Category Archives: Historic Preservation

Amsterdam Icon: The Mohawk Teepee


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2015-Small-Cover-Photo2The cover of Historic Amsterdam League’s 2015 calendar is a picture of the former Mohawk Teepee restaurant, built in an abandoned rock quarry adjacent to a waterfall in Amsterdam’s East End.

The Mohawk Teepee was the brainchild of Myron and Lidia Bazar, both natives of Ukraine. Myron was born in Ternopil and Lidia in Boryslav, according to Ukrainian Weekly. Continue reading

New Book: America’s Covered Bridges


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9780804842655__06269.1405458218.1280.1280The history of North America is in many ways encapsulated in the history of her covered bridges. The early 1800s saw a tremendous boom in the construction of these bridges, and in the years that followed as many as 15,000 covered bridges were built. Today, fewer than a thousand remain.

Without covered bridges to span the rivers and provide access to vast swaths of the interior that had previously been difficult to access – America never would have developed the way she did. In America’s Covered Bridges (Tuttle Publishing, 2014), authors Terry E. Miller and Ronald G. Knapp tell the fascinating story of these bridges, how they were built, and the technological breakthroughs required to construct them. Continue reading

Villa Balsamo: A Saratoga County Landmark


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Villa BalsamoA man who started in the knitting business in Amsterdam built the lavish structure now known as Villa Balsamo restaurant off Route 50 between Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs.

According to historian David Fiske, Floyd J. Shutts was stymied by Amsterdam officials in 1918 when he tried to add on to his factory on Wall Street. Turned down in Amsterdam, Shutts bought property on Saratoga Avenue in Ballston Spa and opened the Ballston Knitting Company in 1920. Continue reading

Nominations Sought for 2015 Preservation Awards


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An apartment at Academy Lofts in AlbanyThe Preservation League of New York State is seeking nominations for its 2015 Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards, which recognize significant achievements in historic preservation throughout New York State.

The League especially encourages nominations that may provide case studies or models incorporating energy efficiency, adaptive reuse, or New York’s Rehabilitation Tax Credit program. Continue reading

NYS Nominates 22 For State, National Register


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New York State ParksThe New York State Board for Historic Preservation has nominated 22 properties and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology and culture of New York State and the nation.  Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations. Continue reading

Candlelight Tour Celebrates Newburgh Architecture


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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Newburgh Historical Society’s annual Candlelight Tour will take place this year on Sunday, December 14th. The self-guided tour takes place between 12 noon and 5 pm and includes over a dozen decorated homes. The authentically decorated 1830 Captain David Crawford House is the starting place for the Tour.

The house circuit features a diverse assortment of public and private spaces, including mansions, structures in the rehabilitation process, new construction, architectural gems, and some of Newburgh’s most important landmarks. Continue reading

NYC Preservation Commission Cutting 96 Sites


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unnamed(29)UPDATE 12/5: The New York Times is reporting that the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission has dropped its plan to remove 96 sites from landmark consideration.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has announced an Administrative Action to “de-calendar” 94 proposed Individual Landmarks and two proposed Historic Districts from its roster (see map and list). These properties have been “Calendared” or “Heard But Not Designated” for at least five years. Continue reading

Lecture: Slavery At Albany Ten Broeck Mansion


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Ten Broeck MansionRecent excavations and research on the grounds of Ten Broeck Mansion in Albany have revealed outbuildings likely used as summer kitchens and/or slave quarters.

On Sunday, December 7 at 2 pm, the Albany Institute of History & Art will host Matthew J. Kirk, Principal Investigator and Cultural Resource Specialist at Hartgen Archeological Associates, for a special lecture focused on these findings and the insight they provide into slave/master relationships shortly before abolition. They suggest we reconsider our modern concepts of slavery in the north at the end of the eighteenth century. Continue reading

Plattsburgh Old Stone Barracks Plans Announced


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Old Stone BarracksFriends of the Old Stone Barracks (FOSB) has announced the results of their request for proposals and a new life for Plattsburgh’s Old Stone Barracks.

