Seven to Save: 2007

The 2007 Seven to Save Endangered Properties list draws attention to the plight of New York’s transportation infrastructure, the threat of abandonment of municipally-owned landmark buildings, and the need to consider historic preservation in the face of development pressure. These seven valued historic resources are in danger of disappearing because of lack of funding and financial incentives, insensitive public policies, neglect, disinvestment, and, in several cases, outright demolition.

Hoyt House (The Point) | SStaatsburgh, Dutchess County | c. 1855

Landmark status: Contributing property in National Register and National Historic Landmark districts

Threat: Vacancy and demolition by neglect.

The Gothic Revival house was designed by Calvert Vaux and is the centerpiece of an estate which has been owned and operated as a state park since 1962 by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). The park is located near Mills Mansion State Historic Site. Despite some stabilization work in the past, the building has been impacted by vandalism and lack of maintenance, and is now vulnerable to water damage. The Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance is working with partners to find a suitable use for the building and to secure funding for its stabilization and restoration.

Objectives: Securing funding for the stabilization and preservation of the structure. The Alliance and its partners are also seeking to develop an adaptive reuse plan for the building among private and public options.

Champlain Bridge | Located between Essex County, NY and Addison County, VT | 1929

Landmark status: Eligible for listing on the National Register; nomination to National Register has been formally proposed.

Threat: Deterioration and replacement.

This “gateway” bridge, 2,186 feet in length, was constructed for auto traffic traveling between the Adirondack and Green Mountains. It is described as “one of the country’s most inventive and sophisticated designs for that period” and “the first American bridge to employ a continuous truss ...from Warren deck truss approach spans to a channel-span through truss with curving upper and lower chords.” It serves a vital transportation route and is also recognized as a scenic resource in the region. The NYS Department of Transportation has jurisdiction over the bridge and has begun evaluation of whether to rehabilitate or demolish and replace the structure. The bridge was nominated by Preservation Colleague organization Adirondack Architectural Heritage, and preservation of the bridge has the support of the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the Vermont State Historic Preservation Office and Vermont tourism organizations.

Update: this bridge was lost in 2009.

Gigliotti Gas Station | Geneva, Ontario County | 1920s

Landmark status: Contributing site to a downtown Geneva National Register district; eligible for National Register listing as individual site.

Threat: demolition

This 1920s, semi-circular, colonnaded gas station is an unusual and rare example of early roadside architecture, and appears to be unique in New York State. Purchased by the City of Geneva as part of a now-defunct expansion plan for an adjacent site, the building is now vacant, neglected and threatened with demolition by the city. The City Council has voted for demolition despite a purchase offer and redevelopment proposal from the nominators (305 Main Street Associates, LLC). While the site may be contaminated with hazardous substances, local advocates and League staff believe that “brownfield” issues can be addressed without requiring demolition and that the building can once again become a focal point in a pedestrian-friendly downtown street.

Update: this resource was lost.

"Crow House" - Henry Varnum Poor House | New City, Rockland County | 1920 WITH ADDITIONS

Landmark status: Eligible for listing on the National Register.

Threat: Sale for inappropriate development including demolition.

Henry Varnum Poor was a painter and ceramist who built the house and annexes, incorporating a variety of finishes and styles – medieval, arts and crafts, early modernist. The house remains as it was at his death in 1970. The property includes the house and two studios on 6.5 acres. Project nominators, the West Branch Conservation Association and Friends of Crow House, have been working with elected officials to arrange for the public acquisition of the site as open space property with an artists-in-residence program. The current owner (Poor’s son) has entered into a contract to sell to a local businessman who has plans to demolish the site – but who has agreed to re-sell.

Objectives: Transfer of ownership to a buyer interested in conserving the property. The League has been providing technical support related to funding and planning strategies.

Dana L. Lyon School | Bath, Steuben County | 1923 ADDITION TO 1900 BUILDING

Landmark status: Contributing property in a National Register historic district

Threat: Demolition of the 1923 section of the school complex for a strip-mall style drugstore and a proposed change of zoning to commercial.

The school complex is at a key intersection which marks the change from predominantly 19th-century commercial rows to architecturally distinguished residences. The complex consists of two sections, the 1900 “Primary Annex” and the much larger 1923 addition. The Annex is owned by Save-the-Lyon Commission, which is working to adapt it for an arts center and favors the retention of the 1923 addition. The 1923 addition is in the hands of a development group which is seeking to rezone the school and adjacent lots for commercial development, and to clear the site for a 13,000 square foot store and parking lot. These actions could have a domino effect on other properties in the historic district and thwart any opportunities to reuse the school.

Objectives: The Preservation League is urging village leaders to not move forward with the proposed rezoning and instead examine successful school reuse projects across the state. The League is also assisting Save-the-Lyon with community advocacy support

Cohu Estate, "Gissa Bu" | Southampton, Suffolk County

Landmark status: Eligible for listing on the National Register

Threat: Demolition for development.

“Gissa Bu” was built c.1930 in a “Nordic”/Arts and Crafts style for Lamotte Cohu, an airline executive. A remarkable building designed by Norwegian architect Thorbjorn Bassoe, it now sits vacant. In addition to the house, the property is also valuable for its resources related to maritime industry and the Shinnecock Nation. While the town has purchased portions of the 13-acre property with Community Preservation Funds, it is reluctant to purchase the site containing the house. In many cases, open space preservation funds cannot be used to purchase buildings, while many groups willing to preserve open space are reluctant to take responsibility for historic structures located on that land. In this instance, the developer had planned to demolish the house but is amenable to finding a suitable new buyer. The nomination was sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities working with Hope Sandrow, an artist who lives nearby.

Objectives: Advocates are working to convince the Town to purchase the house parcel in addition to the lots they are already buying. They are also working to locate a new use for the site which would involve developing an agreement with a new owner who will lease the building from the Town and be responsible for its preservation.

Kingston Historic Stockade | Kingston, UIster County

Landmark status: Located in a National Register historic district

Threat: Inappropriate development

A 12-story condominium project including parking garage and retail spaces is proposed for a site on the boundary of a National Register and local landmark district. The project is completely out of scale with the historic district which includes the Senate House State Historic Site, the first capitol of New York State. Advocates are seeking a full environmental impact review, denial of height variances, and formal review role for the project by the local historic district commission. Friends of Historic Kingston, a Preservation Colleague group, joined other nominators to form the Citizens Concerned for Planning Kingston's Future. The nominators are not opposed to development on the site and are advocating for a building designed in a manner that will not detract from the unique aspects of the Stockade Historic District.

Objectives: Advocates hope to implement the established review process to guide alteration of design for a more appropriately-scaled project.

Seven to SavePLNYS Staff