Preserve New York Grants - 2010

The Preservation League of New York State and the New York State Council on the Arts has announced the recipients of the 2010 Preserve New York Grant Program, which provided $109,149 in funding to 17 projects in 14 counties. Since 1993, Preserve New York has awarded over $1.5 million in direct support to 250 projects undertaken by not-for-profit groups and municipalities.


First Ward Action Council, Binghamton

Grant of $2,880 to complete a State and National Register of Historic Place nomination for the Dwight Place Historic District located west of downtown Binghamton. Dwight Place or “Dwightsville” is a suburban neighborhood developed by Col. Walton Dwight beginning in 1872 and designed by Isaac Perry who later became the State Architect. This area of single and multi-family homes reflects the period’s romantic architectural designs including rows of “Swiss Cottages” on Winding Way. Many of the houses had fallen into disrepair, but 25 years of work by the housing organization, First Ward Action Council, has resulted in building and neighborhood revitalization successes that have previously been recognized by the Preservation League’s “Excellence in Historic Preservation” Awards Program. The project, to be completed by consultant Nancy Goblet, will position 150 properties for the benefits of the State Rehabilitation Tax Credit for Homeowners.

Town of Vestal

Grant of $3,500 toward the cost of completing a town wide reconnaissance survey of Vestal’s historic and architecturally significant places such as homes, farmsteads, business blocks and public buildings including those of the community’s post-World War II development boom. Consultant Jessie Ravage of Cooperstown will complete the project and its results will inform the town’s planning and landmark designation efforts.


City of Elmira

Grant of $10,000 toward the costs of a historic structure report for the Brand Park Memorial Pool in Elmira’s Southside neighborhood. The 1949 brick and concrete above-ground swimming pool was designed according to a patent developed by engineer Wesley Bintz. His Michigan-based firm was responsible for approximately 135 pools in the United States but it appears that only about half that number survive. Elmira’s pool is unusual in that it is the second one by Bintz on the same site - the first was destroyed a major flood in 1936 – and that it was built in honor of Elmira’s men and women lost in World Wars I and II. The project consultant, Johnson-Schmidt and Associates of Corning, will complete an examination of the pool’s history, structural condition and repair options, and determine feasible uses that respect its design integrity and can benefit the community.


Cortland Downtown Partnership

Grant of $6,500 toward the cost of a citywide reconnaissance survey of Cortland which will document its industrial, residential, religious, public and commercial architecture. These places reflect the city’s prosperity as a manufacturing center in the 1880s to the 1950s. The results will be used to better promote Cortland’s special character, prepare local landmark and State and National Register designations, and increase the number of properties eligible for use of the state commercial and residential tax credit programs. The project will be completed by consultant Nancy Goblet and is the first Preserve New York funded project in the county.


Allentown Association, Buffalo

Grant of $9,500 toward the cost of completing an expansion of the existing Allentown State and National Register Historic District to coincide with the boundaries of the locally designated district. The results will add over 300 primarily residential properties built between 1870 and 1930 to the current State and National Register district of 734 properties which includes the work of locally and nationally significant designers. This large and culturally diverse neighborhood is eligible for the State residential and commercial tax credit programs. The necessary nomination materials will be completed by Buffalo consultants Frank Kowsky and Martin Wachadlo.

Nash House Museum, Buffalo

Grant of $7,500 toward the cost of completing research and possible landmark designation for the Willert Park Courts. In 1939 Buffalo architect Fred Bacchus designed and the U.S. Housing Authority constructed this housing project specifically for African-Americans reflecting the “separate but equal” policy that permeated many aspects of society at the time. Built in one of the city’s most economically distressed areas, by 1941 there was a waiting list of nearly 1,000 eligible applicants for the project’s 172 units. According to architectural critic Reyner Banham (writing in 1981) “at the time of its completion, Willert Park was hailed as one of the finest public housing projects in the country, both for its planning concept and architectural design.” The building’s notable sculptural panels depicting aspects of everyday life of African-Americans were created by WPA artists Robert Cronbach and Harold Ambellan. The property is also known as the A.D. Price Courts named after Alfred Price who for decades was the only African-American member for the city’s Housing Authority and the Courts’ manager. The project will be completed by Buffalo consultants Frank Kowsky and Martin Wachadlo and will help build greater appreciation of this at-risk property which is included in the Preservation League’s 2010 Seven to Save Endangered Properties list.


