Best of 2013: Preservation in WNY

It’s that time of year, when pundits, news outlets, and TV shows look back on the year in review, when  Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with best-of lists. So why not jump on the bandwagon? Here’s our look back at 2013 with a highlight of 13 preservation successes.

1. Walk the Walk reaches over 1600 students

With a new specialized Rochester African-American History Rap program for 2nd graders, Walk the Walk this year reached a record-setting number of children–over 1600 students plus over 200 teachers and chaperones.


2. Preservation Conference

Our Preservation Conference in the village of Brockport was a roaring success with new speakers, timely topics and nearly 200 community advocates, municipal leaders, and preservation professionals in attendance.IMG_20130420_095329_505

3. Launched Five to Revive program

In May, we announced our inaugural Five to Revive list, with Mayor Thomas Richards, County Executive Maggie Brooks, and Senator Joe Robach (among others) in attendance. Since then, we have been working with stakeholders to find solutions to move these properties forward towards revitalization. Two of the properties have rehabilitation plans in the works.

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Five to Revive press conference held in May, 2013 at the Pulaski Library. [Photo courtesy Richard Margolis]

4. Free Academy

2013 saw the completion of the rehabilitation of the Free Academy at 13 S. Fitzhugh St. in Rochester. One of downtown’s most recognizable buildings, the Free Academy had long been vacant. The award-winnng rehab project was completed by developers George and Katia Traikos.

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5. Inside Downtown Tour

Our Inside Downtown Tour in the Cascade District sold out. Nearly 2000 ticket holders toured rehabbed historic buildings in a downtown Rochester that is experiencing an exciting revitalization. The Tour showcased pivotal and award-winning adaptive reuses, including Bridge Square, the mid-century modern 44 Exchange, the Free Academy, and modern infill townhouses on Plymouth Ave.


6. Stone-Tolan Historic Site

Due to the generosity of the Davenport-Hatch Foundation and the Rochester Area Community Foundation, this summer we were able to bring in some of the finest craftsmen in the region to bring this spectacular property back to its former glory.  Master carpenters Matt Sweger and Eric Cady rebuilt custom wooden storm windows, repaired trim, rebuilt animal pens and the wooden well as well as completed repairs on the historic barn. Tim McGrath and his meticulous crew of painters painted not only the house and barn but also the majestic wooden fence that encloses the heirloom apple orchard and runs the length of the property.


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Stone-Tolan Historic Site. Photo courtesy Richard Margolis.

7. Clarendon Stone Store

After a year and a half of cooperative marketing efforts and preservation advocacy with the Town of Clarendon, the Clarendon Stone Store was sold (for $1!) to new owners who have already begun rehabbing this iconic 1836 landmark. We can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

Town Supervisor Richard Moy, right, presented the keys of the Clarendon Stone Stone to Sue and Joe Fertitta on Friday. The couple also was presented a souvenir T-Shirt from the town’s bicentennial. An image of the store is on the back of the shirt. Photo courtesy

8. Over $15,000 in grant money

In the second year of the Preservation Grant Fund program, we provided $15,100 to help kickstart rehab projects for at-risk properties throughout the region. Grant recipients included: the Sampson Theatre in Penn Yan, Genesee Baptist Church in Rochester, Pratt Opera Theater in Albion, Church of God and Saints in Christ (former Leopold St. Shul) in Rochester, Pulaski Library in Rochester, Valentown Hall in Victor, Kingston Hotel in Canaseraga, and College Hall at the Elim Bible Institute in Lima.

Pratt Opera Theater in Albion.

9. 660 W Main

Working with neighborhood residents, we advocated for the preservation and reuse of this vacant historic church in Rochester. Claiming that the building was a hazard and unfit for rehabilitation, in 2012, the owner proposed replacing the historic building with a new Dollar General store. A structural engineer’s report, funded by a Landmark Society grant, determined that the building was structurally sound. Although the ultimate fate of 660 W Main still remains uncertain, the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals denied the owner’s application for a variance to demolish the building.


