Tag Archives: OPRHP

Webinars on Historic Preservation Tax Credits


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New government incentives will help many owners of older houses and commercial buildings repair or rehabilitate their buildings. Two free webinars presented by staff from the State Historic Preservation Office will review the basic guidelines for the programs and answer questions about the application process.

The programs require that buildings are individually listed in the State or National Register of Historic Places, or in a listed historic district. Additionally, the buildings must be located in an eligible census tract. The New York State Historic Homeowner Tax Credit Program will cover 20% of qualified rehabilitation costs of owner-occupied historic houses in certain target areas, up to a credit value of $50,000. The Historic Commercial Tax Credit will cover up to 20% of qualified rehabilitation costs up to a credit value of $5 million. Commercial property owners must be approved for the federal historic preservation commercial tax credit, which offers an additional 20% credit on qualified rehabilitation costs. Note that the Commercial Tax Credit program includes rental housing.

Date: Tuesday, August 17, 2010

1:00 – 3:00 Historic Preservation Tax Credit Programs for Commercial Properties

3:30 – 5:00 Historic Preservation Tax Credit Programs for Homeowners

“The Historic Preservation Tax Credit can be a profoundly effective tool in fostering sustainable neighborhoods and revitalizing vacant buildings,” said Carol Ash, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “It’s been said that the greenest building is the one that is already built. Under this new initiative approved by Governor Paterson last year, owners of qualified historic homes could qualify for tax credits ranging from $1,000 all the way up to $50,000 for home improvements, including repairs to doors, windows, roofs and plumbing, heating and wiring systems.”

For information about the tax credit programs and further details about the webinars, visit the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation website at www.nysparks.state.ny.us/shpo.

To register for a webinar, send an email to preservation@oprhp.state.ny.us and type “commercial webinar” or “homeowner webinar” in the subject line. Registrants using that address will receive a response with information only on logging in. For questions regarding the webinar, contact Sloane Bullough at 518-237-8643, ext. 3252 or Sloane.bullough@oprhp.state.ny.us.

Registration is limited. Information about the tax credit programs can be found online at http://www.nysparks.state.ny.us/shpo/tax-credit-programs/.

The webinars are sponsored by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and the New York State Education Department.

Destruction of Historic Staten Island Beach Community?


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Following a determination by the New York State Historic Preservation Office that the Cedar Grove Beach Club was eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district, Staten Island elected officials have called on NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe to abandon plans to demolish the 99-year old community in New Dorp.

Cedar Grove Beach Club is a collection of 41 historic beach bungalows largely built between 1920 and 1940 in New Dorp, Staten Island. The community was established around 1907 as one of many beach campgrounds during the heyday of Staten Island’s shore. Today the Beach Club, located south of the corner of Ebbitts Avenue and Cedar Grove Avenue, is a close-knit community of families who have been on the beach for generations. In the 1960s, New York City took land and cottages by eminent domain as part of a plan to build an expressway through the site. While the road was never built, the scheme that resulted in the destruction of almost all of Staten Island’s historic seaside resort communities.

Cedar Grove alone escaped demolition because the bungalow owners and the Beach Club have rented the property back from the City for nearly 50 years while being responsible for all maintenance of the public beach, playgrounds and property. As one resident remarked, “the Beach Club now pays more in rent in a year than the City paid for the bungalows.”

In December 2009, NYC Parks announced they would not renew the Club’s lease, and ordered the bungalow community’s residents to vacate by December 31, 2009. Following public outcry, and with the support of local community groups and elected officials, Parks agreed to extend the lease until September 30, 2010. Parks has recently announced its intentions to demolish most of area’s buildings immediately after the lease expires, although, as Congressman McMahon’s letter of July 22, 2010 points out, the City has no projected start date or funding for its plans to furnish the beach with lifeguard and concession stands or to facilitate greater public access to the beach area. The sand beach area of Cedar Grove is currently open to the general public and accessible from New Dorp Beach Park to the north and Great Kills Park to the south.

Area residents fear that the city will evict the current occupants of the bungalow colony and defer any future plans for the property indefinitely, leaving the site unmaintained and littered with construction debris, the same situation that exists at the adjacent New Dorp Beach Park. This fear is supported by fact that the city has not initiated the process to obtain appropriate permits to demolish historic structures, to begin new construction on a site designated by the State as a potential sensitive wetlands area, or any of the other clearances typically necessary for a proposed capital project.

Recently, Manhattan Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito (chair of the Parks Committee of City Council) has joined her Staten Island colleagues Vincent Ignizio, James Oddo and Deborah Rose, Congressman McMahon, NYS Senator Lanza, Assmebly member Janele Hyer-Spencer, the New Dorp Central Civic Association and the Historic Districts Council in calling for Parks to abandon their plans to destroy this important historic district and evict 41 families from the Beach Club.

In a letter citing the historic importance of the site, Congressman Michael McMahon, State Senator Anthony Lanza (NY-24), and Councilmen James Oddo (50th District) and Vincent Ignizio (51st District) objected to the Parks Department’s lack of firm plans and the absence of funding for any project at the property, stating that they “fail to see the logic” of evicting the site’s long term residents, especially “given the current economic climate faced by the city” and “the significant financial burden” of taking new construction on the site.

Niagara Falls State Park Celebrates 125 Years


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The nation’s oldest state park, Niagara Falls State Park, celebrated its 125th Anniversary this week with a concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on Goat Island and the dedication of a restored pocket park.

On July 15, 1885 then Governor David Hill dedicated the land and created Niagara Falls State Park. Created to protect its natural beauty from the continued industrialization of the river and to allow public access to its scenery, Niagara Falls became a blueprint for public parks across the country-both state and national parks. Eight million people now visit Niagara Falls each year, making it the most popular park in the New York State Park system.

Ancestors of Thomas V. Welch, the first superintendent of Niagara Falls State Park and a member of the Free Niagara Movement, were on hand to dedicate Heritage Park which is the site of a renovated pocket park just outside of Niagara Falls State Park. The park which serves as a connection for visitors between the city and the park is now the home of several plaques and markers from historical events and figures of Niagara Falls State Park. New pavers were also installed and landscaping was done by volunteers from the community.

Anniversary events continue through the reminder of the year including the “History Comes Alive” program where historical figures including Annie Edson Taylor, Frederick Law Olmsted, Nikola Tesla, Father Louis Hennepin and others who spent time at Niagara Falls State Park share their stories of the park with visitors. See www.niagarafallsstatepark.com for a full listing of events.