Livingston County Historical Society (LCHS), Geneseo

Grant of $7,000 toward the cost of a historic structure report for the Livingston County Museum which has operated as the LCHS headquarters since 1932. The 1838 building is a rare example of a cobblestone school house. It is a contributing building in the Geneseo Historic District which includes most of the village and was given National Historic Landmark status in 1991. The one-story, cross-plan building faces numerous conservation and restoration challenges. The Preserve New York grant supplements a State Environmental Protection Fund grant and these funds will be used to address these and other rehabilitation issues. The project will be completed by Clinton Brown Company of Buffalo.


Montgomery County Dept of History and Archives

Grant of $10,000 for a cultural resource survey of sites relating to Montgomery County’s abolitionist history. Montgomery County, has an under-documented history of anti-slavery activity. The Montgomery County Anti-Slavery Society organized in 1837, following the formation of the Amsterdam and Johnstown anti-slavery societies in 1835. Montgomery County was the birthplace of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and short-time home of Susan B. Anthony. This, coupled with the 45 miles of Erie Canalway running through the county, likely led to abolitionist activity in the county. While some sites associated with this movement have been identified, others remain undocumented and unresearched. Historic consultant Dr. Judith Wellman believes that “Montgomery County bridges the gap between slavery and abolitionism,” and this survey will document that history.


Two Bridges Neighborhood Council

Grant of $3,000 for a National Register Historic District Nomination of the Bowery. Two Bridges Neighborhood Council is working with the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors on this project, which will allow the Bowery to join Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Lower East Side to develop a comprehensive community approach to planning, centered on history, cultural and economic development. The Bowery is within a NYS Rehabilitation Tax Credit eligible census tract and this historic district has tremendous community support. Two Bridges Neighborhood Council is working with preservation consultant Kerri Culhane on this project.


Oakwood Cemetery Association, Niagara Falls

Grant of $5,000 toward the cost of historic landscape report for the Oakwood Cemetery located north of the downtown. The 18.3 acre cemetery is the work of local civil engineer Drake Whitney and reflects 19th century romantic landscape design principles with its curvilinear paths and drives. The 1881-1882 cemetery began as a burial ground on land donated by a founding family, the Porters, in 1852. A special feature of Oakwood is the 1913 stone mausoleum designed by the noted architectural firm Green and Wicks and is embellished by a Tiffany Studios stained glass window. The report will be prepared by Dean Gowen, Landscape Architect, of Amherst and will guide stewardship of the historic cemetery grounds.


Preservation Association of Central New York (PACNY), Syracuse

Grant of $6,000 toward the cost of preparing a statewide Multiple Property Documentation form for African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion churches built across the state after the Civil War. Approximately 85 of these churches remain and are the anchors of their respective communities. The research and documentation will be prepared by consultant Dr. Judith Wellman, students and faculty of the African-American Studies program and Angela Williams, Librarian of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, Syracuse University. The results will be used for new educational programs and possible landmark designations of AME Zion churches including the vacant 1910 church on East Fayette Street in Syracuse. The project will help make it and other AME Zion churches eligible for new funding opportunities to ensure their use and stewardship.


