The campaign to save the historic Lent House in Orangeburg (in Orangetown, Rockland County) was lost on Saturday morning, April 4th. The decisive blow was delivered by a backhoe. The 263-year-old house was reduced to a pile of rubble in less than two hours.
Less than two weeks before, architect and preservationist Walter Aurell was optimistic that the house could be spared. After learning about the unexpected annihilation, Aurell wrote, “It is very upsetting that in a Town whose motto is ‘Rich in History’ we have lost another significant piece of that very history – and its replacement in the public realm will be another strip mall.” Continue reading
The fourth annual I Love My Park Day will be on May 2nd. I Love My Park Day is a statewide event that seeks to improve and enhance New York’s parks and historic sites. Volunteers clean up winter damage and other debris on park lands and beaches, plant trees and gardens, restore trails and wildlife habitat, removing invasive species, and work on various site improvement projects.
Nearly 90 parks and historic sites are expected to participate this year, from Montauk Point to Niagara Falls. The annual event is sponsored jointly by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Parks & Trails New York. Continue reading
In honor of Women’s History Month, the Historic Districts Council remembers five extraordinary women who changed the face of New York City:
Yolanda Garcia (1952- 2005), founded Nos Quedamos/We Stay in the early 1990s to preserve her neighborhood of Melrose Commons in the Bronx. In 1992 neighborhood residents discovered that the City was planning to evict them to realize an urban renewal plan. Incensed by the idea that their reward for enduring years of abandonment, arson and crime would be eviction, they confronted officials and sparked a productive dialogue about preservation and planning in the Bronx that continues today. Their efforts have become a model for community-based planning. Continue reading
Anthony Musso, author of Staatsburg: A Village Lost in Time (2014), will give a talk entitled “Staatsburg: Its Estate Owners and Their Impact on the Village” at Staatsburgh State Historic Site on April 11, 2015.
The tiny community of Staatsburg was once the home of several large estates. As Musso writes in his book on Staatsburg, each of the estates “had an impact on the character, finances and preservation of the village and its surroundings.” Continue reading
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has unveiled a seven-point framework of the NY Parks 2020 Plan that is expected to use $900 million in public and private funding to modernize the State park system.
The plan is part of a multi-year commitment since 2011 to restore facilities, enhance visitor experience, update signage and create better access for tourists at parks across the State. The 2015-16 Executive Budget adds $110 million toward this initiative. Continue reading
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) has purchased a half-acre parcel adjacent to the Poughkeepsie entrance of the Walkway Over the Hudson State Park from the Open Space Institute (OSI), which will provide growing room to improve visitor services at the 1.28-mile linear park.
State Parks purchased the parcel for $550,000 with funds from the Environmental Protection Fund. Continue reading
The New York Chapter of the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) has announced its spring meeting, to be held on April 18, 2015. The event will take place at St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands, NY (off I-787, just north of Albany).
The meeting will include talks on conservation, rural cemeteries (including Albany Rural Cemetery), public programming at St. Agnes Cemetery, and other topics. In the afternoon attendees can take self-guided tours of St. Agnes Cemetery and adjacent Albany Rural Cemetery. Maps and information about points of interest at the cemeteries will be provided. Continue reading
Every city has its ghosts. From Manhattan and Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhoods to the far-flung edges of the outer boroughs.
Will Ellis’ haunting photography in Abandoned NYC (Schiffer Publishing, 2015) brings readers 200 eerie images of urban decay, through crumbling institutions, defunct military posts, abandoned factories, railroads, schools, and waterways. Continue reading
The Landmark Society of Western New York has awarded a $2,500 grant to promote an effort to save the Cattaraugus County Civil War Memorial & Historical Building in Little Valley, NY. The grant was made to the Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP), a local citizen group formed to stop plans to demolish 100-year-old building dedicated to Civil War Veterans
The funds will be used to develop a preliminary preservation plan. The work will be performed by Clinton Brown Company, which specializes in renewing historic buildings. Continue reading
The Museum of the City of New York will present a new exhibit, Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks, a comprehensive exhibition exploring the roots and impact of a landmark preservation movement and its impact on New York City. The exhibit will run Tuesday, April 21 through September 13, 2015.
