Tag Archives: Historic Preservation

Utica Landmarks Society Holding ‘Picnic in the Park’


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The Landmarks Society of Greater Utica’s second Picnic in the Park will be held Saturday, June 2 from 10 a.m.-8:00 p.m. at the Society’s mansions at 1 and 3 Rutger Park, Utica. Day-long activities include guided tours of the mansions, live musical entertainment, face painting, a classical car show on the lawn, an art exhibit featuring local artists, book signings and sales by area authors, and basket raffles.

A food tent will provide wholesome foods, beverages and home made desserts. All Landmarks members will receive complementary ice cream. A “Vendor Village” will feature many area crafters and creators selling their wares.  There is no admission fee. All proceeds will be designated for the Mansions Restoration Fund.

Bungalows of Rockaway: Film Screening, Discussion


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The Historic Districts Council (HDC) will show the 2010 documentary film, “The Bungalows of Rockaway,” produced by Jennifer Callahan and Elizabeth Logan Harris follwed by a panel discussion.

The film highlights the rich history of the Rockaway bungalows. Although of the more than 7,000 bungalows dotting the peninsula in 1933, fewer than 500 remain today. 
The documentary, narrated by Estelle Parsons, features rare archival footage, maps, and interviews with historians, prominent New Yorkers, and several of the longtime residents and vacationers.

In 2012, HDC named the Far Rockaway Beach Bungalows to its Six to Celebrate list, six historic New York City neighborhoods that merit preservation as priorities for HDC’s advocacy and consultation over a yearlong period. HDC is working with the Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association to get the remaining bungalows of Beach 24th, 25th and 26th Streets on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and to raise awareness about this irreplaceable part of New York City’s history.

The screening will be followed by a “Q & A” session and discussion with Richard George, executive director of the Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association; Nancy Solomon, director of Long Island Traditions and author of the National Register nomination; David Selig, owner of Rockaway Taco; Jeanne DuPont of Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, andthe filmmakers. The program will be moderated by journalist Eve M. Kahn.

The event will be held on Monday, June 11, at 6:30 pm at Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue at East 2nd Street, Manhattan.  Fees: $10 for the general public, $5 for Friends of HDC, seniors and students. Advance reservations are required. Tickets can beordered via Paypal through hdc.org or by calling 212-614-9107. A limited number of complimentary tickets will be available to Far Rockaway residents. Please contact ftolbert@hdc.org for more information.

Photo courtesy Historic Districts Council.

40 NYC Historic Sites Vie for $3 Million, Vote Now


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Forty historic New York places representing all five boroughs have been named finalists competing for $3 million in grants through Partners in Preservation, a collaboration between American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The preservation effort powered by social media will allow the public to vote online through May 21, 2012 for the preservation projects most important to them at www.PartnersinPreservation.com. Participants can vote once a day, every day, for the same site or for different sites. The top four vote-getters, to be announced May 22, are guaranteed to receive grants for their preservation projects. A Partners in Preservation advisory committee of community and preservation leaders, will select sites that will receive the rest of the $3 million in grants.
To encourage voting, a “Preservation Station” vehicle will travel around New York City throughout the voting period, giving New Yorkers the opportunity to get their photos taken against the backdrop of their favorite sites and have those pictures projected onto buildings. To find out where the “Preservation Station” will be, follow @PartnersinPres and @AmericanExpress on Twitter.

The 40 historic places in New York City competing for the $3 million in grants are:

