Progress at the Clarendon Stone Store

It was just about a year ago that the Town of Clarendon officially handed the keys to the 1836 Clarendon Stone Store over to its new owners, Joe and Sue Fertitta. (The Landmark Society partnered with the Town and local preservation advocates to market and sell the vacant property.) Since then, the Fertitta’s have been hard at work bringing this property back to its former glory.

Work on the interior (which had to be gutted and required new electric, plumbing and HVAC) is moving along. Even more exciting though for those who drive through this busy intersection is the progress on the exterior. The porch has been rebuilt to match its historic appearance; the front windows and door have been reconfigured to bring back the look of a storefront; and, as you can see below, Joe has been working on repairing and painting the trim. We can’t wait to see the final result!

Clarendon Joe painting store

Town Historian, Melissa Ierlan, also worked with a local artist to recreate a historic sign that historic photos show once hung above the Store’s porch. The sign was painted and donated by local artist Carol Culhane. Joe and Sue plan to hang it right where it used to be.



Our hats go off to the Fertitta’s and all of the dedicated preservationists in Clarendon who have worked so hard to make this success a reality!


At Risk Again: 660 W Main

Attend the Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing
Thursday, July 17
Arrive by 11:30-12 p.m.
(This is the last item on the agenda, case #12. Case 8 will begin at 11:30 a.m.)
City Hall – 3rd floor, City Council Chambers
View the ZBA Agenda


photo courtesy Mike Governale, Rochester Subway


The former church building at 660 West Main Street in the city of Rochester was constructed c.1870 and was originally home to the Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 1914, it became the home of the Liederkranz Club who occupied it until about 1974. Most recently, the church was owned and used by another religious congregation. The congregation sold the property in 2011 and it has sat vacant and largely unmaintained since that time. Under the City of Rochester’s Zoning Code, 660 West Main is a Designated Building of Historic Value (DBHV).

City Code prohibits the demolition of a DBHV, however, property owners can apply for a variance from the code to allow demolition. The Zoning Board of Appeals considers such applications.

In November, 2012, the owner applied for a variance to demolish this DBHV, proposing to replace it with generic new construction (a sideways strip mall) that would house a Dollar General. The owner also argued that the building should not be on the DBHV list. The ZBA denied the application for a variance and concurred with our opinion that there was no reason to remove the building from the DBHV list.

As of summer 2014, the owner has filed another application for demolition and proposes to replace the historic building with a new single story commercial building (click on the links below to see renderings of the proposed new construction). Now, the new 17,922 square foot building will supposedly house a full line food store.

Our Position

The Landmark Society maintains the same position that we held in 2012 when the ZBA last considered a proposal to demolish this protected historic structure. We support the many residents and property owners in the immediate area of the church who oppose demolition. Here’s why (read our complete comments as submitted to the Zoning Board on November, 2012 here):

  1. Significance as a Designated Building of Historic Value
    Recognizing the historic, cultural, and architectural significance, as well as its importance to the West Main streetscape, the City of Rochester’s Zoning Code has already established that the building can not and should not be demolished. The property owner fails to meet any of the six criteria outlined in Section 120-195 of the City Code that would allow for demolition of a DBHV.
  2. Community Impact & Streetscape
    Demolition and replacement with a building of far inferior quality and design would be a detriment to the streetscape and the surrounding community, particularly in light of ongoing and successful revitalization efforts that are occurring on either side of 660 W. Main. Millions of private and public dollars have been invested in the rehab of historic buildings and in sensitive modern infill just a block away. With growing interest in downtown and walkable urban neighborhoods, it is simply a matter of time before investment and demand spread to this section of West Main.
  3. Building Condition
    Contrary to the reports submitted by the property owner, the building is structurally sound and capable of being adapted to a new use. In 2013, The Landmark Society funded a report by a structural engineer that confirmed the building is indeed structurally sound. Click here to read it.
  4. Redevelopment & Adaptive Use Potential
    While a significant rehabilitation is needed, there is no reason the building could not be adapted to a new use. Placing a new use inside an existing historic building that relates to the streetscape and surrounding buildings would serve the city of Rochester much better than a generic new building. Historic church buildings throughout the country have been adapted to a variety of uses, including bars, restaurants, housing, and event space. Some have even been adapted to house corporate retailers such as pharmacies. The owner has not fully explored reuse potential.

While we acknowledge that not every historic building can or should be saved, we believe that in the case of 660 W. Main, the condition of the building, the concerns of the neighborhood, and the successful revitalization occurring just east of this property, make reuse a realistic option that merits further consideration.