10. Ghost Walk’s 20th Anniversary

The award-winning Landmark Society Ghost Walk reached its 20th anniversary of sharing Rochester’s architecture and historic in a dramatic, spooky format.


11. 19th Ward project begins

Working closely with the 19th Ward Community Association, we began a project to create four National Register Historic Districts in the 19th Ward neighborhood. National Register listing will allow homeowners to qualify for the NYS historic homeowner rehab tax credits, helping strengthen ongoing revitalization efforts in the neighborhood. To help complete this project, The Landmark Society and the 19th Ward Community Association were awarded generous grant funding from the Rochester Area Community Foundation, the Preservation League of New York State, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


12. Diamond Jubilee Celebration

Along with about 300 of our closest friends (members, donors and supporters), in November we celebrated 75 years of past accomplishments and the success of our new initiatives.

Over 300 members and supporters attended the Diamond Jubilee Celebration

Over 300 members and supporters attended the Diamond Jubilee Celebration

13. 75th Anniversary Campaign

At our Diamond Jubilee Celebration, we announced the successful completion of our 75th Anniversary fundraising campaign. Thanks to our many generous supporters we surpassed our goal, raising $555,000 to fund new initiatives and re-invigorate existing programs.

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75th Anniversary Party

PHOTO: David Boyer

PHOTO: David Boyer

A few weeks ago, we celebrated 75 years of service to Western New York with a birthday blowout at ARTISANworks. Almost 500 of our Landmark Society members and partners joined us for this momentous celebration. Besides the wonderful adapted space and artwork that surrounded us from all angles, guests enjoyed musical entertainment from Gap Mangione; a Silent Auction filled with art, dining packages, tours, and more; delicious food and beverage; and just plain old good company.

As part of our 2012 Annual Meeting, we also recognized the following individuals:

PRESIDENT’S AWARD | Elizabeth Teall

Landmark Society trustee, Elizabeth Teall, accepts the President's Award from Board President, Mary Nisocia. [PHOTO: Gardner Photography]

Landmark Society trustee, Elizabeth Teall, accepts the President’s Award from Board President, Mary Nisocia. [PHOTO: Gardner Photography]


Former trustee, Richard Reisem, was acknowledged as The Landmark Society's newest honorary trustee. [PHOTO: Gardner Photography]

Former trustee, Richard Reisem, was acknowledged as The Landmark Society’s newest honorary trustee. [PHOTO: Gardner Photography]

SPECIAL RECOGNITION | Fran Cosentino & Jane Parker, for the restoration of the Boynton House

Owners of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Boynton House, Jane Parker and Fran Cosentino, accept Special Recognition for their restoration of the Boynton House. [PHOTO: Gardner Photography]

Owners of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Boynton House, Jane Parker and Fran Cosentino, accept Special Recognition for their restoration of the Boynton House. [PHOTO: Gardner Photography]

And, below, a few more highlights from the Party:

President Mary Nicosia welcomes all to the celebration of The Landmark Society’s 75th Anniversary.  Executive Director Wayne Goodman addresses the crowd of almost 500, and presents a special award to Fran Cosentino and Jane Parker, owners of the Frank Lloyd Wright Boynton House. [20 minutes] [Video courtesy David Boyer]




75+ Reasons to Celebrate 75 Years: Corn Hill & Genesee Landmarks Foundation

To help us celebrate 75 years of service to western New York, we put together 75+ Reasons to Celebrate The Landmark Society’s 75 Years, a publication that highlights just some of the preservation and revitalization successes the organization has helped achieve since 1937. (Thank you to former Landmark Society trustee, Richard Reisem, for researching and writing this impressive collection of achievements.) Over the next year we’ll be featuring some of those 75+ reasons in greater depth.

With the wildly successful Corn Hill Arts Festival coming up on July 7 & 8, we thought it would be a good time to reflect on the neighborhood’s early revitalization efforts. The work that The Landmark Society and many residents undertook in the 1960s and 70s to save historic homes and turn the neighborhood around laid the groundwork for the successful neighborhood you see today.