Increased Visitation Trend Continues at NYS Parks


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The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced that Fourth of July holiday weekend attendance numbers were consistent with the strong showing in the early part of the summer season. Attendance over the three-day holiday weekend increased by six percent over last year.

All totaled, nearly 1.9 million people spent a portion of their holiday weekend at a state park or historic site.

Last year, the state park system recorded nearly 56 million visits. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 178 state parks and 35 historic sites. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456, visit www.nysparks.com.

Minnewaska State Park Master Plan Adopted


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The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission have adopted a master plan for Minnewaska State Park Preserve. State Parks has reinstated the master planning process throughout the park system, and Minnewaska State Park is among the first to complete a new master plan. Park master plans define a long-term, sustainable vision for parks by helping to identify best uses for a specific site, make the most of limited resources, and protect the environment.

The Minnewaska master plan includes natural resource protection measures and more avenues for recreation, including expansion of hiking, biking, equestrian and climbing opportunities, and reuse of the former Phillips House as the preserve office and visitor center. [LINK]

The master plan outlines OPRHP’s vision for potential capital improvements, operational enhancements and natural and cultural resource stewardship within Minnewaska State Park for the next ten to fifteen years. Factors such as the availability of funding, the need to invest in rehabilitation of existing park infrastructure, and other pressing needs in the entire state parks system will influence the sequence and timing of the improvements.

Highlights of the plan include:

• Developing a climbing management plan to indicate additional areas suitable for rock climbing;

• Creating a looped single track mountain bike trail system and enhancing the existing woods roads for hiking and horseback riding;

• Implementing ridgewide efforts focused on fire management, deer impacts on biodiversity and invasive species control; and

• Reusing the former Phillips House as the preserve office and visitor center and improving parking lot designs.

Winners of ‘Play in the Parks’ App Contest


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The New York State Chief Information Officer and Office for Technology (CIO/OFT), the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) have announced the winners of the NYS Play in the Parks App Contest.

The NYS Play in the Parks App Contest was an application development contest for graduate students at the NYU-Poly announced in April. Graduate students of NYU-Poly were challenged to create a web-based or mobile application proposal to help citizens discover the beauty and history of the New York State park system.

A panel of judges from the New York State Empire 2.0 Committee, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and NYU-Poly selected Yigit Kiran’s project proposal “Park Wise” as the grand prize winner. Mr. Kiran will receive a $2,000 scholarship provided by NYU-Poly and will develop his proposal as part of an unpaid internship at CIO/OFT. Mr. Kiran is a computer science student from Istanbul, Turkey.

“Park Wise” is aimed at helping users obtain information on what they see as they travel through parks by using the newest technological trends in human computer interaction. “Park Wise” will be developed as a mobile application to assist visitors of New York State parks. Individuals using the application can learn about the unique and historic sites in New York parks by pointing the camera of their mobile device at a key point of interest. For example, if users point a camera at the Helderberg Escarpment located in Thatcher State Park in Albany, they would learn it is one of the richest fossil-bearing formations in the world.

In addition, “Park Wise” will feature a navigation application. While wandering the parks, “Park Wise” will allow users to see their current location and where they are headed. “Park Wise” users will also have the ability to take photos of their experiences and share them on Facebook, comment on key points of interest, and read other users comments.

Two proposals were also selected as second place winners and each team will receive a $1,000 scholarship to NYU-Poly. The second place team winners were Kunjan Sanghvi, Nisarg Shah and Yogesh Trivedi; and a team comprised of Marvin Charles and Ram Kumar. Honorable Mentions in the contest were awarded to Avinash Vutukuri and Barn Durukan, who will each receive a $500 scholarship to further their educational goals.

NY Parks, Historic Site Attendance Soars


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The State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash has announced an increase in park attendance. According to Ash, state parks attendance has increased by 1.3 million visitors, up 11 percent from last year, while July 4th holiday weekend camping reservations reflect 90 percent occupancy. Additionally, sales of the park system’s $65 annual pass, the Empire Passport, increased statewide 1.5 percent over 2009 numbers, with more than 40,000 passes sold this year.

Ash also introduced a new summer campaign to encourage New Yorkers to visit and support state parks and historic sites. The statewide Find Your Fun social network and web-based initiative will run through September and utilize the agency’s website (www.nysparks.com) as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Regular updates and highlights will be provided about summer-related Find Your Fun suggestions and activities going on at state parks and sites to engage visitors. Park staff will offer an insider’s look at popular spots, hidden gems and interesting facts, and visitors will be encouraged to share photos, recipes, and favorites, while programs, activities and trip suggestions will also be promoted.

Ash is also encouraging New Yorkers support parks and historic sites by joining Friends Groups, volunteering at parks or making financial donations to the park through the agency website.

Last year, the state park system recorded nearly 56 million visits. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 178 state parks and 35 historic sites. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com.

Finger Lakes Museum, State Announce Partnership


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The president of the Finger Lakes Museum and the Regional Director of Finger Lakes State Parks have announced the formation of a partnership that will work to move the proposed Finger Lakes Museum forward. In April, the museum’s board of trustees announced that Keuka Lake State Park had been selected as the preferred site for a world­class museum that is planned to showcase the cultural and natural history of the 9,000 square­mile Finger Lakes Region.

Museum president, John Adamski, said that board members and Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation (OPRHP) officials from Albany and the region have already met and toured the park as the first step in developing a joint master plan for the museum and public use of state parkland. Regional parks director, Tim Joseph, arranged the meeting and led the tour.

A little­-used 60­-acre section at the north end of the park, bordering Route 54A, is
being considered as the location for the museum’s main campus. Opportunities for interpretive exhibits in other areas of the park are also being examined. Camping and public use of the existing beach, facilities, and boat launch will not be affected.

Andy Beers, OPRHP Executive Deputy Commissioner, stated that while the agency will not be involved in funding the $40 million project, it will make its expertise and services available to help museum organizers develop their plans.

The Finger Lakes Museum is a privately held not-­for­-profit educational institution that was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 2009. While some federal and state funding may be available through grant programs, the bulk of the funding is planned to come from private sources and corporations.