What can you do?

  • Attend the Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing
    Thursday, July17
    Arrive by 11:30-12 p.m.
    (This is the last item on the agenda, case #12. Case 8 will begin at 11:30.)
    City Hall – 3rd floor, City Council Chambers
  • Submit written comments by July 16:
    Jill Symonds, City of Rochester, Bureau of Planning & Zoning, 30 Church Street, Room 125B, Rochester, NY 14612

Statewide Preservation Conference a rousing success!

We wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who helped make the New York Statewide Preservation Conference such an incredible success! Attendees joined us, and our Conference Partners, the Preservation League of New York State, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, and AIA Rochester in filling in the blank with definitions of preservation going beyond the traditional terminology throughout many different events and sessions. The conference was a wonderful mix of professionals, grassroots community activists, students and preservation enthusiasts.

Putting together the conference is a major undertaking for our office, with the entire staff involved. We all had different levels of involvement, experiences and tasks while at the conference so we wanted to gather some reflections on the weekend from a few staff members.


Larry Francer with one of our FILL IN THE BLANK name tags encouraging attendees to write their definition of preservation.

The energy of the vibrant East End combined with the conference keynotes, sessions and parties was infectious.  The attendees glowed as they, “Filled in the Blank.”  Preservation is a joyous part of our lives.
-Larry Francer, Associate Director of Preservation


“Sneaky Preservation” speaker, Dana Saylor-Furman

I was so excited to see such a great number of preservation colleagues and grassroots preservationists from across the state and western New York! We had great presenters, great topics, generous sponsors, and enthusiastic attendees. Like any preservation success story, the people and the place combined to create a dynamic atmosphere, full of new ideas, thoughtful debate, and even a few provocative calls to action. From sneaky preservation to rust belt revitalization; opera houses to education; urban neighborhoods to small towns—we covered it all. The range of topics really demonstrated the many benefits of preservation and the diverse audiences and communities it can serve.

It was truly an honor to have Donovan Rypkema as our keynote speaker and Ed McMahon as our Saturday Breakfast Speaker. If you consider yourself a preservationist, a planner, a community advocate and you haven’t heard what they have to say, I encourage you to start googling. If nothing else, you’ll be entertained.

I came away from the conference reinvigorated and with a renewed commitment to challenge commonly held assumptions and to push myself to constantly seek new preservation strategies.
-Caitlin Meives, Preservation Planner

Saturday speaker, Ed McMahon of the Urban Land Institute, at the newly remodeled East Ave Inn & Suites.

Saturday speaker, Ed McMahon of the Urban Land Institute, at the newly remodeled East Ave Inn & Suites.

It didn’t matter that they had been going since 7:30 or 8 a.m. That they had been to keynotes, presentations, vendor tables, etc.  By all rights they should have been exhausted.  But they stood and talked and talked with each other, with presenters, with staff. You could feel the energy buzzing off them, generated by their conference experience. It was like no one wanted to leave!
-Cindy Boyer, Director of Public Programs

Our friends from ReHouse, one of the many vendor tables set up at The Little Theatre.

Our friends from ReHouse, one of the many vendor tables set up at The Little Theatre.

It was an incredible joy to spend my entire day working for the Landmark Society; surrounded by preservationists, while catching sessions full of engaging content & interesting perspectives. We were excited by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Conference social media presence and hashtag, so we wanted to try our hand. Leading up to, and throughout our conference we used the hashtag #NYPresConf on Facebook and Twitter. Check it out for more conference content- especially from speakers and attendees who were awesome posting throughout the weekend! During the Conference I decided what better day than today to create a Landmark Society Instagram, so follow us there too as we grow the account. It was a fun, new challenge for me to post as “live” as possible to our various social media outlets during sessions and events-I hope you enjoyed the updates. Let’s have even more content for next year’s #NYPresConf!

I want to reiterate Caitlin regarding our keynote and Saturday speaker, they were amazing! I especially enjoyed Ed McMahon’s talk Saturday morning and live tweeted many of his concepts with the #NYPresConf hashtag-check it out for some inspiring one-liners today.
-Anika Lindquist, Office & IT Associate

Our first Instagram photo of our Conference HQ, The Little Theatre in Downtown Rochester.

Our first Instagram photo of our Conference HQ, The Little Theatre in Downtown Rochester.

