Preserve New York Grants - 2006

At its August meeting, the Preserve New York Grant Program panel selected 11 projects in nine counties for support totaling $82,200. Preserve New York is a partnership grant program of the Preservation League of New York State and the New York State Council on the Arts. With the announcement of the 2006 awards, the total support provided by Preserve New York since its launch in 1993 is over $1.1 million to 187 not-for-profit groups and municipalities in support of their important local initiatives.


Historic Albany Foundation, Albany

Grant of $7,000 for a statewide survey and documentation of Lustron houses to be used for a thematic nomination to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The pre-fabricated, all-steel structures with walls of enamel-coated panels were developed to meet post-World War II housing needs. Despite a short production span of two years (1948-1950), there are at least 70 remaining houses in New York State, and many of these are located in the greater Capital Region. They are a unique aspect of built resources from the “recent past” however, as modest-sized homes, they are frequently in danger of alteration and demolition. The survey and nomination will be produced by Kimberly Konrad Alvarez of Landmark Consulting in Albany. Historic Albany Foundation will also work with staff at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation on the project which will include an educational component for owners of these little-known, but important buildings.

Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Albany

Grant of $10,000 to support an historic structure report for the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence at 194 Livingston Avenue in Albany. The 1847 house is listed on the National Register, the National Park Service’s “National Network to Freedom” and Heritage New York’s “Underground Railroad Trail.” It was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Myers in the 1850s while they were active in the Underground Railroad, hosted Vigilance Committee meetings and worked on important local education issues. The report will guide the restoration and interpretation of the historic site and will be produced by Stephen Tilley, Architect, based in Dobbs Ferry.


Cuba Friends of Architecture, Cuba

Grant of $8,800 toward the cost of preparing a historic structure report for the Palmer Opera House, which is included in the 42-building Main Street Historic District listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Constructed in 1875, the opera house boasts of Italianate-style details and an intact cast iron storefront manufactured in Wellsville, NY. Vacant for nearly five years, the building suffered a roof collapse in January 2006. This grant will allow Friends to plan for the stabilization and rehabilitation of this once well-used landmark. The report will be completed by Flynn Battaglia Architects of Buffalo, NY.


Broome County Department of Planning and Economic Development, Binghamton

Grant of $6,800 toward the cost of a cultural resources survey of historic and engineering resources associated with the Chenango Canal in Broome County. Opened in May 1837, the 97-mile canal linked Binghamton to Utica and provided access to the state’s trade waterway, the Erie Canal. Fifteen miles of the original north-south canal ran through Broome County. Another 15 miles extending west from Binghamton was dug in 1863 but never watered. Eclipsed by rail service, the entire canal closed in 1878 and was abandoned. The survey of canal features including locks, culverts, dams and towpaths, will be prepared by Cynthia Carrington Carter, Renaissance Studio of Syracuse, who completed similar surveys funded by the Preservation League in Chenango (1995) and Madison (2002) counties. The county and local municipal agencies will use the grant results in their development of greenway and river trail projects to ensure that canal resources are sensitively incorporated into these recreational paths.


Howland Stone Store Museum, Sherwood

Grant of $4,710 toward the cost of completing a nomination to the State and National Registers of Historic Places for the hamlet of Sherwood in the Town of Scipio. Between the 1830s and the early 1900s, Sherwood was a hotbed of local, state and national social reform issues including Abolitionism, Women’s Rights and Temperance. Much of the reform activity was due to several generations of the Howland family, Quakers who were active in the Underground Railroad and sponsors of freedom seekers who passed through or settled in southern Cayuga County. Today over a dozen of the hamlet’s properties – homes, a cemetery, business buildings, and a one-room schoolhouse – are associated with social justice themes. The nomination will be prepared by Dr. Judith Wellman, Historical New York Research Associates of Fulton, who was responsible for a countywide survey of Abolition and Underground Railroad sites funded by Preserve New York in 2004. The project is a result of that effort and supports the 2006 listing of Sherwood in the Preservation League’s Seven to Save program.


City of Hudson Historic Preservation Commission, Hudson

Grant of $9,000 for the survey and documentation of Hudson neighborhoods that contain a mixture of commercial, industrial and residential structures. The survey area includes approximately 1,300 buildings that were not included in similar work in 1985 which led to the listing of several historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places. Of the houses to be studied, some are 20th-century buildings which were not eligible for designation as historic sites when the earlier survey was completed, and others are modest, 19th-century, “working class” structures. The survey results and report will be used for future historic district designations and will aid the Historic Preservation Commission in their review of proposed building and preservation projects. The work will be undertaken by consultant Ruth Piwonka of Kinderhook. The Preservation League has worked closely with the Hudson preservation community since the City was designated a Seven to Save site in 2001 due to threats from the proposed St. Lawrence cement plant. The League has provided technical and legal assistance to the preservation commission from its inception in 2003.