In other developments, museum trustee and former site selection committee chairman, Don Naetzker, resigned from the board in May to accept a paid position as the museum’s Project Manager. A licensed landscape architect and professional land planner, Naetzker will coordinate planning efforts with museum organizers, state parks, and architectural and exhibit designers. His recent master planning projects include Frontier Field, Corn Hill Landing, and Charlotte Harbor at the Port of Rochester.
Commercial real estate developer and president of the Finger Lakes Visitors Association, David Wegman, was elected to the museum’s board of trustees in May. He is also owner of Esperanza Mansion Inn and Restaurant in the hamlet of Keuka Park and the tour boat, Esperanza Rose, which offers dinner cruises on Keuka Lake. Wegman was instrumental in bringing the Finger Lakes Museum to Keuka Lake State Park.

Photo: Finger Lakes Museum board members and officials from the state Office of
Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation met last month in order to develop a joint
master plan for Keuka Lake State Park. From left to right: Don Naetzker, FLM project manager; Tim Joseph, Finger Lakes State Parks Regional Director; Mike Wasilco, DEC Region 8 wildlife biologist; Andy Beers, OPRHP Executive Deputy Commissioner; Chris Pushkarsh, OPRHP, Tom Alworth, OPRHP; Bill Banaszewski, FLM; John Adamski, FLM president; John Eberhard, OPRHP; Henry Maus, FLM; Jim Zimpfer, OPRHP; Dan Davis, OPRHP; and Tom Lyons, OPRHP.

State Parks, Historic Sites Make 11 Most Endangered


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The National Trust for Historic Preservation named America’s State Parks and State-Owned Historic Sites to its 2010 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. This annual list highlights important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk for destruction or irreparable damage.

America’s state parks and state-owned historic sites are threatened – perhaps more than at any other time in recent history – with deep funding cuts and uncertain futures. In response to record-breaking deficits, state governments are cutting funding for state-owned and -managed parks and historic sites from coast to coast. State park systems welcome an estimated 725 million visits every year and include places of national significance – from Native American historic sites to Revolutionary War forts to Civil War battlefields to country estates.

This year nearly 30 states have experienced cuts to parks’ and sites’ budgets, and a recent survey estimates as many as 400 state parks could close.

While providing some short-term budget relief, this approach is expected to actually cost states far more in the long term. Before they can re-open, state-owned and managed resources will require massive investments to undo the damage suffered from abandonment, neglect and deferred maintenance. Although at least 26 states across the country are grappling with this issue, the National Trust cited six prime examples, including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

* In New York State, Governor Paterson announced the closure of 41 state parks and 14 historic sites, including landmarks like the farm and gravesite of abolitionist John Brown, in North Elba, and the beautiful Georgian-era Philipse Manor Hall, in Yonkers, a vibrant center of local community gatherings and activities.

* In New Jersey, state parks and state-owned historic sites have been on life support for years. Now Governor Christie is slashing the budget of the state agency responsible for parks and historic sites—reducing its funding from $11.6 million to $3.4 million. Christie’s stark budget also eliminates all funding for the Battleship New Jersey, the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, Morven Museum in Princeton, and the Save Ellis Island organization.

* In Pennsylvania, a drastic 37 percent budget cut forced the closure of Old Economy Village—an exceptionally well-preserved religious colony constructed between 1824 and 1830 and the Commonwealth’s first historic site—along with 11 other sites that will close to the public. With Pennsylvania’s next budget projected to be even more severe, the future of Pennsylvania’s historic resources is in jeopardy.

* In Arizona, $19 million in revenue from the operation of state parks and lottery proceeds was cut in half, and thirteen of the state’s 31 parks were forced to close. Ironically, a recent study shows how Arizona state parks—when open—attract 2.3 million visitors annually, generating $266 million of direct and indirect economic impact.

* In California, twice in the last two years, budget challenges have put the state’s 278 parks at risk, prompting their placement on the 2008 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Chronic underfunding has already impacted 150 parks with reduced services and part-time closures. In a politically-charged climate, a ballot measure slated for November will determine if voters approve a long-term, stable funding solution.

* In Missouri, over 120 state park jobs were eliminated due to the downturn in the economy, making a bad situation even worse. With an existing backlog of deferred maintenance totaling more than $200 million, the state park system’s 1,845 structures—700 of which are historic—are put at even greater risk.

For more information about the states and historic sites facing budget cuts across the country, visit www.PreservationNation.org/11Most.

America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places (in alphabetical order):

America’s State Parks and State-Owned Historic Sites—This year, nearly 30 states have experienced cuts to parks’ and sites’ budgets, and a recent survey estimates as many as 400 state parks could close. These state park systems include places of national significance—from Native American historic sites to Revolutionary War forts to Civil War battlefields to country estates—and welcome an estimated 725 million visits every year.

Black Mountain, Harlan County, Ky. —Nestled at the base of Eastern Kentucky’s rugged Black Mountain, the historic mining towns of Benham and Lynch are working hard to define a future beyond coal. The towns, which have created well-respected heritage tourism sites and are working to revitalize their main streets, now face the threat of multiple surface and deep mining permits on and around Black Mountain—a move that would be tremendously harmful to Black Mountain’s natural beauty, fragile ecology and growing tourism industry.

Hinchliffe Stadium, Paterson, N.J. —Once the pride of Paterson, N.J., Hinchliffe Stadium is one of the last surviving ball parks of baseball’s Negro League. Today, the 10,000-seat, poured-concrete Art Deco stadium that was home to the New York Black Yankees and legendary player Larry Doby, is closed and dangerously deteriorated.

Industrial Arts Building, Lincoln, Neb.—For nearly a century, this dramatic trapezoidal exposition space with natural skylights, intricate roof trusses and a four-story fountained interior, has showcased the best of Lincoln, Neb. Despite its long, proud history, the Industrial Arts Building will soon meet the wrecking ball unless a developer steps forward to rescue and reuse the building.

Juana Briones House, Palo Alto, Calif.—In the heart of Silicon Valley stands the oldest structure in Palo Alto, built by one of the original Hispanic residents of San Francisco, a pioneering woman who was a rancher, traditional healer and entrepreneur. The 1844 adobe home is a rare reminder of California’s rich Spanish and Mexican history. Today this California State Historic Landmark sits abandoned, deteriorated, exposed to the elements and threatened by demolition.

Merritt Parkway, Fairfield County, Conn.—Spanning 37.5 distinctive miles and celebrated for its diverse collection of decorative bridges and lush, natural landscaping, Merritt Parkway remains, 70 years after it was constructed, one of America’s most scenic roads. To accommodate increased traffic on the parkway, the cash-strapped Connecticut Department of Transportation is not performing necessary maintenance and has moved to realign roads, replace bridges and redesign interchanges, all at the cost of the parkway’s unique character.

Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C.—A major landmark of African American heritage and one of the most important religious institutions in the United States, Metropolitan A.M.E. Church’s red brick Victorian Gothic-style building, completed in 1886, hosted the funeral of congregant Frederick Douglass in 1895 and Rosa Parks a century later. Years of water infiltration and damage caused in part by adjacent construction projects have compromised the structure, prompting the dedicated congregation to launch a national capital campaign to rescue and restore this irreplaceable house of worship.

Pågat, Yigo, Guam—The island of Guam, the westernmost United States territory in the Pacific, is home to the Chamorro people who maintain a thriving culture dating back thousands of years. With the United States military’s announced plans for a massive buildup on the island, many residents are concerned about the potentially devastating impact on the island’s cultural resources, including one of Guam’s most treasured sites, the ancient Chamorro settlement of Pågat.

Saugatuck Dunes, Saugatuck, Mich.—Along the shores of Lake Michigan, the 2,500 acres that comprise the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Area boast a spectacular, sparsely-developed landscape of sand dunes, water, woods and wetlands. Home to several endangered species and a large number of significant historic and archeological sites, Saugatuck Dunes and its surrounding community are threatened by a proposed 400-acre, residential development, to include a marina, hotel, restaurant and retail complex.

Threefoot Building, Meridian, Miss.—For 80 years, this 16-story Art Deco, lavishly decorated, granite-clad skyscraper has been a mainstay of downtown Meridian, Miss. Although a developer expressed interest in rehabilitating the deteriorated building, the City of Meridian has been unable to provide gap financing or other incentives and locals fear that Threefoot’s bright future may end in demolition.

Wilderness Battlefield, Orange and Spotsylvania Counties, Va.—One of the most significant and bloodiest engagements of the Civil War, the Battle of the Wilderness marked the first time that legendary generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant faced off against one another. It is here—in an area known for its rolling landscapes and distant Blue Ridge Mountain views—that Walmart intends to trample on American heritage by constructing 240,000 square feet of “big box” commercial sprawl within the historic boundaries of Wilderness Battlefield and immediately adjacent to the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park.

Photo: Schoharie Aqueduct at the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site, also known as Erie Canal National Historic Landmark, a historic district that includes the ruins of the Erie Canal aqueduct over Schoharie Creek, in Montgomery County.

Advocates: Parks, Historic Sites, to Remain Closed


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Parks & Trails New York, the statewide advocacy organization that works to expand, protect and promote a network of parks, trails and open spaces throughout New York State has issued the following press release regarding the closing of 55 state parks and historic sites:

At a meeting of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation today, Parks Commissioner Carol Ash told Committee members her agency is going ahead with plans to close 55 parks and historic sites, and curtail programming and services at an additional 22, unless sufficient funding is restored to the budget of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in the final state budget.

Commissioner Ash said, “Given that there is no final state budget at this time, our agency has neither funding nor authorization to open the 55 State Parks and Historic Sites that were identified for closing.”

State Parks needs $6.3 million to keep open the 55 parks. The fate of an additional 52 parks and historic sites, 34 tagged for closing and 18 for service reductions, is tied to a $5 million Environmental Protection Fund appropriation in the executive budget.

In total, State Parks needs $11.3 million to prevent any park or historic site from closing. In their budget proposals, the Senate and Assembly have committed to keeping all NYS parks and historic sites open this season.

“We’re deeply grateful to the Senate and Assembly for their commitment to restore $11.3 million in park operating funds, which will allow all state parks and historic sites to remain open,” said Robin Dropkin, Parks & Trails New York Executive Director. “Legislators, and hopefully now the Governor, understand how critically important parks are to New Yorkers and how cutting parks makes no sense in terms of the economy, quality of life or citizen morale.”

“We’re alarmed that the late budget is putting parks in limbo. Will the 55 parks and historic sites slated to close ever be able to open this year? By the time the budget is passed will there be enough time for the parks agency to get the facilities ready for the season? What if the budget doesn’t pass until June?” questioned Dropkin.

“Should agreement on the final state budget continue to be delayed, the Governor and Legislature need to come up with an immediate solution to keep state parks open and accessible to the public,” said Dropkin.

Every dollar invested in state parks and historic sites generates $5 in economic activity for the surrounding communities. In 2008, state parks and historic sites generated $1.9 billion in annual economic activity, including supporting 20,000 long-term sustainable non-parks jobs that generate tax revenues far above the amount of the proposed cuts.

The system’s 178 state parks and 35 historic sites, encompassing 325,000 acres of land and water from Montauk to the Thousand Islands and Niagara Falls, collectively draw more than 56 million visitors a year, 40 percent of whom come from outside the immediate area.

In the 125 years since Niagara Falls State Park became the first state park in the nation, New York State has never closed a park, not even in the depths of the Great Depression. Parks and historic sites on the governor’s hit list for closure affect every region of the state, from Orient Beach State Park at the tip of Long Island’s North Fork to Wilson-Tuscarora State Park in Niagara County.

Patronage of parks and historic sites has been increasing each year, especially as the current recession leads financially strapped New Yorkers to seek recreational opportunities closer to home.

“It is incumbent upon legislators and the Governor during budget negotiations to restore $11.3 million, a mere four-thousandths of one percent of the state budget, to the parks budget to keep our unparalleled system of parks and historic sites open and accessible to the people of New York,” said Dropkin.

Ed. – New York History reported on the potential for these closings in February.

14 State Historic Sites, 41 State Parks to Close, Another 24 At Risk


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At least 14 state historic sites and 41 state parks are targeted to close if Governor Paterson’s Executive Budget is enacted, according to a list released today by the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). Twenty-four more parks and historic sites will face severely reduced hours and services. The historic site closures would mean nearly half of the 36 state operated historic sites would close indefinitely. In all a total of 25 of 36 historic sites will either close or under threat of closure. A complete list of the closings and those threatened is included after the jump.

“If parks are forced to close it will be the first time in the 125-year history of the System,” Robin Dropkin, Executive Director of Parks & Trails New York, said. “Even during the Great Depression our parks remained open for people to enjoy and spend time with their families in nature.”

According to a 2009 report [pdf], state parks and historic sites generate $1.9 billion annually in economic activity statewide. Visitors from outside the community account for about 40% of that activity–visitors and money communities will lose if parks are forced to close.