  • Alice Austen House Museum, Staten Island
  • Apollo Theater, Manhattan
  • Astoria Pool, Queens
  • Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, Bronx
  • Brooklyn Public Library, Central Library, Brooklyn
  • Brown Memorial Baptist Church, Brooklyn
  • Caribbean Cultural Center, Manhattan
  • City Island Nautical Museum, Bronx
  • Cleopatra’s Needle, Manhattan
  • Coney Island B&B Carousell, Brooklyn
  • Congregation Beth Elohim, Brooklyn
  • Duo Multicultural Arts Center, Manhattan
  • Ellis Island Hospital Complex, Manhattan
  • Erasmus Hall Campus, Brooklyn
  • Federal Hall National Memorial, Manhattan
  • Flushing Town Hall, Queens
  • Gateway National Recreation Area, Brooklyn
  • Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, Brooklyn
  • Guggenheim Museum, Manhattan
  • Helen Hayes Theatre, Manhattan
  • Henry Street Settlement, Manhattan
  • High Line, Manhattan
  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Manhattan
  • Japan Society, Inc., Manhattan
  • Jefferson Market Library, Manhattan
  • Louis Armstrong House Museum, Queens
  • Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Manhattan
  • Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center, Bronx
  • Museum of the City of New York, Manhattan
  • New York Botanical Garden, Bronx
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society of Rosebank, Staten Island
  • Queens County Farm Museum, Queens
  • Rocket Thrower, Queens
  • Rossville African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Staten Island
  • Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Manhattan
  • St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, Manhattan
  • Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor, Staten Island
  • Tug Pegasus & Waterfront Museum Barge, Brooklyn
  • eeksville Heritage Center, Brooklyn
  • Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx
  • Guided Tours at the Shaker Heritage Society


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    The Shaker Heritage Society is offering guided tours of America’s first Shaker Settlement. Tours will run every Saturday beginning May 5th through September 29th. Participants will learn the story of the Shakers, a group that played important roles in shaping local and national history. The grounds also house a historic herb garden, chickens, turkeys, and oxen, the grave of Shaker founder Mother Ann Lee and other important Shakers in the Shaker cemetery.

    Guided tours begin the 1848 Shaker Meeting House at the site of America’s first Shaker settlement. The historic site is adjacent to Albany International Airport off of Heritage Lane. Tours begin at 1:00pm. There is a suggested donation of $5.

    For more information visit www.shakerheritage.org or call 518-456-7890.

    Cultural Landscape Workshop Set for Lorenzo SHS


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    Lorenzo State Historic Site, in Cazenovia, Madison County, NY, will host a one-day workshop for preservation planners, cultural resource managers and stewards of historic properties.

    The day’s agenda will include defining the types and characteristics of cultural landscapes; documenting historic and current conditions including preparation of period and contemporary plans; developing treatment plans within an historic preservation context; examples of cultural landscape reports and their various components; interpreting the cultural landscape; what resources to consult and what steps to take in establishing a cultural landscape preservation program; and touring the historic landscape at Lorenzo.

    Presenting cultural landscape experts:

    John Auwaerter, Co-director of the Center for Cultural Landscape Preservation, SUNY ESF, and a National Park Service Partner with the Olmsted Center in Boston

    Christine Capella-Peters, member of the technical staff for the NYS Historic Preservation Office, a division of OPRHP

    George Curry, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Landscape Architecture, SUNY ESF and cultural landscape Project Director at SUNY ESF

    The registration deadline is May 15, 2012. The cost is $40 for MAAM members; $50 non-MAAM members (payment accepted by check or credit card). More information can be found online.

    The program is presented by the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums in cooperation with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science & Forestry (SUNY ESF), and the National Park Service Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation.

    Company Wants to Mine Fort Anne Battlefield


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    A battle is brewing in Fort Ann, Washington County. Troy Topsoil has purchased part of Battle Hill, the site of the Revolutionary War Battle of Fort Anne. The company hopes to mine the battlefield, where an estimated 100 to 200 men were killed, wounded, or captured.

    A group of historians and volunteers has planned a day of events to highlight the history of the Battle of Fort Anne, including an afternoon roundtable discussion on the current threat to the battlefield this Saturday, April 28th at Fort Ann Central School.

    “This place has remained undisturbed for over 235 years, then Troy [Topsoil] obtained the property and has cleared out trees, built roads, installed culverts and drilled wells, in order to operate a sand and gravel pit,” Fort Ann Town Historian Virginia Parrott, who opposes the project, told me, “To most people in town including the Fort Ann American Legion Post 703, this is a desecration of sacred ground as people have fought and died here in the name of freedom, and are buried on Battle Hill.” [You can read more about the history of Battle Hill here].

    “That whole hill is a battle site,” Parrott had previously told the Glens Falls Post-Star. “There was thousands of troops there. We’re not talking about a little group of soldiers … like Roger’s Rangers that went out with 10 or 12 people. We’re talking about Burgoyne’s entire army.”

