Help save Parrott Hall

UPDATE: A new press conference has been scheduled for Thursday, 6/14 at 2:00 PM on the sidewalk outside of Parrot Hall. 

On Thursday, 6/14 at 2:00 PM, The Landmark Society of Western New York, the Preservation League of New York State, and key government officials are joining the Friends of Parrott Hall to host a press conference to announce the results of an engineering study on the building and to ask the State to delay demolition until alternatives have been meaningfully explored. Join us and show your support!

Parrott Hall was the first building in the city of Geneva listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1975 ownership was transferred to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) for the express purpose of creating a State Historic Site. The state is now planning to demolish the building but we believe there are other options to pursue and that the State should explore alternatives.

You can help!

Join us at the press conference

When: this Thursday, 6/14 at 2:00 PM

Location: In front of Parrott Hall (on the campus of Cornell’s Experiment Station, on W. North Street, immediately west of Hedrick Hall in Geneva, NY)

Parking: Free on-street parking is available a short walk away on nearby Castle St. (Click here for an illustration)

Call the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation to voice your concern.

Commissioner Rose Harvey
NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Albany, NY 12238

If you live in the area, contact your State elected officials.

Sen. Pamela Helming
Legislative Office Building Room 946
Albany,  NY 12247
local phone for office at 425 Exchange Street – 315-568-9816

Volunteer with or donate to Friends of Parrott Hall

Visit the Friends website for details.

Help spread the word!

Post pictures of Parrott Hall using #ThisPlaceMatters. Be sure to tag @LandmarkSociety @preserveNYS @SavingPlaces and @NYstateparks.

You can really get into the campaign by downloading This Place Matters signage from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Want to learn more about historic Parrott Hall? Visit the Friends of Parrott Hall website.


Progress on Main Street in Attica

Posted by Kelsey Habla, Landmark Society Summer Intern


There are big things happening in the small Village of Attica and last week we got the chance to visit a couple of exciting renovation projects downtown. The first is an innovative reuse project that was just recently completed by property owner, Bruce Camp. The American Hall building, built in 1872, is a two-story, three-bay, brick construction on Market Street. Above the historic storefront, the second floor features windows with elaborate brick lintels, and cast stone keystones and quoins. The original woodwork on the cornice, once covered by a sign-board, was unveiled and restored, giving the building some real character. The American Hall is now home to Attica Auto, where a retail store occupies the first floor, and offices reside above. The second floor also contains a large community room complete with a large screen television, for groups to hold meetings and various activities. It is an excellent use of the space and has been quite successful thus far.


Merchandise displayed inside the storefront of Attica Auto


Airy and open office spaces on the second floor looking out onto Market Street


Bruce Camp – property owner and initiator of these two outstanding projects

Bruce Camp, the owner and man responsible for the successful renovation of the American Hall building, is now taking on another challenge just down the road on Main Street. The three-story, brick building was constructed in 1867 along with its neighbors but the facade and detailed parapet were later added in 1912. It was then expanded to establish a banking institution – which remained there until 1967. The entry consists of a monumental column and pediment, with an elaborate cast-stone frieze which reads Citizen’s Bank.

The former Citizen’s Bank building has had a rocky history over the past few decades. In 1998, a developer partially renovated the first floor, with a coffee shop that never took hold. After the roof collapsed one winter, the building sat vacant for 4-5 years. However, things are looking up for this old building. A restaurateur has just opened a lovely cafe – The Prospector, on the first floor, and Bruce Camp is working hard on the upper floors to convert the space into apartments. There will be a total of three apartments, each with inventive layouts and original historic features; one has already been rented! Bruce has utilized Main Street Grants as well as State and Federal Tax Credits to complete the two projects, which he estimates cost a combined $1 million. We can’t wait to see the finished product!


The former Citizen’s Bank building on Main Street


Storefront windows of the newly restored Prospector cafe look out onto Main Street


A look at one of the apartments which features an original fireplace and metal plated ceiling


A leaded glass window in the stairway, just one of the many beautiful, original windows throughout the building


Stairs that lead to the second floor of this two-story apartment – an interesting feature


A view down Market Street from the roof, visible from the interior of all three apartments

summer intern KelseyKelsey Liz Habla is an Architecture major at the University at Buffalo, entering her senior year. She is from Fonda, NY and is an intern this summer at the Landmark Society and Bero Architecture.

Session Profile: Main Street Revival

The 2015 New York Statewide Preservation Conference theme is The Art of Preservation: Painting Your Community’s Future. Join us at our conference headquarters, the restored Smith Opera House in the Finger Lakes city of Geneva as we explore the role that the arts can play in helping us revitalize buildings and communities. We’ll also explore historic preservation as an art form unto itself–each building, each landscape, each community that we seek to revive requires a unique approach involving partnerships, funding sources and creative problem-solving.