FOSB has come to an agreement with Terry Schmaltz and Mary Theresa Pearl, proprietors of Valcour Brewing Company, and will assign the contract to purchase the Old Stone Barracks to them.  Pearl is originally from Plattsburgh and both she and Schmaltz are retired Army officers. Continue reading

Ben Haynes: Deacon Builder of the North Country


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1BWH 1st Presb ChurchNo matter how long a life lasts, the residue left behind is often fleeting, and within a generation or so, most of us are largely forgotten. But it’s also true that every life has a story, and many are worth retelling. I often glean subject matter from obituaries, or from gravestones as I walk through cemeteries. A tiny snippet of information stirs the need to dig for more, perhaps revealing unusual or remarkable achievements and contributions.

A fine example involves Benjamin Wood Haynes, a native of Westford, Vermont, who lived and worked in northern New York in the latter half of the 1800s. Intriguing to me was a reference to him as a “builder,” and so the digging began, yielding some impressive nuggets. Continue reading

Grave of 1st North Dakota Gov Marked in NY


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Miller Grave - North Dakota First GovernorThe only mausoleum in Green Hills Cemetery in Dryden Village, Tompkins County, the resting place of the first governor of the state of North Dakota John Miller, has been restored and marked.

In 1989, during the centennial of North Dakota’s statehood, the Cemetery applied to the North Dakota Centennial Commission for funds (about $1,000) to restore the mausoleum. The Cemetery received a certificate with a gold seal from the Commission recognizing the project, but no money. The work was not done. Continue reading

Western Erie Canal Communities Conference Nov 6th


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Western Erie Canal AllianceThe Western Erie Canal Alliance, in conjunction with the Landmark Society of Western New York, will present a conference, “Something Old… Something New”, in celebration of historic Main Streets as centerpieces of community economic success.

The conference will take place on Thursday, November 6, 2014 from 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm, at the Fairport Electric building in Fairport, NY, hosted by The Village of Fairport. Continue reading

Cherry Hill Marks 50th Anniversary With Free Tours


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Cherry HillTo commemorate its 50th anniversary as a museum, Historic Cherry Hill will offer Behind-the-Scenes Restoration Tours free during the rest of the month of October.

Tours will highlight the ongoing restoration of the 1787 historic structure, including factors that contributed to the building’s deterioration and how the building is being stabilized. Guides will also discuss the house’s intact original fabric, its “layers of history,” and the Van Rensselaer family that occupied Cherry Hill from 1787 to 1963. Tours are offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00 pm. No reservations are required. Continue reading

Report: ‘Great Estates Region’ Brings $65M in Economic Benefits


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Great Estates RegionA new study has found that New York’s historic “Great Estates Region” brought approximately $65 million in economic benefits to Dutchess County.  The study, “The Economic Importance of the Great Estates Historic Sites & Parks,” focuses on the positive economic impacts that 12 federal, state and private nonprofit historic sites and parks bring to Dutchess County and other parts of the Hudson River Valley region.

Expanding the picture beyond Dutchess County’s borders, the study finds that in 2012, nearly 1.7 million paid visitors came to the region’s historic sites, spending about $60 million in the area, including $47 million from non-local visitors. The study, which was organized by the Taconic Region of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, was completed pro-bono by Urbanomics, Inc., a Manhattan-based consulting firm. Continue reading

Newburgh And Highlands Historical Marking 130 Years


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Newburgh Historical SocietyThe Annual Meeting of the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and Highlands will take place on Sunday, October 19th starting at 3:00 P.M. at their headquarters, the 1830 Captain David Crawford House in Newburgh. Members of the Board of Managers are to come together to review 2014.

Following the meeting a panel organized by Society member Tom Kneiser will discuss local buildings they have remodeled for vibrant new uses. Continue reading

NYC Historic Districts Council Opposes Frick Expansion


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Frick Expansion planAfter many thoughtful meetings and two site visits to The Frick over several months, the Historic Districts Council has determined that we cannot support the proposed institutional expansion at the individually landmarked Frick. Our thoughts are outlined in our statement below:

In a city of superlatives, The Frick is unique. One of the last remaining Millionaire’s Row mansions of the Gilded Age, The Frick residence was designed from the beginning to become a museum. Henry Clay Frick stipulated in his will that his home become “a public gallery of art to which the entire public shall forever have access…”and to this end, a separate Board of Directors for his art collection was established after his death in 1920. After the death of Mr. Frick’s wife Adelaide in 1931, architect John Russell Pope was commissioned to architecturally guide the mansion’s transition to a museum (described in its 1973 designation report as “sensitive architectural blendings of alterations and additions with the original mansion”).  From its beginnings, The Frick has been a thoughtful, considered place. Continue reading