    Anthony Grande, speaking for the mining company, said an archaeologist report commissioned by his company showed no one was buried in the area targeted for the open pit mine. “The battlefield is south of me where there is an issue,” Grande told the Post-Star. “It’s definitely south of there, probably 3,000 to 4,000 feet. I’m not exactly sure.” The company is seeking to open a 30 to 40-acre mine on Battle Hill.

    Several historic sources report that at least six men are buried at Battle Hill according to Parrott, who has been town historian since 1975. The site has never been listed on state or national registers of historic places, although the Town of Fort Anne installed a plaque at the site in 1929 and the American Legion places flowers on one of the graves each year. The lack of established protection for important American battlefields is common. “Of the nation’s 243 Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields, 141 have been severely impaired or destroyed” a recent report by the Department of Interior’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) concluded (2007).

    Battle Hill was classified as a Principal Battlefield, Priority 2, Class C site in that report, meaning that it was home to a “nationally significant event” and the “site of a military or naval action that influenced the strategy, direction, or outcome of a campaign or other operation.” Furthermore, the report found that “The endangered Class C sites in this category should be the focus of immediate and direct preservation measures by state and local governments and organizations. These sites may not survive without immediate intervention.”

    Tanya Grossett, surveyed the battlefield in 2001 for that report and concluded, with help of Jim Warren of NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and Chris Martin of NYS Archives and Records Administration, that the quarry does fall within the core of the battlefield. Paul Hawke, director of the American Battlefield Protection Program concurred with that finding after a tour of the site last Tuesday.

    The land is owned by Gino Vona. According to a story last week in Post-Star, “Vona said he’s offered to donate a small sliver of the site, about 20 or 30 acres, for preservation and he questions whether stalling a project that could create jobs, for the sake of historic preservation, is an appropriate governmental move.”

    “These men fought against the king who was taking their things. Many of them were just regular, hard-working people,” Vona told Post-Star reporter Jon Alexander, “Aren’t we talking about doing the same thing?”

    The company had applied for a permit to mine the location in August 2009 which did not include a state Historic Preservation Office review and was denied. The company submitted a new application at the end of 2011. The public will be able to comment on the project officially after the application is ruled complete by the NYS Department of Conservation.

    The event on Saturday is sponsored by the Washington County Historical Society and will feature Author Karl Crannell, Fort Ticonderoga Chris Fox, Kingsbury historian Paul Loding, and Matt Zembo from Hudson Valley Community College.

    The event will begin run from 11 am to 4 pm. There will be a memorial service at Noon; the roundtable discussion will follow at 1 pm at the Fort Ann Central School Auditorium.

    Lecture on Thomas Cole’s ‘New Studio’ Sunday


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    In 1974, an Italianate building that Thomas Cole had designed and used as his painting studio in the mid-19th century was demolished. It had fallen into disrepair and the art movement that Thomas Cole had founded, the Hudson River School, had fallen out of favor. Over the years, the site was overcome with trees and shrubs, and the exact location of the former building was lost.

    The site is now part of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, and the building is in the process of being revived. This Sunday, April 15 at 2 pm, the art history professor from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, Julie Levin Caro, will be at the Thomas Cole site to speak about this piece of history – the building that Cole designed as his “dream studio”.

    The talk is the last event in the series of Sunday Salon lectures, which take place once per month from January through April at the home of Thomas Cole, where the Hudson River School began. Tickets are $8 per person, or $6 for members, and admission is first-come-first-served.

    Photo:

    Lecture on Fultonville’s Starin Place


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    Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site will offer a program entitled “Fultonville’s Starin Place” on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm at the historic site’s Visitor Center, 129 Schoharie Street, Fort Hunter, NY. The event is sponsored by the Friends of Schoharie Crossing and presented by Karen Chapman, director of Fortroyale Preservation Society in Fultonville, Montgomery County, and owner of the Starin Place. Continue reading

    Saunderskill: One of the Oldest Farms in America


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    Those readers who follow my writing realize quickly that I have a special affinity for the Hasbrouck House in Newburgh more commonly known as Washington’s Headquarters, State Historic Site. Many of those visiting the site do not realize that a part of that site’s history can be traced back to Western Ulster County, New York where Jonathan Hasbrouck’s mother Elsie Schoonmaker was born and raised. Continue reading

    Online Voting for $3M in NYC Preservation Funding


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    New York City will be this year’s location for Partners in Preservation, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s community-based initiative to raise awareness of the importance of historic places. The program will infuse $3 million in grants to preserve the city’s historic buildings, icons and landmarks. The program hopes enlist the aid of New Yorkers, and anyone who loves New York, to vote online for the preservation projects most important to them.

