Tag Archives: Finger Lakes

NYS 2009 Historic Preservation Awards Announced


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New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced the recipients of the 2009 New York State Historic Preservation Awards. Established in 1980 to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York’s historic and cultural resources, this year’s winning projects included several buildings adapted or rehabilitated for affordable housing and one that created affordable work spaces for small manufacturers.

Not-For-Profit Achievement:

The Public Policy Program, Preservation League of New York State for outstanding leadership and commitment to the development and enactment of the New York State Historic Preservation Tax Credit legislation. A multi-year effort came to fruition when legislation expanding the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits was approved and signed into law in July, 2009. The new law offers financial assistance to homeowners and commercial developers.

The League used one of the first applications of GIS mapping to demonstrate the potential impact of legislation during an advocacy process. Mapping and analysis demonstrated the degree to which residents and building owners would benefit from the legislation.

Individual Achievement:

The late Raymond V. Beecher. When the Thomas Cole house in Catskill was placed on the market in 1979, Mr. Beecher, of Coxsackie, saw past the immediate obstacles to restoring the house and property. He envisioned the site as a viable historic resource and led the Greene County Historical Society’s purchase and restoration of the property. The site was designated a National Historic Site in 1999 and opened to the public in 2001.

Mr. Beecher held a number of positions in the community including Greene County Historian, Town of Coxsackie Historian, leadership roles in the Greene County Historical Society for over 50 years and librarian at the Vedder Research Library. A prolific researcher and author, Mr. Beecher understood the importance of documenting the full record of Greene County’s built heritage. In order to raise awareness and encourage the preservation of this heritage, he initiated the establishment of the Historical Society’s Greene County Historical Register in 1990. The organization has just published the first volume of listed properties. Mr. Beecher died in October, 2008.

Project Achievement:

Knox Street Apartments, Albany for an outstanding rehabilitation project and commitment to community revitalization. WINNDevelopment Company of Rochester, NY and Boston worked in partnership with the City of Albany and the Capital City Housing Development Fund Corporation on an Urban Renewal Plan for Park South Neighborhood. The first implementation phase of the project was the rehabilitation of 18 rowhouses on Knox Street. Project consultants included The Architectural Team, Keith Construction, and Landmark Consulting.

Financing for the affordable housing project included Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits and low income housing tax credits. The rehabilitation has proven to be a catalyst for other neighborhood projects. These included the rehabilitation of one rowhouse whose owner qualified for the first use of the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits for homeowners.

221 McKibben Street, Brooklyn, for an outstanding rehabilitation project and commitment to community revitalization. Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC) rehabilitated the building for affordable work spaces for small manufacturing firms. Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits and New Market Tax credits were two key financing tools. Project partners included New York City-based preservation consultants Higgins and Quasebarth, OCV Architects, Westerman Construction and PCF State Restoration.

Residential development pressures have forced many Brooklyn businesses and small manufacturing firms to close or move. By preserving an industrial site for continued use, Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center is preserving the industrial heritage of Brooklyn.

Park Lane Apartments at Sea View, Former Nurses’ Residence of Sea View Hospital, Staten Island, for an outstanding adaptive use project and commitment to community revitalization. The Arker Companies and The Domain Companies developed the former dormitory into affordable senior housing units with the help of Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits. Other project partners were Building Conservation Associates and Hugo S. Subotovsky, Architects, LLC. The Sea View hospital campus was constructed from 1913 to 1938 for the treatment of tuberculosis, and it was the site of clinical trials that led to the cure for the disease.

The project was the first historic structure to be funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s affordable green design initiative program.

Packard Building, Buffalo, for an outstanding adaptive use project and commitment to community revitalization. Regan Development adapted the 1926 Packard Automobile Showroom and storage facility into affordable housing units and commercial space. Hamilton Houston, Lownie, Architects and Resetarits Construction were the consultants. The work was funded in part by Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits and affordable housing tax credits.

The partners took extra efforts to preserve the building’s distinct character. The architects searched nationwide for a firm to custom design replacement windows. In addition, the developers chose to retain and stabilize the building’s water tower, recognizing it as one of the landmark structure’s distinguishing features.

Public Sector Achievement:

The Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council and the Western Erie Canal Alliance for commitment to the field of historic preservation as a tool for community revitalization. The partnership of the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council and the Western Erie Canal Alliance is a model for a comprehensive, regional approach to economic development programs and historic preservation programs.

The Council and the Alliance focus many of their programs on smaller communities where municipal staff may not have the benefit of historic preservation training. Their regional approach is particularly appropriate for encouraging municipalities to collaborate on the community preservation and development programs instead of trying to address economic challenges in a vacuum.

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which is part of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, helps communities identify, recognize, and preserve their historic resources, and incorporate them into local improvement and economic development activities. The SHPO administers several programs including the state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credit program, state historic preservation grants, the Certified Local Government program, and the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, which are the official lists of properties significant in the history, architecture, and archeology of the state and nation.

Books: Madison County’s Frank L. Baum, Wizard of Oz


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This summer the film “The Wizard of Oz” marked its 70th anniversary. Just in time comes The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baumby Rebecca Loncraine, the first full biography of L. Frank Baum – from his birth in 1856 and his youth in the Finger Lakes region, to the years following his death – that looks at the people, places, history, culture, and literature that influenced the renowned storyteller. From the Civil War to women’s suffrage, from amputation to modern medicine, from psychics to industrialization, Baum saw it all and it was reflected in his writings. Loncraine is an acknowledged expert on Oz and Baum who traveled the US to study him, his works and the impact they had on our culture for the book.