Image courtesy of Katie Comeau

Image courtesy of Katie Comeau

Upstate New York boasts many small communities whose roots go deep into our state’s history. In these communities, Main Streets are the economic and cultural centers for and have been the center of civic life for generations. This sessions provides information on how two successful upstate communities spared their historic Main Streets from the wrecking ball through proactive efforts from the community, government officials, developers and consultants. Learn from the speakers how they navigated the preservation planning process from survey through rehab tax credit applications, and how both communities are on the cusp of revitalization through preservation.

Community Profile:

1.) Village of Hamburg

Hamburg is a quaint suburban village ten miles south of Buffalo, NY. Revitalization efforts  in the village date back to the 1990s, which included a village-wide reconnaissance-level historic resource survey and Main Street-focused intensive level survey that Bero Architecture conducted in 2002. In addition, revitalization work conducted by the NYS DOT was performed including four roundabouts, easing traffic congestion in the village and a streetscape and facade improvement program. These initiatives became catalysts for subsequent projects and developments along Main Street.

Image courtesy of Katie Comeau

Image courtesy of Katie Comeau

By 2012 many of the buildings had been spruced up but the Kronenberg building, the longtime anchor department store, had been vacant for several decades. A typical two-story commercial space, the village began revitalization efforts including rehabilitation, National Register nomination for the Main Street district and assistance with grant applications. Since the village laid the groundwork a developer expressed interest and now the building is back on the tax rolls, occupied and looks great!

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Images courtesy of Katie Comeau, Bero Architecture, PLLC

2.) City of Gloversville

Like many small cities in upstate New York, Gloversville’s downtown served as the hub for cultural, commercial, and civic life for generations. This beautiful, historic area survived urban renewal efforts in the 1960s and big box development in more recent years and is on the cusp of a rich revitalization. This session will look at the past, present, and future of Gloversville’s downtown.

Session Speakers:

Katie Eggers Comeau, Bero Architecture PLLC
Katie Eggers Comeau is the architectural historian at Bero Architecture PLLC, where her preservation planning projects include historic resource surveys, National Register nominations, tax credit applications, and other research and documentation projects. She speaks to many groups on topics including Rochester’s Olmsted park system, 20th century architecture, and preservation planning.

Damon Ayer, Chair, Village of Hamburg Preservation Commission and Owner Mason’s Grille 52
As chairman of the Village of Hamburg Historic Preservation Commission, Damon Ayer has spearheaded the commission’s recent efforts to revitalize Hamburg’s Main Street. He is also owner of a Main Street business, Mason’s Grille 52.

Gregory Young, Supervisor, City of Gloversville
A lifelong resident of the City of Gloversville, Gregory is in his first term on the Fulton County Board of Supervisors. Young also teaches at the College of Saint Rose in Albany. He holds volunteer and leadership positions in a variety of causes and community organizations, including membership in Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. Young holds bachelors (summa cum laude) and masters degrees from the College of Saint Rose in history and political science and is currently completing a PhD from the University at Buffalo.

>>If you can’t miss this session, click here to register now!

Feeling social? Stay up to date on Conference happenings and share your thoughts using the hashtag #NYPresConf on Facebook and Twitter.

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Special Citation: Portageville Chapel Organ Retreat

The Landmark Society’s 2014 Preservation Awards will be presented this year at a special event on Sunday, November 16 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.

Portageville Chapel Organ Retreat
Route 19, hamlet of Portageville, Wyoming County

Portageville Chapel Image courtesy of the Portageville Chapel

Portageville Chapel                                                             Image courtesy of the Portageville Chapel

Located in a magnificent setting adjacent to Letchworth State Park, the Portageville Chapel organ retreat was created to provide a place of rest and renewal for professional organists. Originally built as a Universalist church in 1841, this handsome Greek Revival building continued as a house of worship into the early 1980s. Local residents then campaigned to save the vacant building, which was converted into a retail shop. By the 1990s, retail use ceased, but merchandise remained in the building through the next twenty years.

In 2007, organist and Wyoming Co. native Tim Smith formed a not-for-profit organization, which purchased the property and began its restoration as an organ retreat. Overgrown trees, deteriorated structures and other debris were removed from the site. Funded, in part, by a grant from the NYS Office of Historic Preservation, the extensive rehabilitation project included structural repairs, a new roof, a modern electrical system and restored Gothic window sash. The original pews were returned to the sanctuary and a modern pipe organ installed. An adjacent house was purchased and refurbished to provide accommodations for visiting musicians. Listed in the National and State Registers of Historic Places, the restored Portageville Chapel organ retreat is unique in the U.S. and provides a new and exciting use for an important landmark in the Genesee Valley.

