey work supported by the League, and result in a solid foundation for National Register nomination and other Main Street revitalization efforts.”