Additionally, state parks and historic sites account for 20,000 non-park jobs statewide. These are long-term, sustainable jobs that will last as long as our state invests in its parks system. The investment in State Parks is a good one; for every dollar the state spends on parks, it gets back $5 dollars in economic activity.

“News of the closings will devastate many communities as their citizens rely on parks for affordable, close to home recreation and their businesses rely on parks to bring in revenue,” said Dropkin.

In addition to economic benefits, state parks preserve wildlife habitat, provide an escape for millions of New Yorkers in these difficult economic times, and protect the state’s heritage for future generations. The NYS Park System is the oldest and most historic state park system in the nation.

The State Parks budget is only one-quarter of one percent of the total state budget. The savings to the state from closing the 57 parks is estimated to be $6.3 million.

Here is the list of Historic Sites to close (and those under threat of closure according to a memo leaked to the media yesterday):

Long Island Region
Walt Whitman State Historic Site [Under Threat]

Lower Hudson Region
Fort Montgomery Historic Site
Knox Headquarters Historic Site
New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site
Stony Point State Historic Site
Philipse Manor Hall Historic Site
Senate House State Historic Site [Under Threat]
Washington’s Headquarters Sate Historic Site [Under Threat]

Taconic Region
John Jay Homestead Historic Site [Under Threat]
Staatsburgh State Historic Site [Under Threat]
Olana State Historic Site {Under Threat]

Saratoga-Capital Region (Including the Adirondacks)

Bennington Battlefield State Park
Crailo State Historic Site [Under Threat]
Crown Point State Historic Site [Under Threat]
John Brown Farm Historic Site
Johnson Hall State Historic Site
Schoharie Crossing Historic Site
Schuyler Mansion Historic Site

Central Region
Fort Ontario State Historic Site
Herkimer Home Historic Site
Hyde Hall State Historic Site [Under Threat]
Lorenzo State Historic Site [Under Threat]
Oriskany Battlefield/Steuben State Historic Site

Finger Lakes Region
Ganondagan State Historic Site [Under Threat]

Thousands Island Region
Sackets Harbor State Historic Site

Olympic Bobsled Track Named to National Register


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The National Register of Historic Places has listed the 1932 and 1980 Olympic bobsled track, located on Mt. Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid, N.Y., on its national registry for historic places.

Clearing for the original one and a half, 26-curve course began in August 1930 and the track, specifically built for the 1932 winter games, was open to the public just 148 days later, Christmas Day 1930. More than 27,000 cubic yards of earth and stone were used for the straight-aways and curves, while 8,000 feet of pipe, laid four feet underground, was buried to carry the water used to spray the ice from a pond near the base to the top. A gasoline engine and pump forced the water to the top of the run, where a large storage tank guaranteed a continuous supply of water.


The United States’ bobsled team was right at home on the first track ever built in North America and the first-ever one and a half mile course used in Olympic competition. The team won two gold medals, one silver and one bronze. Billy Fiske, who four years earlier at the age of 16 became the youngest-ever Olympic gold medalist, claimed the four-man crown, while fellow American Henry Homburger of Saranac Lake, N.Y., claimed silver. Two brothers from Lake Placid, Curtis and Hubert Stevens, won the two-man race, while their teammates, John Heaton and Robert Minton, took bronze. That event also marked the first-ever two-man race in Olympic history and the first time athletes pushed their sleds at the start.

In 1934 the International Bobsled Federation (FIBT) established a one-mile standard for all tracks. To accommodate the change, the top one-half mile was shut down above the Whiteface curve and the number of curves was reduced from 26 to 16, making the upper portion of the run unusable.

Fifteen years later, the 1,537-meter long course became the first track outside of Europe to host a world championship competition and it was then that Belgian bobsledder Max Houben was killed during a practice run when sliding through the “Shady” curve, prior to the race. Today, the four-man world championship trophy is named in Houben’s honor.

As sled technology improved and speeds grew, changes were made to the course and it took 12 more years before world championship racing returned, in 1961. Throughout the decade of the 1960’s tracks throughout the world continued to try to keep up with sled technology as the request for speed knew no limits. From time to time crashes and tragedy would strike those tracks … even Lake Placid. In 1966, Canadian pilot Sergio Zardini (1964 Olympic silver medalist for Italy) was killed when his four-man sled crashed on turns 13 and 14, better known as the “Zig-Zag Curves.”

With the improvements made and with the blessing of the FIBT, the course hosted Worlds three more times, 1969, 1973 and 1978. Other sports including luge and skeleton also began using the course before it was demolished and re-built in 1979, in time for the 1980 Olympic bobsled competition.

The re-construction included installing refrigeration piping and the building of a refrigeration plant at the base of the run, operated by electricity, with a stand-by generator for emergencies. Following the 1980 games, the track hosted the 1983 world championships before the current combined bobsled/luge/skeleton track was built in 2000.

Today, the track no longer hosts international competitions, but it remains in use. Summer bobsled rides are held on the course, where visitors can enjoy half-mile rides, while reaching speeds in excess of 50-miles-per-hour, while professional drivers steer their sleds through “Shady” and “Zig-Zag.”

Kathleen LaFrank of New York State Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation helped to direct the research. She gathered much of the data and pictures required for the nomination of New York’s historical sites and the additional honor of being named to the National Registry as well.

“The bobsled run is internationally recognized for its association with the 1932 games and the rise of the sport in the United States,” stated Olympic Sports Complex general manager Tony Carlino. “Athletes and visitors from all over the world know of this track, and there are very few worldwide that carry this kind of history. The creation of this track helped to make Lake Placid famous as a winter sports capital.”

Photo: Construction workers lay rocks as they build the Mt. Van Hoevenberg bobsled track, in 1930 in anticipation of the 1932 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y. (Photo Courtesy of ORDA)

NYS Library Offers Civil War Noontime Programs


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The NYS Library will offer two noontime programs in January. On Thursday, January 14th, Christopher Morton will present “A Banner Decade: Ten Years of the New York State Battle Flag Preservation Project.” Morton, who is the Flag Project curator, will discuss the history of the Battle Flag Collection and highlight the Flag Project’s accomplishments to date while showcasing a number of interesting and historic flags from the collection. And on Friday, January 22nd, historian Michael Russert will present “The Edward McPherson Farm and the Battle of Gettysburg.” Russert will discuss how the battle, fought on the McPherson farm and on surrounding land on July 1st, 1863, had a life-changing effect not just on the family that lived on that farm, but on rural Adams County of Pennsylvania and its inhabitants. The programs will be held in the Librarians Room, 7th floor, Cultural Education Center, Madison Avenue, Albany. Those interested in participating can register online here.