New York’s landmark preservation movement developed over many years, but was galvanized by large historic losses in the early 1960s, most notably the demolition of the world famous and architecturally significant Pennsylvania Station in 1963. Continue reading
The New York City Historic District Council’s 2015 Preservation Conference “Landmarks @50” celebrates the milestone 50th anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Law and imagines what preservation might look like in the future.
Since 1965, preservation activities have had a tremendous positive effect on New York City showing that historic preservation is neither weepy nostalgia nor dusty museums. Preservation is active work, which engages diverse communities across the city and both reflects and informs New York’s cultural, political, and economic milieu. Innumerable successes have been won in the last 50 years, but there is still great work to be done. Continue reading
A Montreal-based circus group will perform in a unique historic space in Troy on Friday and Saturday, February 20th and 21st. F.A.Q. Circus will perform three 55-minute shows in the Troy Gas Light Gasholder Building.
The events are an opportunity to see a remarkable new approach to a traditional circus, inside of one of Troy’s most remarkable historic buildings. Built in 1873, the Gasholder Building is one of only a handful of such structures remaining in the U.S. Continue reading
The Historical Society of Rockland County is seeking nominations for the Rockland County Executive’s Historic Preservation Merit Awards, now in their 25th year.
The awards, presented during National Historic Preservation Month in May, recognize outstanding historic preservation efforts in Rockland County. Continue reading
The National Park Service has approved New York State’s 2015-2020 Historic Preservation Plan, which is a blueprint for identifying and guiding activities that further preservation efforts at the local, regional and state levels.
The plan provides information about programs and resources for municipalities and communities to support a variety of preservation and community development efforts. Continue reading
AT&T has given a $20,000 contribution to support the conservation and digitization of documents burned in the 1911 New York Capitol Fire.
The documents are expected to be conserved and digitized are badly fire damaged and contain information about life in the Hudson Valley in the 1700s, primarily in Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange counties. They have been unavailable to the public since 1911; no timetable for online public access has been announced. Continue reading
The Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA) has taken a thematic approach to its 2015 List of Endangered Historic Places, focusing on Long Island’s endangered industrial heritage. The loss of industrial heritage erases the regional connection to Long Island as a center for maritime, aeronautical, and communications industries. Continue reading
A new website, the Cultural Resource Information System (CRIS), provides access to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s (State Parks) historic records. Continue reading
Often celebrated as a masterpiece of civic architecture and decorative design, the New York State Capitol sits majestically at the head of Albany’s State Street. The story behind the most expensive capitol building ever to be constructed is a fascinating one.
Built between 1867 and 1899, the Capitol was the work of four different architects, who each worked under exasperating conditions – geological, structural, and political – with hundreds of highly skilled masons and exceptional stone carvers. After completion, the building attracted controversy – seen by some as an atrocity of jumbled architecture and by others as a successful blending of architectural forms. Continue reading
The Historic Districts Council, New York’s city-wide advocate for historic buildings and neighborhoods, is pleased to announce its Six to Celebrate, an annual listing of historic New York City neighborhoods and institutions that merit preservation attention. They will be priorities for HDC’s advocacy and consultation over a yearlong period. This is New York’s only citywide list of preservation priorities coming directly from the neighborhoods.
There is lots of discussion these days about the “power of place” – the importance of geography and the influence of locales and surroundings. The concept dovetails naturally with local history, which explores the historical development of communities.
New York is in an excellent position to explore the connection between the power of place and local history. Our state has hundreds of local historical societies and other public history programs and is the only state in the nation with officially designated local historians. Continue reading