    From April 26 to May 21, 2012, anyone 13 years of age and older, anywhere in the world can vote online – either from their web-enabled mobile device, online or on Facebook – for one of 40 to-be-announced historic New York City places, by visiting www.Facebook.com/PartnersinPreservation or www.PartnersinPreservation.com.

    The public voting process kicks off April 26 with the announcement of the 40 competing historic sites. Everyone can vote up to once a day, for the same site or for a different site. On May 22, the top three public vote-getters and the grants for their preservation projects will be revealed.

    Tracking New York City Historic Preservation Efforts


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    The Historic Districts Council has created an online archive and email newsletter, “HDC@LPC,” which documents both applications to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission for major changes to landmark buildings as well as HDC’s testimony on each proposal.

    HDC, the citywide advocate for New York City’s historic neighborhoods, is the only organization to review and comment on hundreds of applications to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission for significant alternations to landmark buildings in all five boroughs.

    Each week HDC’s Public Review Committee reviews applications and testifies at public hearings as to the appropriateness of proposed changes. Through its testimony, HDC both advises the Commission about inappropriate applications and acknowledges exceptional design that sensitively treats and responds to historic buildings and districts.

    In addition to the weekly e-mail newsletter, HDC@LPC can be accessed at www.hdc.org/hdc@lpc/. HDC@LPC contains archived testimony dating back to 2005 and can be searched by neighborhood and historic district.

    SPLIA to Present 2012 Preservation Awards


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    As an advocate, the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA) works to promote the appreciation and protection of regional cultural heritage. To encourage standards of excellence and raise public awareness, their 2012 Preservation Awards recognize individuals, organizations and projects that demonstrate extraordinary achievement in the field of historic preservation on Long Island.

    This year’s honorees include Robert A. M. Stern Architects, Seatuck Environmental Association, the Town of Southampton, and the Aquinas Honor Society of the Immaculate Conception School.

    The 2012 SPLIA Preservation Awards will be held on Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm at SPLIA Headquarters (161 Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724). The event is free, but registration is required by calling SPLIA at 631-692-4664, Monday – Friday.

    Historians Should Promote Preservation


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    In recent articles several authors have pointed out the multifaceted world that is New York history. Museums, historical societies, historical agencies on all levels and the local government historians all play a role in our efforts to ensure the continued importance of this state’s history and heritage. Is this the right approach or should there be a more top down method to our madness? Whatever your answer is to that question, the same divergent pattern is found in historic preservation in the Empire State. Continue reading

    31 Recommended for State, National Registers


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    The New York State Board for Historic Preservation recommended the addition of 31 properties and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, including a Lake Champlain shipwreck, a post-World War II auto dealership, and a 200-year-old Catskill inn that survived the catastrophic floods of Tropical Storm Irene.

    Listing these properties on the State and National Registers can assist their owners in revitalizing the structures, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.

    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. There are 90,000 historic buildings, structures and sites throughout the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places, individually or as components of historic districts. Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations.

    Once the recommendations are approved by the state historic preservation officer, the properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register.

    STATE REVIEW BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS

    Albany County

    The Dr. Wesley Blaisdell home, Coeymans – the imposing 1838 Greek Revival-style home constructed by Dr. Wesley Blaisdell, physician and son of a wealthy landowner, remains a visual landmark in the local community and stands as a monument to several of the community’s leading citizens and families.

    Cayuga County

    Cottage Farm, Fair Haven – one of the oldest seasonal houses in the village of Fair Haven was originally built in the 1830s and extensively remodeled around 1880 and again in 1910, and is a reminder of the village’s long tradition of being a seasonal vacation destination on Lake Ontario.