A Banner Decade: Ten Years of the New York State Battle Flag Preservation Project

In 2000, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) initiated a preservation campaign and developed plans for archival long-term housing of the New York State Battle Flag Collection administered by the Division of Military & Naval Affairs (DMNA). This inter-agency partnership, known as the New York State Battle Flag Preservation Project, is responsible for the flag collection’s conservation, storage, research, and interpretation. The year 2010 marks the tenth anniversary of the Flag Project. Over the last decade, OPRHP textile conservators from the Peebles Island Resource Center, with assistance from the Flag Project curator, have preserved and placed into temporary storage over 500 flags from the collection and have provided educational and interpretive services for the interested public. Christopher Morton, the Flag Project curator, will discuss the history of the Battle Flag Collection and highlight the Flag Project’s accomplishments to date while showcasing a number of interesting and historic flags from the collection.

The Edward McPherson Farm and the Battle of Gettysburg

War often has a profound effect on the civilian population in its path. This talk will examine how the battle fought on the land of the Edward McPherson farm and on surrounding land on July 1st, 1863 had a life changing effect on the family that lived on that farm. The talk will make use of primary documents such as census records, personal remembrances, and military accounts to personalize how families in the path of warfare are altered. The focus will be on the antebellum history of the property and how the Battle of Gettysburg changed the rural Adams County of Pennsylvania and its inhabitants. Historian Michael Russert will give this presentation.

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.

Pieces of Fort Edward Revealed During Dredging


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A piece of historic Fort Edward, site of the Great Carrying Place portage between the Hudson River and Lake George and prominent in the history of the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, is reported to have been brought up while dredging the Hudson River for PCBs according to the Glens Falls Post Star.

“Neal Orsini said he was awakened at 4 a.m. by the noise of a clamshell dredge pulling the piece of wood, which he estimated to be about 14 feet long, from his property,” the paper reported. “There was a breakdown somewhere in the system and they took a piece of old Fort Edward out of the bank they weren’t supposed to be touching,” Orsini said, “It was really loud.”

Orsini also told the paper that a clamshell dredge removed a section of riverbank. “It left a gaping hole in my river bank,” he said. The paper is reporting that archeologists are on the scene and a “survey is being performed on the pieces taken from the area.”

Fort Edward was built in 1755 on “The Great Warpath” between Albany and the head of northward navigation at Lake George. It’s three components, the fort itself, a fortified encampment on Rogers Island, and a Royal blockhouse built in 1758 across the river was Britain’s largest military outpost in North America during the French and Indian War housing more than 15,000 troops. An earlier stockaded area named Fort Nicholson was located there in 1709 during Queen Anne’s War; it was rebuilt as Fort Lydus (primarily the trading post of John Lydus) and in 1731 was rebuilt as Fort Lyman. It was renamed For Edward by Sir William Johnson during the French and Indian War in 1755.

Although the historic site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it has been largely forgotten, after the area was heavily contaminated with PCBs, and has fallen into disuse except for the Rogers Island Visitors Center. The Associated Press reported this week that three entities are hoping to purchase parts of the site including the Archaeological Conservancy, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and archeologist David Starbuck, who has been excavating the site since at least 2001.

Rogers Island was also the base camp of Major Robert Rogers and his company of Rangers and it was there that he composed his “Ranging Rules” which form the basis of military tactics adopted by irregular fighting forces all over the world. The site is considered the birthplace of the U.S. Army Rangers. The fort fell to British forces under John Burgoyne in 1777 during the American Revolution.

The dredging project is in its fourth month of removing approximately 2.65 million cubic yards of Hudson Riverbed sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). General Electric is believed to have dischargeed more than 1 million pounds of PCBs from its plants in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward into the Hudson River. The company then fought a legal, political, and media battle to avoid cleanup for nearly 20 years. GE fought the Superfund law in court and conducted a media campaign to convince the public that cleaning the toxic waste from the river would stir up PCBs. This week high levels of PCBs downriver slowed the dredging. GE was ordered by the EPA to clean up a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson River it contaminated in 2002.

Photo: Fort Edward from “A Set of Plans and Forts in Americas, Reduced From Actual Surveys” [1763]

Governor Signs Rehabilitation Tax Credit Enhancements


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Joined by state, municipal and local advocates for community revitalization and historic preservation, Governor David Paterson signed legislation that greatly improves the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit program. The measure (A.9023-Hoyt/S.6056-Valesky) provides incentives and program features for developers and municipalities seeking to rehabilitate historic buildings, and is hoped to advance redevelopment and economic stimulus goals throughout New York State.

“We have every reason to believe that the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit will prove one of the most effective economic and community development programs in the state,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League of New York State, the not-for-profit organization that led the charge for enhanced tax credits.

Commissioner Deborah VanAmerongen of the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal said, “The Rehabilitation Tax Credits will foster new private and federal investment where it is most needed: our economically distressed downtowns and commercial districts, main streets, and older residential neighborhoods. Further, these incentives will encourage the use or reuse of existing affordable housing resources. I’m delighted that we now have a more powerful tool for revitalizing communities across New York State. “

New York’s first-ever rehabilitation tax credit was adopted as Chapter 547 of the Laws of 2006, but limitations of both the commercial and residential programs failed to provide sufficient incentives to deliver economic and community revitalization to municipalities in need. An economic impact study recently conducted by HR&A Advisors of New York, an industry leader in economic development, real estate and public policy consulting, predicts that the enhanced rehabilitation tax credit will spur over $500 million dollars of economic activity in New York State and create some 2,000 jobs over its initial five-year lifespan.

The act will take effect on January 1, 2010. For more information on New York’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit Programs, call the New York State Historic Preservation Office at (518) 237-8643 or visit http://nysparks.state.ny.us/shpo/investment/index.htm .

State Archaeologist Paul Huey on Crailo Historic Site


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State Archaeologist Paul Huey from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will speak at at East Greenbush Community Library, 10 Community Way, East Greenbush, NY, Sunday, April 19 at 2:00 pm. Huey will concentrate on Crailo in the 17th century, explaining what archaeological excavations and documents have revealed.