Working at Stone-Tolan Historic Site, I could not attend most of the conference. I did however attend one session on Friday morning that I enjoyed very much. I observed many people engaged in animated conversations, clearly enjoying the venue. It was a great idea to partner with The Little Theater and WXXI for our annual preservation conference.
- Beverly Gibson, Horticulturist

Thank you to all of the speakers, vendors and attendees who spent time with us for the 2014 Preservation Conference! Our enormous gratitude to our Title Sponsors Rochester Colonial and Bergmann Associates, the generous support provided by The Rochester Area Community Foundation and Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation, as well as all of the additional conference sponsors , without the support of all of these businesses and organizations this incredible event might not happen.


See you next year!


$3.6M awarded for Eastman Dental Dispensary redevelopment

Eastman Dental Dispensary [photo courtesy Richard Margolis]

Eastman Dental Dispensary [photo courtesy Richard Margolis]

Today Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Home Leasing LLC will receive $3.6 million in funding provided by New York State Homes & Community Renewal for redevelopment of the Eastman Dental Dispensary in Rochester! The project will transform this State and National Register of Historic Places listed property into mixed-income and affordable housing units.
>>Click here for the full press release of the funding announcement 

Five to Revive Eastman

We are grateful and thrilled with this news, as the Dental Dispensary was one of our 2013 Five to Revive properties. We can’t wait to see this building restored to its former glory!

>>Click here to learn more about the Eastman Dental Dispensary

Reconnect Rochester wants to know: what could you do with a bus shelter?

Photo Courtesy Rick Urwin

Following the completion of the new RTS Transit Center, the bus shelters along Main Street will no longer be needed to provide shelter for passengers, and these retro beauties could be scraped. But we, citizens of Rochester, could change their fate!

Photo Courtesy Sharon Drummond

Reconnect Rochester has partnered with RGRTA and the City to solicit serious proposals for new uses for the former shelters;

Whatever your idea, write it up, include a drawing or two, and send it to along with your contact information and a brief explanation.

Proposals should include:
• your name(s)
• your business or organization name
• contact information
• which shelter(s) you would like to use
• what purpose you would use the shelter for
• when you could start using it
• the length of time you’d use it for
• any other relevant details
• and any illustrations or drawings that might help explain your idea

Proposals will be reviewed by the City and then a meeting will be set up to discuss.

Even if you lack in the artistic department, they want your written idea anyway!

Read more about the shelters and see some ideas on Reconnect Rochester.

Agreeing with many of the comments already posted, a coffee kiosk could be an excellent new use. Here’s an inspiration from my vacation in Burlington, VT last summer.

bluebird coffee

This is such an exciting project to get the community inovlved in place making decisions, what would you do with a shelter?

Submit your ideas to now. We can’t wait to see what Rochester comes up with!

Bucolic Historic Site in Bethany Now on the Market!

The former Bethany Town Hall is located in a bucolic rural setting in Genesee County. This location offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle with easy access to urban centers. It’s just 15 minutes to Batavia or LeRoy and 45 minutes from Rochester or Buffalo.

Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Amrhein

Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Amrhein

This 1832 Greek Revival is solidly built and features loads of historic details and charm. Hardwood floors, original wood doors, wainscoting, and light fixtures throughout. Approximately 5,000 square feet on two floors includes plenty of open space—perfect for a loft style residence or artist’s studio. Spaces include meeting hall, restrooms and kitchen on first floor and auditorium, stage, dressing rooms and offices on second floor.

The Old Bethany Town Hall has been the center of community life for generations. It has functioned as a church, an academy, the Town Hall, and a grange hall. The history and character of this building can be yours!

Landmark Society staff are working with the Town of Bethany to finalize details
on the marketing of this property. Please stay tuned for more information coming
soon. In the meantime, contact Caitlin Meives with inquiries.


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.

Pulaski Library Press Event 5272_3
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.

Free Academy Building 7271_3

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.


Stone Tolan House 7113_2

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.

Landmark-75-logo-withtext-color smallNOTAGLINE



Support the 2013 Annual Fund!

annual fund post

Landmark Society staff pose with members of the Pennsylvania Yankee Theatre Company in front of the Sampson Theatre in Penn Yan, one of the 2013 Five to Revive.

The many celebrations that marked our 75th anniversary during 2012 and 2013 were exciting, but for those of us who love preservation work and the people who support these projects, the fun is just beginning.

We have benefited from the generosity of our members, our donors, and the general public who have embraced our programs, old and new. The milestone of our 75th anniversary offered us a unique opportunity to showcase your favorite programs in a different light and introduce new initiatives with partners from across our nine-county service area. We are proud to be considered the subject-matter experts on preservation in Western New York, but we are equally pleased to be valued for our ability to work in revitalizing neighborhoods and small communities, and to play a part in teaching the next generation about adaptive reuse.