    Columbia County

    The Bartlett House, Ghent — the former railroad hotel built in 1870 was at one time the centerpiece of a cluster of buildings, many of which have fallen away, that marked the intersection of the New York & Harlem Valley and Berkshire Railroads, providing a link to the post-Civil War growth of the hamlet.

    Copake Falls Methodist Episcopal Church, Copake – dedicated in 1892, the highly intact example of ruralLate Victorian era ecclesiastical design was built on land donated to the group by the Miles family, which was associated with the nearby Copake Iron Works, and is now home of the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society.

    The Daniel and Clarissa Baldwin House, Spencertown – built in1807, it is a distinctive example of Federalperiod domestic architecture reflecting the influence of New England construction methods brought west by the hamlet’s early settlers, who largely came from overpopulated regions of Connecticut.

    Erie County

    The American Grain Complex, Buffalo – the intact collection of early 19th century buildings embody the tale of Buffalo’s leading role in transshipment of grain from the Midwest to the East, and the handling of grain to produce malt for the brewing industry and flour for the baking industry.

    The Automobile Club of Buffalo, Clarence – the 1910 Craftsman-style building housed the automobile club that not only brought together early automobile enthusiasts, but lobbied for pro-motorist legislation that was integral to the development of the automobile generally and of paved roads throughout New York State.

    Buffalo Meter Company Building, Buffalo – the 1915 building is an excellent and largely intact example of a reinforced concrete frame daylight factory celebrated their structure and functionality with minimal ornament were highly influential to Modern Architecture.

    Essex County

    The Canal Boat Vergennes – a rare example of a class of mid-19th century Champlain canal boat that was archaeologically unknown until the shipwreck’s discovery in 1998, it is significant for the understanding it can provide for both the history of the Champlain Canal and the evolution of canal boat construction.

    Greene County

    John and Martinus Laraway Inn, Prattsville — a distinctive example of late Federal/early Greek Revival design, the inn was constructed ( in part) in the late 18th century to become one of the region’s most recognizable visual landmarks, hosted the town’s first organizational meeting in 1833, and survived catastrophic flooding in 2011.

    Kings County

    The Wallabout Industrial Historic District, Brooklyn –lined predominately with late-19th and early- to mid-20th-century industrial buildings, the district reflects the paramount importance of industry in Brooklyn as it developed into one of America’s major industrial centers.

    Monroe County

    Church of Saints Peter and Paul Complex, Rochester – built between 1911 and 1926, the excellent example of the Italian Renaissance Revival style was built by a parish organized to meet the needs of the growing Catholic German immigrant population in the city.

    George J. Michelsen Furniture Factory, Rochester — built in 1914 for one of Rochester’s longest-running family concerns, the imposing industrial building was home to a company that survived the Depression, unlike many Rochester furniture makers, and continued to manufacture bedroom furniture at the site until the late 1950s.

    William A. Payne House, Greece – the 1905 Queen Anne-style home was owned by William A. Payne, who made an impact on local and state commercial practices through his leadership in developing fair and uniform methods of weighing and measuring for merchants and consumers.

    Niagara County

    First Presbyterian Manse (also known as the Lavinia E. Porter House), Niagara Falls – Located on Buffalo Avenue, the Italianate-style home built before 1851 in one of the city’s oldest sections is one of two mid-19th century houses left in an area that consists mostly of 20th century hotels and commercial buildings.

    Oneida County

    Wright Settlement Cemetery, Rome – the cemetery records the lives of the families who settled the town after the Revolutionary War, which is especially important in light of the fact that physical links to the farming community were lost to the development of the Rome Air Depot in 1941.

    Onondaga County

    Scottholm Tract Historic District, Syracuse – largely developed between 1915 and 1940 at the transition between the streetcar and automobile, the subdivision represents the growth of single-family residential enclaves within the city, with curving boulevards featuring dense tree-cover, large lots, and a variety of architectural styles.

    Orange County

    Denniston, New Windsor – Built in 1875, the house is a rare and architecturally significant example of non-reinforced concrete construction in the mid-Hudson Valley.