Newly installed modern pipe organ.

Newly installed modern pipe organ.                 Image Courtesy of the Landmark Society

Organ and original pews Image courtesy of the Landmark Society

Organ and original pews                                     Image courtesy of the Landmark Society


Special Citation: Stantec Consulting Services

The Landmark Society’s 2014 Preservation Awards will be presented this year at a special event on Sunday, November 16 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.

Stantec Consulting Services
61 Commercial Street, city of Rochester

Image courtesy of Stantec Consulting Services

This historic c. 1890 industrial building was originally designed as the power house for the Rochester Railway Company. At  the facility – one of the first of its kind – electricity was generated by harnessing the power of the Genesee River as it was diverted through Brown’s Race. By the late 20th century, the building became a storage space, manufacturing facility, then two short-lived entertainment venues.

Norry Management Company acquired the building in 2006, and together with Stantec Consulting Services, they rehabilitated this signature property using the Federal and State Investment Tax Credit program available for the renovation of income-producing buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Working with the NYS Office of Historic Preservation and the Rochester Preservation Board, the principles created a project that restored historic details, but also created dramatic new work spaces in the spacious interior. Window openings, long in-filled with brick, were reactivated, allowing daylighting throughout the interior. The design also included sustainable technologies and practices which earned LEED Certified status.

Historic Landscape Award: New York State Fish Hatchery

The Landmark Society’s 2014 Preservation Awards will be presented this year at a special event on Sunday, November 16 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 Historic Landscape Award recognizes and encourages the preservation, restoration and stewardship of historically significant landscapes in our 9-county region.

New York State Fish Hatchery
16 North Street, village of Caledonia, Livingston County

NYS Fish Hatchery Caledonia                                                                             Image courtesy of the Landmark Society

This year is the 150th anniversary of the New York State Fish Hatchery in Caledonia, a milestone for this remarkable property, which is the oldest fish hatchery in the Western hemisphere. Established in 1864 by Rochesterian Seth Green, the hatchery is located on Oatka Creek, renowned for its exceptional qualities and conditions that make it ideal for the propagation of trout. Known as the “father of fish culture,” Green gained a world-wide reputation as a pioneer in both aquaculture and conservation.

Now operated by the New York State Department of Conservation, the hatchery features a picturesque campus that retains its historic buildings, as well as modern facilities.  It is open to the public year ‘round and maintains a schedule of activities focused on the breeding of brown and rainbow trout. Soon to be listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places, the hatchery is a unique property whose historical, cultural, and scientific importance extends far beyond our region.

Button Lofts near completion

The Landmark Society’s Wayne Goodman recently got a sneak peek at two exciting rehab projects being completed by developer DHD Ventures–the adaptive use of the National Clothing Company building on Main Street into a Hilton Garden Inn and the Button Lofts project at Rutgers and Monroe Ave. Set to open in November, the Button Lofts project is nearing completion and we couldn’t be more excited! As you’ll see in the before and after photos below, this building has truly transformed–from an empty hulk of a building with blocked-in windows to a vibrant and functional space. Yet another preservation success story in the ongoing revitalization of the city we call home!

Take a look at the pictures below and, if you want to see more, check out one of the Button Lofts open houses on Saturdays. Follow the Button Lofts & Townhomes on Facebook for more photos and info.

Here’s the former Shantz Button Factory pre-rehab, just a little over a year ago:



And here it is brought back to its former glory. What a difference some nice windows and a fresh coat of paint make! Notice the new sign that went up this past weekend.



Here’s a view of the rear elevation from Rutgers St.:


The new lofts are lit by enormous windows with amazing, panoramic views of Rochester.



Just look at the size of this window opening:


Each unit is unique but, in addition to the eye-popping views, they all have that industrial feel to them (with high ceilings, exposed ductwork, large wooden beamsposts, exposed beams and brick) that make adapted industrial spaces so appealing.

Ummm, a bathtub in front of these windows? With a view of Pinnacle Hill? Yes, please.


In keeping with the bath theme, here’s a shower with subway tile and an industrial steel window. Who couldn’t use more natural light in the shower?



This is one of the (partially finished) unique spaces created out of the one-story loading docks on the rear of the factory building. They feature multi-level lofted spaces.


Curious about the Button Lofts name? This building and the two smaller brick buildings around it were built between 1903 and 1920 by Moses B. Shantz as a button factory complex. The Shantz Button Factory is one of only two surviving early twentieth century button manufacturing plants in Rochester.

Kudos to the project architect, Peter Wehner, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Associate and Senior Project Architect for Passero Associates (whose offices also happen to be in a superb adaptive use project)!