The work of The Landmark Society of Western New York reflects the interests and demands of the communities that we serve and our members who are committed to our mission. We value your confidence in us and we need your ongoing support, not only through membership dollars, but also through contributions to the Annual Fund. Both funding sources are critical to furthering the work we all embrace. We stand on the shoulders of our members and donors over the last 75 years.

>>Please help us build on their vision by making a gift to this year’s Annual Fund.

>>Click here for more information about the Sampson Theatre in Penn Yan and the 2013 Five to Revive program.

Special Citation: B. Thomas Golisano Hope Lodge Hospitality House

The Landmark Society’s 2013 Preservation Awards will be presented this year at a special event on Sunday, November 10 at 3:00 p.m. in Rochester’s historic City Hall, the spectacular Richardsonian Romanesque landmark located downtown at 30 Church Street. The Awards are given each year to individuals and organizations in our nine-county area who have made outstanding efforts in the preservation of their homes, historic properties, and landscapes. In anticipation of the upcoming Awards Ceremony we will be featuring some of this year’s award winners.

A Special Citation provides recognition for projects that do not fit into other categories or recognizes outstanding individual or group accomplishments in the field of historic preservation.

B. Thomas Golisano Hope Lodge Hospitality House
Colgate Rochester Divinity School campus
1000 S. Goodman Street, city of Rochester 

Photo Credit: Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

We honor the American Cancer Society for its creative rehabilitation of a vacant, 1930s dormitory complex for their new and expanded facility devoted to respite, comfort and healing for critically ill people and their caregivers.  It is located on the dramatic campus of the Colgate Rochester Divinity School, a major work by noted American architect James Gamble Rogers.

Photo Credit: Richard Margolis

Photo Credit: Richard Margolis

In recent years, changing programs at the theological seminary required less space than in former decades.  Trevor and Eaton Halls, adjacent dormitories, now vacant, offered an exceptional opportunity to re-design their interiors for the needs of the American Cancer Society and its programs, which had outgrown their former facility.


Photo Credit: Richard Margolis

Working with Bergmann Associates, architects, engineers and planners and LeChase Construction, the remarkable transformation from cramped and out-dated dormitories to a full-service, accessible, and welcoming hospitality center in a serene and peaceful environment was completed.

Photo Credit: Richard Margolis

Photo Credit: Richard Margolis

The new Hope Lodge provides free lodging and support for out-of-town patients who are being treated at area medical centers, providing them and their caregivers a temporary home during extended medical treatments.

Visit our Success Stories page for other 2013 winner previews and to see last year’s winners! Check back tomorrow for our last 2013 preview and please join us this Sunday, 11/10 at 3PM for the Awards Ceremony.

Award of Merit: 44 Exchange Boulevard

The Landmark Society’s 2013 Preservation Awards will be presented this year at a special event on Sunday, November 10 at 3:00 p.m. in Rochester’s historic City Hall, the spectacular Richardsonian Romanesque landmark located downtown at 30 Church Street. The Awards are given each year to individuals and organizations in our nine-county area who have made outstanding efforts in the preservation of their homes, historic properties, and landscapes. In anticipation of the upcoming Awards Ceremony we will be featuring some of this year’s award winners.

The Award of Merit is for the sympathetic rehabilitation of an historic building in our 9-county region completed within the past two years.

44 Exchange Boulevard
44 Exchange Boulevard, City of Rochester


Located near the Four Corners and across the street from the Blue Cross Arena, the International-style, former Central Trust Bank Building was built in 1959 and designed by Rochester architect Carl Traver.  Listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places, it has been creatively rehabilitated as contemporary apartments and first-floor retail space.

051 10101.JP.501.FurnishedApt.25612 002.reduced

Project challenges for this building included restoring the original glass wall tiles and fabricating new aluminum sash that reflected the original design, yet included modern, energy-saving features.

Photo Courtesy Bero Architecture PLLC

One of the youngest buildings to use the Federal Investment Tax Credit program, this mid-century modern building was rehabilitated by Rochester developers Ben Kendig and James Phillippone, who teamed with R.J. Lindsay Buildings and Interiors and  Bero Architecture PLLC.  The project was also a recipient of a 2013 Preservation Award from the Preservation League of New York State.

>>Click here to learn more about this project!

Visit our Success Stories page to see other 2013 Award winners, and check out last year’s winners!