    Union Chapel, Cornwall-on-Hudson — built in 1873, it was erected by Cornwall’s Orthodox Quakers in the post-Civil War period to extend of religion to the residents of Cornwall Landing, and served as both a Quaker mission and Sunday school, at times non-denominational, before eventually falling into disuse.

    Orleans County

    The Clarendon Stone Store, Clarendon – Constructed in 1836 from locally quarried Medina sandstone, the rare surviving example of an early 19th century stone store played a central role in village life, also housing the post office, the town clerk’s office and the town court at different times.

    Payjack Chevrolet Building, Medina – built in 1949 in accordance with modern design principles General Motors encouraged its dealers to adopt after World War II, the business known today as Hartway Chevrolet is one of the few remaining from Medina’s “Automobile Row” at the edge of the village’s commercial center.

    Rockland County

    Brookside, Upper Nyack – built around 1865 and substantially enlarged and modified around 1890, the home is a noteworthy example of the large villas which were central features of estates developed in the Hudson River corridor by the affluent in the 19th century.

    Seaman-Knapp House, Ladentown – erected sometime near the turn of the 19th century, the house reflects both Dutch and English vernacular building traditions and was at one point used as a place of assembly for religious purposes by the local Quaker community.

    St. Lawrence County

    Hepburn Library of Colton – the 1912 library, notable for its rustic stonework, was endowed by Colton native Alonzo Barton Hepburn, a successful lawyer, banker and state and federal government official, who donated an estimated $3 million for construction of libraries, schools and hospitals in St. Lawrence County and elsewhere.

    Schoharie County

    Stewart House and Howard-Stewart Family Cemetery, South Jefferson – the 1850s home is a high intact example of a Greek Revival farmhouse and the cemetery reflects rural 19th century burial practices when family members were buried on their own properties.

    Suffolk County

    Riverhead Main Street Historic District, Riverhead – strategically located on the Peconic River and at the split of Long Island’s North and South Forks, the concentration of buildings represents Riverhead’s importance as the center of business, culture, entertainment and government on the East End of Long Island.

    Ulster County

    Ellenville Historic District, Ellenville — the historic district illustrates how forces from the development of the Delaware and Hudson Canal in the early 19th century to the role of the “Borscht Belt” era summer resort economy following the Second World War shaped the commercial core of the crossroads village.

    Pine Hill Historic District, Pine Hill – the cohesive collection of late 19th century and early 20th century buildings represent the heyday of summer tourism in the Catskill Mountains.

    Westchester County

    Dale Cemetery, Ossining – incorporated in 1852 and laid out in the rural cemetery tradition, with winding paths set along forested gentle hillsides, the cemetery retains much of its mid-19th century plan and is the final resting place of many of Westchester County’s prominent citizens.

    Downtown Ossining Historic District (Boundary Expansion) – the boundary expansion includes four contributing buildings that were not included in the 1988 nomination, but which are characteristic of the historic district’s 1840 to 1933 period of significance.

    Wyoming County

    First Free Will Baptist Church, Pike – the 1881 structure is a representative example of a late 19th century Gothic Revival-style church and the last surviving historic religious building in the small rural community.

    Photo: Grain elevators and canal boats in Buffalo Harbor.

    Preserving Civil War Graves in NYS, Revisited


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    The Old Ellenville Cemetery, also known as the Leurenkill Cemetery, sits near the American Legion Post 111. It is the oldest public burial ground in the town of Wawarsing (Ulster County), with graves dating back to 1807. The earliest known veterans’ graves are from the War of 1812. This cemetery unfortunately suffers from many of the same problems that other old or abandoned cemeteries encounter. Recently, however, the Old Ellenville Cemetery received a needed financial boost with a combined effort involving the American Legion Post, The Veterans Grave Preservation Project, and Shop Rite in Ellenville. Continue reading

    See New St. Peter’s Church Exhibit First, Free


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    Visitors to the Albany Institute of History & Art on Friday, March 2 from 5–8 PM can enjoy a free sneak peak at the museum’s newest exhibition, St. Peter’s Church: 300 Years of History & Art before it’s officially opening on March 3. The event is in association with Albany’s 1st Friday art walk, showcasing the art scene in downtown Albany. The show, running through April 29, will examine the role St. Peter’s Church has played in shaping Albany and the upper Hudson Valley.