The Hudson Area Association Library, Hudson

Grant of $6,550 to support the costs of an historic structure report for the 1818 Federal-style Hudson Area Association Library building which has served as the public library since 1959. Originally built as an almshouse, the library building was also used as a private home, a girls school and an orphanage. The report will be produced by Walter Sedovic, Architects, based in Irvington. The Hudson Area Library Association successfully nominated the building to the Preservation League’s Seven to Save program in 2005 and purchased the building from the Hudson School District in the same year. As with many other libraries across the state, the Hudson building faces the challenge of accommodating the needs of a 21st-century library in a significant historic structure, and the report will guide the rehabilitation of the local landmark.


Village of Williamsville, Williamsville

Grant of $7,000 toward the cost of completing an historic structure report for the Williamsville Water Mill. The heavy timber frame building is located half a block from Main Street on Ellicott Creek and is the sole survivor of a once extensive milling area along the waterway. The building may include elements of the original 1811 sawmill on the site but it was largely constructed in 1827 and attains its significance as one of the earliest commercial manufacturers of natural or hydraulic cement. On the interior, grinding wheels, a water chute and machinery remain intact, reflecting a succession of mill uses. Commercial development pressures which could have led to demolition caused the village to acquire the vacant building in 2005. The report, which will be completed by Bero Architecture of Rochester, will guide the village’s efforts to rehabilitate, interpret and reuse this local and State and National Register-listed landmark.


Madison County Historical Society, Oneida

Grant of $6,340 toward the cost of completing an intensive level survey of hop-related resources and a State and National Register of Historic Places nomination for hop houses in the county. The survey will document the homes, farms, commercial establishments and public facilities associated with the growing of hops. Introduced to the state in 1808 in Madison County, hop cultivation was once a major economic and cultural force in New York, reaching a peak of production in 1880. The fortunes of farmers, merchants and entire communities rested on the crop, an important ingredient in beer brewing. Hop houses or kilns, which were used for processing and drying, are the most easily recognized building type associated with hop culture. Although there were once thousands of such buildings, there may be no more than 300 kilns remaining in the state. Of these, 35 are in Madison County and will be the subject of a nomination to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The project will be completed by Dr. Michael Tomlan, Cornell University; Nell Ziegler, DeRuyter; and volunteers. The project springs from the inclusion of Hop Kilns in Central New York in the League’s 2006 Seven to Save list.


Rochester Cemeteries Heritage Foundation, Rochester

Grant of $8,000 toward the cost of an historic landscape report for the 1838 Mount Hope Cemetery which is the oldest municipally-owned Rural, Victorian cemetery in the United States. In addition to significant historical figures such as Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Lewis Henry Morgan and Fletcher Steele, there is an impressive list of leaders in the arts, sciences and industry buried at the cemetery. Important landscape features include 300 year-old trees of the area’s original forest, specimen trees given to the cemetery in 1847 by the well-known Ellwanger and Barry Nursery and topographic elements shaped by glaciers. The project is a collaboration among the Rochester Cemeteries Heritage Foundation, the City of Rochester and the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery. W. Paul Fritz and Jo Anne Gagliano of Environmental Design and Research, P.C. based in Syracuse are the consultants. The report will guide the planning efforts and help determine the priorities for restoration projects and maintenance of the site while preserving the characteristics of the historic cultural landscape.


City of Newburgh

Grant of $8,000 towards the cost of an historic landscape report for the Downing Vaux Park located on Broadway in downtown Newburgh. Designed by Downing Vaux in 1904, the park was intended to provide a pedestrian link on a steep hill between the waterfront (and former train station) and the commercial area. The small park remains a gateway to the central business district while preserving important views of the Hudson Highlands. The report will be completed by Patricia O’Donnell of Heritage Landscapes based in Charlotte, Vermont, and will provide the master plan for the park’s restoration and preservation. The project comes at a crucial time as the park is located in a key area facing development and Newburgh is working on a comprehensive plan which will directly impact the waterfront area.

GrantsPLNYS StaffPNY