Seven to Save: 1999

View From Olana | Greenport, Columbia County

Threat: inappropriate industrial development, loss of visual and architectural integrity (Athens Generating Station)

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company has proposed to construct a gas fired power plant in the Village of Athens, a small community located on the west side of the Hudson River in Greene County. The Athens Generating Plant, if built, would have a significant impact on the surrounding water, land, and numerous historic structures in its proximity. One of the most devastating impacts would be on State Historic Site Olana, located across the Hudson River from Athens. Olana is the 1870-1889 Moorish Italianate villa of Hudson River School painter, Frederic E. Church. Many of Church’s famous landscape paintings were inspired by the quintessential views from his 250-acre estate-views that would be marred by the unavoidable impact from Athens Generating.

Camp Santanoni | Newcomb, Essex County

Threat: inadequate state commitment and funding for repair and restoration

Camp Santanoni is an excellent example of the large, rustic wilderness estates, now known as “Great Camps,” built during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for the urban elite of America’s “Gilded Age.” Robert C. Pruyn, an Albany banker, began construction of the camp in 1892, and it eventually consisted of more than three dozen buildings on 12,900 acres. When New York State acquired the Santanoni Preserve in 1971, it became part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. For more than twenty years the camp remained vacant and deteriorated. Although the state has since made a commitment to preserve Camp Santanoni, greater public attention and financial resources are needed to preserve this landmark. Better investment could help this landmark become a real asset to the region and local community.

Eastman Dental Dispensary | Rochester, Monroe County

Threat: demolition by neglect; legal challenge to local landmarking

The Eastman Dental Dispensary, built in 1917 by George Eastman of the Eastman Kodak Company, contributed significantly to the improvement of dental hygiene in America and Europe, and was also the first school in the United States licensed to train dental hygienists. The design of this brick Italian Renaissance Style landmark inspired similar buildings in Stockholm, London, Rome, Paris and Brussels. Four of the five still function as originally intended. Rochester's dispensary has been vacant for about twenty years, and it now faces the threat of demolition by its current owner to make way for a fast food restaurant and “big-box” store. The dispensary is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and a designated local landmark. Its local landmark status requires the owner to obtain approval for its demolition. The local preservation commission denied the permit, and the owner filed suit against the city under Article 78 of the state civil code, claiming the commission's actions were arbitrary and capricious. The future of this internationally significant building must be secured.

Portion of the East End Historic District | Newburgh, Orange County

Threat: deterioration and disinvestment

The neighborhood of early and mid-19th century, modest Federal Style dwellings and rowhouses west of Washington’s Headquarters has been spiraling towards blight over the past two decades. This area was once a vibrant African-American neighborhood, but now many of the structures stand vacant. A high degree of vandalism and destruction from exposure to the weather have taken their toll on this historically, culturally and architecturally significant neighborhood. Despite recent efforts to stabilize the East End, the neighborhood continues to suffer from disinvestment.

New York City Farm Colony, Seaview Hospital Historic District | Staten Island, Richmond County

Threat: deterioration, disinvestment and inappropriate development

The early twentieth century buildings and grounds of the Farm Colony, established as a poor farm, and Seaview Hospital, the largest tuberculosis hospital of its date in the country, face “demolition by neglect,” an all-too-familiar threat to properties that have been abandoned and left to the ravages of time. In August 1999, the New York City Department of Buildings issued an emergency order to demolish one building in the district. Many other buildings remain open to the elements and the city has no plans for their future reuse. Forty acres of open space within this district is for sale to private developers, as the city has issued a request for proposals to develop senior housing on the land.

Corning Free Academy | Corning, Steuben County

Threat: School consolidation; closure

The story in Corning is echoed in communities all across the state: state funding is available to construct new schools, but often at the cost of abandoning historic and architecturally significant neighborhood schools. The 1922 Corning Free Academy faces an uncertain future, as the school board explores plans to construct a larger, consolidated middle school. Corning Free Academy is located within the Southside National Register Historic District, and it incorporates elements from the former home of Amory A. Houghton, elaborate terra cotta pieces made by the Corning Brick and Terra Cotta and Tile Company, and decorative glass shades produced by Corning Glass Works.

U.S. Route 20 | Cherry Valley Turnpike, Multiple Counties

Threat: inappropriate development and economic decline; lack of coordinated planning

New York State’s segment of U.S. Route 20 developed from Native American trails and New York’s earliest turnpikes, and linked many small towns across the state. The first Great Western Turnpike, from Albany to Cherry Valley, is 200 years old this year. But this scenic old road has been losing its historic and identifying characteristics since the completion of the New York State Thruway in 1956. Today, sprawl, development, highway projects, and changes in the tourist economy and in farming practices have compromised the character of historic villages and rolling farmland that make Route 20—our state’s Route 66—such a scenic cultural landmark.

Seven to SavePLNYS Staff