    The exhibition showcases the distinguished history of St. Peter’s Church in Albany, New York, which begins in 1708 when England’s Queen Anne sent missionaries to establish friendly relations with the Iroquois.

    A gambrel-roofed masonry edifice with a bell tower was completed in 1715. Located on State Street, just below present day Chapel Street, it was the first Anglican Church built north of New York City and west of the Hudson River. In 1802 Albany architect Phillip Hooker designed a new Federal Style church near the same location, which Richard Upjohn of New York City, well-known for his Gothic Revival Style replaced in 1860. His son, Richard M. Upjohn added the impressive bell tower in 1876.

    The richly decorated interiors include work by leading artists designers including windows designed by the English artist Edward C. Burne-Jones and fabricated by the William Morris Company of London in 1880; the chancel windows made by Clayton and Bell of London in 1885; and the rose window over the State Street entrance made by the Tiffany Company in 1892. Drawn from the collections of St. Peter’s Church and the Albany Institute, the exhibition includes the rarely seen 1712 Queen Anne Communion Service, land grants, portraits, furniture, drawings, prints, maps, and photographs arranged to highlight the history of the church and its role in the historical events that molded the region.

    The show will be located within the Entry Gallery of the Albany Institute of History & Art, which is situated at 125 Washington Avenue, Albany. In conjunction with the show, the Institute is hosting a three-part lecture series entitled “300 Years, One Congregation” for a more in-depth look at the church and its legacy. Visit albanyinstitute.org for more information.

    RELATED EVENTS:

    300 Years, One Congregation: Three Buildings, Four Distinguished Architects
    Sunday, March 4 at 2 PM
    John G. Waite, FAIA, and Doug Bucher of John G. Waite Associates, Architects, PLLC will present a lecture on the architectural and artistic history and legacy of St. Peter’s Church. Free with museum admission.

    300 Years, One Congregation: One Faith: The Stained Glass Windows at St. Peter’s Church

    Sunday, March 25 at 2 PM
    Mr. Anthony Anadio will present an illustrated lecture of the stories told by the thousands of pieces of stained glass created by some of the world’s finest artisans that are part of St. Peter’s Church. The lecture will be followed by a tour of St. Peter’s to see the actual windows. Free with museum admission.

    Illustration: St. Peter’s Church circa 1850 by James Eights (1797-1882), watercolor.

    Camilo José Vergara Exhibit Features Harlem


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    Photographs by MacArthur Foundation “genius award” winner Camilo José Vergara, will be on display at the New-York Historical Society in two rotations — Harlem: The People on view through June 10 and Harlem: The Place, from June 13 through September 16. The photographs in both exhibitions, part of the original 2009 exhibition Harlem 1970-2009, explore the effervescent neighborhood of Harlem by showing the transformation of the area over the past 40 years.

    The images in Harlem: The People and Harlem: The Place show streetscapes that the photographer visited repeatedly over the course of thirty-eight years, so he could create a composite, time-lapse portrait of a vibrant, world-famous neighborhood seen as a place of ongoing transformation. The series has become a living historical record of Harlem. Vergara has been photographing this vital neighborhood of New York City since 1970, and in doing so he demonstrates, with powerful “before” and “after” images, how one of New York City’s most important neighborhoods has been redefined. As such, Vergara also captures the social and cultural changes in Harlem as he returns to photograph the same street corners and storefronts year after year. He continues to photograph these locations today and writes about his process:

    “For a long time I have thought of myself as more a city builder than as a photographer. I think of my images as bricks which when placed next to each other give shape and meaning to a place. I see the images of neighborhoods arranged according to time and location, each one … linking the hundreds of stories that are a place’s history. This is how photographs tell how Harlem evolved and what it gained and lost in the process.”

    Selected from the artist’s archive on the Invincible Cities website, the exhibition includes a sequence of photographs showing the evolution of Harlem, its buildings and its people—from the murals that used to condemn racism to advertisements for sports cars, liquor and young rappers; from shops owned by Koreans and West Indians to corporate franchises; from an incubator for struggling churches to famous landmarked churches that attract busloads of visitors from around the world.