Important archaeological discoveries have been made at Crailo at various times recently. According to Huey, “In 1974 when the sewer line was installed under Riverside Avenue and in 2007 and 2008 when we excavated for a gas line from the street to the house. We have discovered that Indians lived on the site as early as the 1400s. Dutch pottery and other artifacts discovered in 1990 and in 2008 support the interpretation that this was the location of the home of Domine Megapolensis in 1642, which was a different, earlier structure from the present house.”

Call the State Library at 518-477-7476 to register for this free talk.

27 Place Nominated for State, National Registers


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New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash today accepted the recommendation of the New York State Board for Historic Preservation to add 29 properties to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations.

A number of well-known locations that were recommended for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, including the Fraunces Tavern in New York City; the Spitfire gunboat wreck on Lake Champlain (Essex and Clinton Counties); the Sherwood Equal Rights Historic District (Cayuga County); the Rushmore Memorial Library (Orange County); the Cornell Steamboat Company Machine Shop Building in Kingston; and the 1932 Olympic Bobsled Run in Lake Placid.

The New York State Board for Historic Preservation is an independent panel of experts appointed by the governor. The Board also consists of representatives from the following state organizations: Council of Parks; Council on the Arts; Department of Education; Department of State and Department of Environmental Conservation. The function of the Board is to advise and provide recommendations on state and federal preservation programs, including the State and National Registers of Historic Places, to the State Historic Preservation Officer, which in New York is the State Parks Commissioner.

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. Official recognition helps highlight that state’s heritage and can enhance local preservation efforts. The benefits of listing include eligibility for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. There are nearly 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.

During the nomination process, the State Board submits recommendations to the State Historic Preservation Officer. The properties may be 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 by the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, DC. The State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Interior, jointly administer the national register program.

For more information about the New York State Board for Historic Preservation and the State and National Register programs as well as a complete list of the properties recommended in June, contact the Historic Preservation Field Services Bureau at (518) 237-8643, or visit the state parks web site at www.nysparks.com.

The recommended properties listed by county:

Albany County

1. St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands – the property was acquired in 1867 to accommodate the Albany Dioceses, it is the largest Catholic cemetery in the region.

Cattaraugus County

2. Beardsley / Oliver House, Olean – constructed c. 1890.

Cayuga County

3. Sherwood Equal Rights Historic District, Sherwood – a collection of 24+ buildings and sites associated with numerous social reform movements during the mid- to late 19th century, including abolitionism, the Underground Railroad, women’s rights and education.

Chemung County

4. Jacob Lowman House, Lowman – the farm was acquired in 1792 to Jacob Lowman (1769-1840), early settler, trader, farmer and founder of the hamlet of Lowman.

Cortland County

5. Cortland Free Library, Cortland – early 20th century library building.

Delaware County

6. Rock Valley School, Rock Valley – the one room school building was constructed in 1885 to meet the needs of a substantial population increase.

Dutchess County

7. Pulver – Bird House, Stanfordville – built in 1839 for Stanford farmer Henry Pulver by builder Nathanial Lockwood, Jr., a well known carpenter/builder active in the Hudson Valley.

Erie County

8. Concordia Cemetery, Buffalo – founded in 1859 as a collaborative effort by three German Lutheran churches and represents important aspects of Buffalo’s heritage of German immigration.

9. Trinity Episcopal Church, Buffalo – built between 1884 and 1886, Trinity Episcopal Church is the second oldest Episcopal congregation in the city.

Essex and Clinton Counties

10. Spitfire, gunboat wreck, Lake Champlain – the shipwreck site represents the last intact vessel of Benedict Arnold’s Revolutionary War fleet from the Battle of Valcour Island and has remained untouched at the bottom of Lake Champlain since 1776.

Essex County

11. 1932 Olympic Bobsled Run, Lake Placid/North Elba – the bobsled run at Mt. Van Hovenberg was one of the prime construction projects for the 1932 Winter Olympics and the first and only one and one half mile long bob run ever designed and built for Olympic competition.

Fulton County

12. Knox Mansion, Johnstown – built in 1898 for the prominent manufacturer Charles P. Knox (Knox Gelatin Company).

Herkimer County

13. South Ann Street – Mill Street Historic District, Little Falls – constructed between 1827 and 1911, the district represents industrial and commercial development that occurred in Little Falls adjacent to the Mohawk River and Erie Canal.

14. General Walter Martin House, Martinsburg – constructed in 1805 as the residence of financier, substantial landowner and civic leader General Walter Martin.

Monroe County

15. East Main Street Armory, Rochester – built in 1904-07 to house a local unit of the New York State National Guard.

New York County

16. Fraunces Tavern – constructed in 1719 and converted to a tavern in 1763 it was here that General George Washington gave his famous farewell speech to his officers on December 4, 1783. The building is a pioneering example of an early preservation movement and restoration project that used the most sophisticated techniques available at the time.

Onondaga County

17. Hotel Syracuse, Syracuse – the hotel was designed by George B. Post & Sons, one of the leading hotel designers of the day; ground was broken for the hotel in 1922 and it opened on August 16, 1924.

Ontario County

18. Smith Observatory and Dr. William R. Brooks House, Geneva – built in 1888 and equipped with a 9.5″ refracting telescope crafted by the Warner & Swasey Company of Ohio, it is a rare surviving example of a private, mid-size professional observatory.

19. Farmers’ and Merchants’ Bank, Geneva – built ca. 1914-1915, example of early 20th century commercial architecture in Geneva.

Orange County

20. Rushmore Memorial Library, Highland Mills (Town of Woodbury) – constructed in 1923-24 as the first public library in the town of Woodbury and financed by New York City attorney Charles E. Rushmore, recognized for his work in the Black Hill of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore was named after him in 1930.

21. Woodlawn Farm, Slate Hill – the earliest section of the house dates to c. 1790-1810 and was subsequently expanded and updated during the course of the 19th century.

Schenectady County

22. Enlarged Double Lock No. 23, Old Erie Canal, Rotterdam – constructed in 1841-1842, associated with the transportation history of the Old Erie Canal.

Steuben County

23. Hammondsport Union Free School, Hammondsport – the earliest section of the building was built as a private secondary school in 1858, converted to a public union school in 1875 and was expanded by three additions over the next 38 years.

Suffolk County

24. Jamesport Meeting House, Jamesport – the history of the meeting house dates to 1731, the building dates from 1859 when the original meeting house was rebuilt and served one of the first religious groups established in the town of Riverhead.

