William Hamilton built The Woodlands mansion in Philadelphia in the 1760s. The estate stands as a tribute to the significant architectural and botanical contributions Hamilton made to Philadelphia and the young United States, including a part in the Lewis and Clark expedition.
This week on the “Ben Franklin’s World” podcast we speak with Jessica Baumert, the Executive Director of The Woodlands Historic Site in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/011 Continue reading
The 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
The 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
Aerial photos can be helpful research tools for historians. Google Earth, which provides access to a vast collection of aerial photography stretching back 20 years, is just a sampling of the many aerial photos that have been made since French balloonist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, known as “Nadar”, took a photo over Paris, France in 1858.
Much of New York Sate was photographed with the camera pointing straight down, an oblique presentation that is less useful to some historians. An effort to capture all of New York in an orthophotographic perspective (corrected to a uniform scale) started in 1936 with a contract to C.S. Robinson of Ithaca, NY. These images are particularly valuable resources for historians of all stripes. Continue reading
The 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
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) have announced that seven distinctive historic preservation projects received 2014 New York State Historic Preservation Awards. Continue reading
The 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
The 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
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
On December 7th at 3 pm Architectural Historian Barry Lewis will present a free lecture, “New York in the Greek Revival Era 1830 – 1850″, at the Jay Heritage Center, 210 Boston Post Road, in Rye, NY.
The Greek Revival decades were the beginning of the modern era in New York City. Industrialization hit the city by the 1830s completely changing the landscape. Wall Street was re-built for corporate headquarters including a magnificent U.S. Custom House, suburbia was born (around Washington Square), the immigrants and tenement slums arrived (the Five Points) and the modern notion of high-end shopping began when A.T. Stewart opened America’s first department store (today, it houses the NYC Department of Buildings) at Broadway and Chambers Street in 1845. Continue reading
No 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
What makes up Main Street, USA and where did the idea come from? The United States experienced an unprecedented building boom between 1870 and 1915. As people moved out of the hot and noisy cities, seeking a more peaceful existence in the countryside, construction for new housing and shops was needed for a burgeoning population. Continue reading
Once upon a time America was known for its building projects, for its infrastructure, for its vision of a better tomorrow. New York was in the forefront of such optimism and achievement. Think of the Erie Canal which helped make us the Empire State, the Croton Aqueduct, the Brooklyn Bridge, the skyscrapers from the Woolworth Building to the Empire State Building to the Twin Towers, and, of course, Robert Moses. Now the new Tappan Zee Bridge bids to join this pantheon of larger than life achievements made in New York.
Besides all the other concerns related to the bridge, there is the issue of tourism. Back in June, Mary Kay Vrba, tourism director for Dutchess County and leader of the Hudson Valley Path region, spoke to 50 people at “Destination Rockland: Blazing New Trails in Tourism.” Visions of jingling cash registers filled the heads of the participants who envisioned tourists by foot, bike, and later a revitalized bus system bringing people from the east side of the river to Rockland County. Alden Wolfe, chairman of the Rockland County Legislature convened the conference as a “launching point” for future discussion on this subject. Continue reading
The building in my sketch at left, located in Haverstraw NY and the subject of Edward Hopper’s 1925 painting, House by the Railroad, maintains its vigil on Route 9W. Hopper’s haunting depiction of the three-story house came to the attention of the cast and crew of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie classic, Psycho. The painting inspired not only the design of the Bates Mansion in the 1960 production, but the mood of the film as well.
House by the Railroad captures the fading elegance of this victorian-style home, located just south of St. Peter’s Cemetery. His composition shows a solitary structure, cut off from the world by a set of railroad tracks. Today, the building is still visually incarcerated by a heavily trafficked road, power lines, a chain linked fence and the railroad that gave the original painting its name and theme. Continue reading
The 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
The National Park Service has announced that it has listed the New York State Barge Canal on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation recognizes the New York State Canal System as a nationally significant work of early twentieth century engineering and construction that affected transportation and maritime commerce for nearly half a century.
The New York State Barge Canal National Register Historic District spans 450 miles and includes the four branches of the state’s canal system: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals– all much enlarged versions of waterways that were initially constructed during the 1820s. The nomination evaluated 791 features and included 552 contributing structures and buildings. Continue reading
To 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
The 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
After 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
The now long defunct Flagler Hotel in Sullivan County’s Fallsburg had a rich tradition as one of the region’s premier resorts, and for decades was a trend setter in the industry.
In 1920, the Flagler introduced the distinctive stucco covered, parapet and Palladian window dominated architectural style now known as Sullivan County Mission. Soon, virtually every other Sullivan County hotel was following suit. Continue reading