    All of these historically compelling photographs were donated to the New-York Historical Society by Camilo José Vergara in 2009.

    Preservation Conference: NYC Public, Open Spaces


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    The Historic Districts Council (HDC), the citywide advocate for New York City’s historic neighborhoods, will host its 18th Annual Preservation Conference, “The Great Outside: Preserving Public and Private Open Spaces,” March 2-4, 2012.

    “The Great Outside” will focus on significant open spaces and landscapes in New York City, including public parks, plazas, parkways, yards, planned communities and public housing. Participants will examine a variety of issues such as development history, current threats, preservation efforts and future use. Speakers will address both broad issues as well as smaller, neighborhood-based battles. Attendees will gain a strong understanding of how open space conservation and preservation works in New York City. The conference is co-sponsored by more than 200 community-based organizations from across the five boroughs.

    The conference begins on the evening of Friday, March 2 with an opening reception and a keynote address, “Change, Continuity and Civic Ambition: Cultural Landscapes, Design and Historic Preservation,” by Charles A. Birnbaum, founder and president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, the country’s leading organization dedicated to increasing the public’s awareness and understanding of the importance and irreplaceable legacy of its cultural landscapes. This event will take place from 6-8pm at New York Law School, 185 West Broadway in Manhattan.

    The conference continues Saturday, March 3 with two panels examining the preservation of public and private open space: distinguished speakers include author and curator Thomas Mellins; landscape architect Ken Smith; Thomas J. Campanella, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Design at University of North Carolina; independent scholar Evan Mason, and Alexandra Wolfe of the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities. The Saturday conference will also present networking opportunities where attendees will learn about the latest campaigns dealing with open space concerns across the city. The Conference will be held at Cooper Union, 41 Cooper Square, between East 6th and East 7th Streets, Manhattan.

    On Sunday, March 4, HDC will host five related walking tours in a diverse group of New York City neighborhoods and sites with significant public and private open spaces, including Sunnyside and Woodside in Queens, public and private plazas of Midtown Manhattan, Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, the North Shore Greenbelt of Staten Island, and a bicycle tour of the changing waterfront of Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn. Advance reservations are required.

    Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx A National Historic Landmark with a stunning array of mausoleums and world class landscape design.

    Midtown’s Public Plazas See the renowned as well as little-known public plazas that dot the landscape of Midtown Manhattan. Many were designed by prominent landscape architects as public amenities.

    Northshore Greenbelt of Staten Island is part of the larger green belt that makes this the second largest area of city parkland in New York.

    Sunnyside, Woodside and Beyond. This tour highlights a variety of significant landscapes including the early garden style housing of Sunnyside and the public housing in nearby Woodside.

    Williamsburg and Greenpoint Waterfront Bicycle along this changing face of Brooklyn and learn about the large new waterfront towers, public parks and plans for the future.

    HDC will offer several pre-conference programs with content related to open space issues. On February 5 at 8:30am at 232 East 11th Street, Andy Wiley-Schwartz, assistant commissioner of the city Department of Transportation, will present new and affordable pedestrian spaces created from underutilized street segments through the DOT Public Program. Both of these programs are free to the public.

    Fees: March 2 Opening Night Reception and Keynote Address: $35, $30 Friends of HDC, Students & Seniors; March 3 Conference: $25, $15 for Friends of HDC & Seniors, Free for students with valid ID; March 4 Walking Tours: $25. Reservations are necessary for all programs.

    For more information or to register for the Conference go to www.hdc.org or call (212) 614-9107.

    The 18th Annual Preservation Conference is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City council and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by Councilmembers Inez Dickens, Daniel Garodnick, Stephen Levin and Rosie Mendez.

    The conference is also co-sponsored by the New York Chapter, American Society of Landscape Architects and more than 200 Neighborhood Partner organizations.

    Photo: Statue of George Washington (by Henry Kirke Brown, 1856) in the middle of Fourth Avenue at 14th Street, circa 1870; the statue was later moved to the center of Union Square Park. Courtesy Wikipedia.