25. Brewster House, East Setauket – with a portion dating from c. 1665 and acquired that year by the Reverend Nathaniel Brewster, the first ordained minister in Setauket, the house is the oldest extant house in the town of Brookhaven.

Ulster County

26. Cornell Steamboat Company Machine Shop Building, Kingston – the machine shop was built about 1901 by the Cornell Steamboat Company to accommodate maritime industrial transportation between the Erie Canal and New York City along the Hudson River.

Washington County

27. Town – Hollister Farm, North Granville – first developed by noted educator, author and Freemason Salem Town (1779-1864) and sold to Captain Isaac Hollister in 1833.

Westchester County

28. Hadden – Margolis House, Harrison – the house preserves architectural characteristics that spans three centuries (c. 1750-1930) associated with growth and patterns of settlement in Westchester County.

Wyoming County

29. First Universalist Church of Portageville, Portageville – built in late 1841, the church served as a meeting house.

NY State Historic Preservation Awards Announced


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New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash has announced the recipients of the 2007 State Historic Preservation Awards. The Historic Preservation Awards honor the efforts and achievements of individuals, organizations and municipalities that make significant contributions to the effort of historic preservation throughout New York State.

The State Historic Preservation Awards were established in 1980 to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York’s historic and cultural resources. The recipients were honored at a ceremony at Peebles Island, home of the State Historic Preservation Office, Bureau of Historic Sites.

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt
Public Sector Achievement Award

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, who represents the 144th Assembly District (including Buffalo’s west side and Grand Island on the Niagara River), is honored for his outstanding contribution to advancing historic preservation and community improvement activities across the state.

Eldridge Street Synagogue
Project Achievement Award, Bonnie Dimun, Executive Director, Roberta Gratz, Founder and President Emeritus

The Eldridge Street Project is recognized for its outstanding contribution to restoring and revitalizing the Eldridge Street Synagogue, one of New York’s most prominent historic religious properties.

Universal Preservation Hall
Project Achievement Award, Mattthew Kopans, Director

The Universal Preservation Hall project in downtown Saratoga Springs is recognized for transforming a distinguished yet deteriorated historic church into a vibrant center for art, culture and community events.

Town of Roxbury
Community Achievement Award, Town Supervisor Tom Hynes, Town Historian Peg Ellsworth

The Town of Roxbury, located on the East Branch of the Delaware River, is being honored for its variety of creative approaches to integrating historic preservation into the everyday life of the community, especially in the hamlet of Roxbury.

Adirondack Architectural Heritage
Non-profit Achievement Award

This regional non-profit organization is honored for expanding and enhancing the public’s understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the area’s historic and cultural treasures.

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 federal historic rehabilitation tax credit, 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. There are more than 4,400 State and National Register listings in New York, including nearly 90,000 historic buildings, structures and sites.

NYS Recommends 25 to National Register of Historic Places


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The New York State Board for Historic Preservation today recommended the addition of 25 properties and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations.

“These nominations reflect the incredible diversity of architectural vision, craftsmanship, innovation and history that are present in buildings and landscapes across New York State,” said Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash. “Listing these landmarks will give them the recognition and support they deserve.”


Ash highlighted a number of unique nominations recommended for listing, including:

Congregation Beth Abraham/Mt. Zion Church of God 7th Day – a representative example of New York City’s early 20th century synagogue design, which was built in 1928 by first- and second-generation Eastern European Jewish Immigrants in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn.

Bullard Block – the ornate High Victorian five-section commercial block has been the anchor of Schuylerville’s Broad Street since its construction in 1881 and retains a high degree of its original fabric.

Pine Grove Community Church – an 1895 Victorian Gothic non-denominational church in rural Watson, Lewis County that retains a remarkable degree of its original form.

Chenango Canal Prism and Lock 107 – a surviving portion of the canal that opened in 1836 near Chenango Valley State Park – built very close to the specifications of the original Erie Canal – which provides a rare illustration of the first generation of New York State canals.

Midway Park – established as a trolley park in 1894 and transitioning into a “kiddieland” amusement park, what is now Midway State Park in Chautauqua County retains its original picnic grove and lakeside swimming facilities, along with 18 amusement park rides from the mid-20th century.

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

The New York State Board for Historic Preservation is an independent panel of experts appointed by the governor. The Board also consists of representatives from the following state organizations: Council of Parks; Council on the Arts; Department of Education; Department of State and Department of Environmental Conservation. The function of the Board is to advise and provide recommendations on state and federal preservation programs, including the State and National Registers of Historic Places, to the State Historic Preservation Officer, who in New York is the State Parks Commissioner.

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 nearly 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.

During the nomination process, the State Board submits recommendations to the State Historic Preservation Officer. The properties may be 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 by the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D.C. The State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Interior, jointly administer the national register program.

For more information about the New York State Board for Historic Preservation and the State and National Register programs, contact the Historic Preservation Field Services Bureau at (518) 237-8643, or visit the state parks web site at www.nysparks.com.

STATE REVIEW BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS

Broome County

1. Chenango Canal Prism & Lock, near Chenango Forks

2. Rivercrest Historic District, Vestal (Approved for state registry only)

Cattaraugus County

3. 520 Hostageh Road, Rock City

Chautauqua County

4. Midway Park, Maple Springs

Clinton County

5. Alice T. Miner Museum, Chazy

6. Werrenrath Camp, Dannemora

Columbia County

7. Rockefeller, Simeon House, Germantown

Erie County

8. J.N. Adam/AM&A’s Historic District, Buffalo

Herkimer County

9. Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville

Kings County

10. Congregation Beth Abraham, Brooklyn

11. Parkway Theater, Brooklyn

12. H. Lawrence & Sons Rope Works, Brooklyn

Lewis County

13. Pine Grove Community Church, Watson

New York County

14. Shearwater schooner, Manhattan

15. 240 Central Park South, Manhattan

Onondaga County

16. Louis and Celia Skolar Residence, Syracuse

Oswego County

17. Brosemer Brewery, Oswego

Saratoga County

18. Victory Mills, Victory

19. Bullard Block, Schuylerville

Suffolk County

20. Hopkins, Samuel House, Miller Place

21. Shelter Island Country Club, Shelter Island

22. Friendly Hall/Tuthill-Lapham House, Wading River

Tompkins County

23. Rogues Harbor Inn, Lansing

Ulster County

24. New Paltz Downtown Historic District, New Paltz

Wyoming County

25. Fleming, Bryant House, Wyoming