1965 Forms Genesee Landmarks Foundation to restore historic houses in Third Ward.

The Landmark Society formed a subsidiary organization called Genesee Landmarks Foundation to acquire, rehabilitate, and market historic houses in what was then known as the Third Ward (now Corn Hill). This was a project to demonstrate the feasibility of rehabilitating the impressive collection of historic houses in the Third Ward after the area was abandoned by Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), which placed dozens of historic buildings that had been owned or associated with the college in jeopardy in a deteriorating neighborhood. Some brave Landmark Society trustees, like Sally Rial and Bill Chapin, as well as other visionary neighborhood residents bought collapsing houses, restoring them to sparkling, handsome examples to the community. The Landmark Society itself bought, restored, and sold nine properties during the 1960s. The enormous success of Genesee Landmarks Foundation is evident in the vibrant, livable community today.

11 Greenwood, 40 Atkinson, and 42 Atkinson are three examples of houses that the Genesee Landmarks Foundation acquired, rehabbed, and sold to new owners. Today, these houses are a critical part of the neighborhood’s streetscape, contributing to Corn Hill’s character, appeal, history, and economic value.

11 Greenwood – One of the nine properties that The Landmark Society’s Genesee Landmarks Foundation rehabbed and sold.

42 Atkinson – One of the nine properties that The Landmark Society’s Genesee Landmarks Foundation rehabbed and sold.

40 Atkinson – One of the nine properties that The Landmark Society’s Genesee Landmarks Foundation rehabbed and sold.

The property pictured below, 96 Adams, was one of many houses that ultimately were not saved from demolition.

This newspaper clipping from 1968 reflects the urban renewal approach to city planning that most American cities adopted during the post-World War II era.

In addition to efforts by The Landmark Society to rehabilitate and find new owners for existing homes, other at-risk properties were moved into the neighborhood to fill some of the vacant lots. The vernacular Greek Revival cottage that today sits at 102 Adams St., was moved from 101 Edinburgh in 1977, replacing the original 102 Adams that you see below.

This is the original 102 Adams, likely demolished around 1969.

This is the house that currently sits at 102 Adams, moved from 101 Edinburgh in 1977.

And here is 102 Adams as it stands today–a thriving part of the Corn Hill neighborhood.

Visit our 75th Anniversary page to learn more about the exciting events taking place throughout the year as well new initiatives that we’ll be launching.

The Boynton House: A Frank Lloyd Wright-designed masterpiece

As you may have read in recent news stories (see: CITY Newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle and the current issue of Rochester Magazine), the owner’s of Rochester’s Edward E. Boynton House, Jane Parker and Fran Cosentino, have just completed a meticulous and multi-year restoration project. The Boynton House is the only example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work in Rochester and is a spectacular example of his signature Prairie style. Significantly, the house is also one of a very few Wright homes that continues to function as a private, single family residence (most, such as the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo or Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, have been preserved as public house museums).

The complex restoration project was overseen by a local architecture firm, Bero Architecture, PLLC. Bayer Landscape Architecture, PLLC provided the landscape design for the property, which originally included the two lots to the south of the house when it was built in 1908. Today, the property sits on a standard-sized city lot.

The above image shows the house after restoration. One of the most visually striking changes was restoration of the original front porch. The porch was enclosed shortly after the house was constructed but was not a part of Wright’s original design. The newly restored porch showcases the dramatic cantilevered roof, a common element in Wright’s designs.

Pictured below is the house’s dining room with the original furniture, designed specifically for the Boynton House by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The dining room also showcases some of the house’s 235 pieces of art glass.

The Landmark Society recently celebrated the completion of the restoration, congratulating Jane and Fran and launching our 75th Anniversary.

The Landmark Society’s Executive Director, Wayne Goodman, and President, Mary Nicosia, congratulate Boynton House owners, Jane Parker and Fran Cosentino on the completion of the restoration.

Congratulations and thank you, again, to Fran and Jane on their extraordinary work and dedication to this project!

A special thank you to:

Title Sponsor
Bergmann Associates

Boynton Design Team Sponsors
Bero Architecture, PLLC
Bayer Landscape Architecture, PLLC

 Photography by Marty Nott