Pittstown Historical Society

Grant of $7,500 for completion of a National Register Multiple Resource Documentation Form for historic Pittstown farmsteads. This project follows the 2008 Preserve New York Historic Farmstead Cultural Resource Survey. The Pittstown Historical Society has surveyed over 25 farmsteads. Almost all identified farms have at least two or three intact historic outbuildings including barns, silos, dairy sheds, and icehouses. These farmsteads are threatened by development and their disappearance and irreversible alteration occurs at an accelerating rate each year. Completion of the National Register Multiple Resource Documentation Form, to be prepared by preservation consultant Jessie Ravage, will inform future planning and preservation efforts within Pittstown, as well as create eligibility for the NYS Rehabilitation Tax Credit for these farmsteads.



Grant of $8,000 for a Historic Landscape Report of Manitoga’s Woodland Garden. Russel Wright, a well-known mid-twentieth century designer, purchased Manitoga in 1941. At the time of purchase, it was an abandoned quarry and logging site. Russel Wright began work on Manitoga’s landscape in the 1940s, continuing until his passing in 1976. His landscape focused on the forest garden as a continuum of space and time, experienced through movement. Manitoga is New York State’s only mid-twentieth century modern American domestic architecture and landscape site open to the public. In 2006, Charles Birnbaum, President of the Cultural Landscape Foundation called Manitoga one of the two most critical endangered landscapes in the country. The Historic Landscape Report, to be completed by Patricia O’Donnell, will address a comprehensive strategy for Russel Wright’s design in the Woodland Garden.


Village of Watkins Glen

Grant of $3,269 toward the cost of completing a nomination to the State and National Registers of Historic Places for downtown Watkins Glen. The project, which supports the on-going revitalization work in this Finger Lakes community, will result in a historic district nomination of 30 to 40 late 19th to early 20th century buildings, thus opening the door to new opportunities including State tax credit programs for commercial and residential properties. The work will be completed by the firm of Johnson-Schmidt and Associates of Corning and is the first Preserve New York funded project in the county.


Jewish Federation of Ulster County

Grant of $9,000 for a Historic Structure Report at the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History, at the Reher Bakery. The Reher Bakery building is a circa 1885, Italianate mixed-use structure on a prominent corner leading down to the Rondout. There is a storefront on the first floor and two apartments on the 2nd and 3rd floors, all with historic details almost entirely intact. The Reher Bakery had been a cornerstone of the Rondout and a bakery for most of the twentieth century. The Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History has evolved with the goal of telling the stories of Kingston’s immigrant culture, up through today. As their literature states, “The story of the Reher family is the story of many immigrant groups that established roots in the burgeoning Rondout areas, working on the canal and in the stone quarries, brickyards, and boat yards.” This Historic Structure Report, to be completed by Marilyn Kaplan of Preservation Architecture, will inform an interpretation and restoration plan for the Reher Bakery building.


Friends of Mozartina Musical Arts Conservatory, Inc. (Tarrytown Music Hall)

Grant of $6,500 for a Historic Structure Report of the Tarrytown Music Hall. The Tarrytown Music Hall is the oldest theater in Westchester County, built in 1885 by chocolate manufacturer William Wallace. 2010 marks two significant anniversaries for the Music Hall – the 125th anniversary of its construction and the 30th anniversary of its rescue from the wrecking ball. The Historic Structure Report, to be completed by Marilyn Kaplan of Preservation Architecture, will inform the ongoing and future capital restoration undertaken by the Tarrytown Music Hall, helping to explain the building’s evolution in order to guide future projects.

City of Yonkers

Grant of $4,000 towards a historic building inventory in Yonkers. This project builds upon the comprehensive, city-wide survey Yonkers completed last year, focusing on eight priority areas to make recommendations for historic district nominations and assist property owners in taking advantage of the NYS Rehabilitation Tax Credit. More than 90% of the structures in the eight target areas lie within an eligible census tract for the NYS Rehabilitation Tax Credit. Yonkers has retained TKS Historic Resources, the preservation consulting firm that completed the citywide windshield survey, to continue this project.

GrantsPLNYS StaffPNY