When The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written at the turn of the century, it quickly became an icon of American Culture. The public and the media were entranced by myths surrounding Baum’s creation, all covered in the book:

Was OZ really named from the O-Z on his file cabinet?

Was the book really a reaction to the Populist party?

What was Baum’s incredible connection to PT Barnum?

Finger Lakes Museum Site Submission Process Closed


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The Board of Trustees of the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum have officially closed the site submission process. Nineteen potential building sites were proposed by seven Finger Lakes Region counties and the City of Geneva before the deadline of July 15th.

Counties that submitted proposals include Cayuga, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates. The City of Geneva is partnering with Seneca County on a site that straddles the Ontario/Seneca county line at the north end of Seneca Lake.

The deadline, which had been originally set for June 15th, was extended by the board for 30 days to give some counties more time to complete title searches. The sites are now being toured and evaluated by the project’s Site Selection Committee.

A question arose concerning a 20th site being added to the list when a landowner inquired about submitting a parcel in Ontario County. The board considered the inquiry but determined that the deadline should be upheld in fairness to the counties that worked hard to make submissions on time, according to a press release issued last week. The landowner is not being identified.

The search for a building site has ramped up the level of excitement for the initiative to develop a cultural and natural history museum to showcase the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region.

New York Heritage Adds 16 More Collections


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The New York 3Rs Association has added sixteen more online collections to its collective digital heritage web site, www.NewYorkHeritage.org. The site now connects more than 200 digital collections from around the state, contributed by libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions, and builds on existing digital repository services administered by each of the nine reference and research library resources councils.

New materials include the Historical Portraits Collection from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Elmira College’s Mark Twain Archive, the New York Historical Association’s Murder Pamphlet Collection Exhibit , early Robert Montgomery materials housed at the Trinity-Pawling School Collection, Alfred University’s Image Archives, Rochester Medical Museum and Archives, NYU’s Abraham Lincoln Brigade Collection, images from the Onondaga Nation at the Liverpool Public Library, folk art collections at the Crandall Public Library Folklife Center, the Steinmetz Collection of Schenectady, the Almquist Green Lakes Collection housed at the Fayetteville Public Library, and many others from around the state. For an up-to-date list of collections and contributors visit www.NewYorkHeritage.org

Additionally, The Tools of History regional digitization site, created by the South Central Regional Library Council, has been added, as have been the Rochester Regional Library Council’s Finger Lakes-Genesee Valley Heritage and the Capital District Library Council Digital Collections regional sites.

A variety of materials can be found among the New York Heritage Digital Collections, including photographs, postcards, correspondence, manuscripts, oral histories, yearbooks and newspapers. Many kinds of institutions from New York State have partnered to make this project possible, including public, academic and school libraries, museums, archives and historical societies. The power of collaboration is what makes this new service possible.

Participants to New York Heritage Digital Collections are committed to enhancing the site by adding both content and contributing institutions on a regular basis. The goal of the project is to eventually connect one thousand collections and one million items from throughout New York State. All institutions interested in participating in the project are encouraged to contact the 3Rs organization that serves their region.

The New York 3Rs Association is a partnership among New York’s nine reference and research resource systems. The New York 3Rs was incorporated in 2003 to further the ability of those systems to provide statewide services. The members of the New York 3Rs Association are: the Capital District Library Council, Central New York Library Resources Council, Long Island Library Resources Council, Metropolitan New York Library Council, Northern New York Library Network, Rochester Regional Library Council, Southeastern New York Library Resources Council, South Central Regional Library Council, and Western New York Library Resources Council.

Underwater Explorer Presents Lake Ontario Shipwrecks


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Noted shipwreck explorer Jim Kennard will present an all-day program on the “Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario” on Saturday, June 13 as part of the 2009 Great Lakes Seaway Trail Experience Series. Kennard’s discoveries have received worldwide attention and have been featured in National Geographic Magazine. The program at the “Red Barn” at the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site on Hill Street in Sackets Harbor benefits the nonprofit Great Lakes Seaway Trail Foundation that promotes tourism-based learning experiences along the 518-mile-long freshwater shoreline of New York and Pennsylvania. The program fee for the day-long shipwrecks program on June 13th is $15 or $5/program payable at the door.

The waters of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail hold many of the more than 200 wrecks Kennard has discovered in more than 35 years of diving. Each of his four presentations on May 21st will focus on a different wreck that Kennard and exploration partner Dan Scoville have discovered over the past six years in Lake Ontario. The program begins at 10 am and will include presentations on:

“Discovery of the Steamer Homer Warren,”

“The Last Voyage of the Schooner Etta Belle,”

“Discovery of an Early 19th Century Lake Ontario Schooner,” and

“The Deep Water Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario.”

During each program Kennard will present a brief update & short video on HMS Ontario, a British sloop-of-war that sank in Lake Ontario on October 31, 1780, during the Revolutionary War. Kennard also be signing copies of the recently-published book “Legend of the Lake,” the story of the HMS Ontario.

Since 1970, Kennard has discovered shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, NY Finger Lakes, and Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Using his background as an electrical engineer, Kennard built the side scan sonar system that located the shipwrecks.

For more information on the Great Lake Seaway Trail and the Dive the Seaway Trail Project, visit www.seawaytrail.com or call 315-646-1000.