A Time Capsule to Call Home



It was a past time of sorts for me, call it home sickness, call it procrastinating, to keep tabs on old houses that came for sale in and around Rochester during my years in college and then graduate school. I would occasionally pick a particularly jaw dropping one and post it to Facebook and brag to my out of state friends about the beautiful and affordable housing stock in Rochester. Their responses usually were ones of architectural admiration, and occasionally, jealousy. I distinctly remember the amazing colonial revival style home in Maplewood that had a textbook worthy Arts and Crafts interior, among many others that I spent countless hours perusing and drooling over.

As luck would have it, I had the great privilege of returning to Rochester May, 2013 with a job offer in hand at the architecture firm of my choice. I continued my past time of house window shopping focusing on more affordable options that could possibly be within my budget when it came time to purchase one for my own. It was on New Year’s Eve that I decided to make things a bit more real, picked up the phone and called fellow preservationist and realtor Rome Celli. We set up a series of showings across the City and Irondequoit, with some (not so) simple qualifying factors:

  • Good architectural design.
  • Somewhat close to downtown (19th Ward, Maplewood, South Wedge, North Winton Village, St. Paul Blvd Corridor)
  • The more original, the better!
  • Renovated bathrooms and kitchens, a travesty!
  • …progress be damned, I wanted a time capsule!


After several showings, and almost submitting an offer on a great house on Lakeview Park, we finally got to see a small Tudor Revival style house off of St. Paul Boulevard that looked promising from the photos online. Time was of the essence, as the house had struggled to sell, had just been de-listed, and the owner intended on renovating the kitchen to help sell the house.



From the photos I could tell that many of the features of the house were original, from the kitchen to the bathroom, light fixtures to built-ins, but one thing for sure was not original…the vinyl siding.

Current_Living Room_freshly painted_resized


On a whim, a day or so before our scheduled showing, I decided to do some research on the house, as I am an obsessive compulsive researcher. I could not have predicted, in my wildest dreams, the shear amount of documentation and information that turned up.

Historic_Exterior_Under Construction_1928_resized


This little house was “The Democrat and Chronicle Master Model Home of 1928” over a dozen newspaper articles, with photographs and drawings were published over a period of several months.


After seeing the house in person I was smitten further, because with the few exceptions of the bathroom toilet, general appliances, and one light fixture, the house was completely original to 1928. This little house filled all of my tedious requirements, and had an interesting history to boot.Throwing all caution to the wind, I submitted an offer and through some back and forth had it accepted and closed in May, not even a year since I had moved back to Rochester.  Exciting? Yes. Naïve? Probably.

I then decided that I wanted to document the process of toiling over my first home for my own memory and for fellow preservationists enjoyment and entertainment. Thus, My Perfect Little Money Pit was born. I have done my best to keep the blog up to date, entertaining, and helpful for any of the people out there who are brave enough to be good stewards to old homes. I hope that it will inspire others to love old houses leaks, cracks, and all, and that other fellow preservationists might follow along as I learn and grow with my special little house. Oh, and just incase you were worried, the original story-book style cedar siding is still present underneath the vinyl and in good shape!

Follow the progress at

Guest post by Christopher Brandt. Christopher is an Architect in Training at Bero Architecture PLLC, longtime volunteer and former Intern of The Landmark Society, and lifelong resident and champion of the greater Rochester area.

Check out some other historic house blogs below and post in the comments if we’ve missed any that you love!

Saturday Day Trip: In-depth Frank Lloyd Wright Tour in Buffalo

New, in-depth and this time on a weekend – Saturday, June 21st, 2014.

It’s the ideal way to enjoy the daylight of the longest day of the year. Spend the summer solstice with us enjoying the 2 hour in-depth tour of the Martin House Complex in Buffalo, the delicious luncheon in the birthplace of American Arts and Crafts at the Roycroft Inn in East Aurora, and then the 2 hour in-depth tour at the Wright designed summer retreat Graycliff, high above Lake Erie.

Photo Courtesy Darwin Martin House Complex


If you’ve been on the regular tour, revisit those areas and delve into spaces not open to the regular touring public. If you’ve never been, this is an experience not available anyplace else in the U.S.

Photo Courtesy Graycliff



We’ll meet in the Brighton area at 7 am (you can snooze on the motorcoach if you like) and get you back home by 7 pm.  Registration includes comfortable handicapped accessible motorcoach transportation, all tours and admission fees, luncheon, and the company of our executive director and staff escort.  No extra charge for the oooohs and ahhhs!


Fee per person: $158 for Landmark Members   $183 for nonmembers.


Complete the Registration Form and return to The Landmark Society by May 22, 2014. Deadline extended to June 9, 2014!

Click here to download the Registration Form.

To request a hard copy of the Registration Form, please email Carolyn Haygood or call 546.7029 x11.

Registration Deadline: May 22, 2014

$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