Inside Downtown Tour 2014

The Inside Downtown Tour highlights urban environments where folks are creating exciting spaces to live and work. We visit re-purposed spaces, renovated homes, lovingly preserved places and newly built sites that are designed with sensitivity to the overall built environment. Basically, we get you “in” on the latest urban living trends.

Stay tuned for our location announcement!

Inside Downtown Tour 2014

The Inside Downtown Tour highlights urban environments where folks are creating exciting spaces to live and work. We visit re-purposed spaces, renovated homes, lovingly preserved places and newly built sites that are designed with sensitivity to the overall built environment. Basically, we get you “in” on the latest urban living trends.

Stay tuned for our location announcement!

Discover Silver Lake: 150 Years of Historic Architecture

Join Architectural Historicna Cynthia Howk for a slide talk titled, “Discover Silver Lake: 150 Years of Historic Architecture” on Saturday August 2, 2014, 7pm at Epworth Hall on the Silver Lake Institute campus. This event is free and open to the public.

Silver Lake cottages copy

The slide talk will feature a selection of the wide-ranging historic architecture on/around Silver Lake, which includes residential, commercial, recreational, religious, and agricultural buildings built over the past 150 years. The talk is part of the on-going Summer event series scheduled during July & August at Silver Lake Institute.

 

DIRECTIONS: Silver Lake Institute is located approximately 1 hour southwest of Rochester on the EAST side of Silver Lake. It is immediately south of the village of Perry, Wyoming County. Take Route 39 (Main St.) south, through the village of Perry. At Chapman Road ( approx. 1.5 miles south of the village), turn RIGHT (west) onto Chapman Road. You will see a sign - “Camp Asbury” – at the corner. This intersection is also highly visible, with a Drive-in/restaurant/miniature golf course complex on the NORTHWEST corner of Route 39 & Chapman Rd. Drive west on Chapman Road, towards Silver Lake, and you will come to the main entrance to the Silver Lake Institute campus. Epworth Hall, a large auditorium/meeting center, is on the RIGHT; parking for Epworth Hall is on the adjacent lawn.

A Time Capsule to Call Home

Current_Exterior_resized

 

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!

Current_Entry_resized

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.

CURRENT__resized

 

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.

HISTORIC_resized

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 http://myperfectlittlemoneypit.com/

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!

http://ittybittybungalow.wordpress.com/

http://www.merrypad.com/

http://www.stuccohouse.blogspot.com/
http://the-kelly-house.blogspot.com/
http://anurbancottage.blogspot.com/
http://crockettstreethouse.wordpress.com/
http://ignitethecreativity.wordpress.com/
http://freshome.com/2014/07/17/historic-homes-still-manage-capture-hearts/

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

660WMain

photo courtesy Mike Governale, Rochester Subway

Background

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
    or Jill.Symonds@CityofRochester.gov

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

 

roycroft1

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!

COST

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

REGISTRATION

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

The Historic Tax Credit Program & Appropriate Design Workshop

AIA Rochester and The Landmark Society present a new workshop designed with architects, developers and property owners in mind: The Historic Tax Credit Program & Appropriate Design. Grab your lunch and head over to Clark Patterson Lee’s office at the Chapin Building for an insider’s view of the historic tax credit programs. Experts from the Buffalo-based historic preservation firm, Preservation Studios,  will present an overview of the state and federal historic tax credit program with a specific focus on designing within the Department of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. Visit AIA Rochester’s website to register. Hurry–space is limited! AIA/CES credits available.

Friday, June 6 | 12:00 p.m. | $5 | Visit AIA Rochester’s website to register.

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.

IMG_3796_resized

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

IMG_3791_resized

“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.

Partners-Sponsors

See you next year!

 

YUP Coaster Project Launch

Join YUP for our second official event at Abilene Bar & Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Way) at 6:00pm on Friday May 2nd where we’ll officially launch our new historic bar/pub coaster project, WHERE THE #&@% AM I?™. 

The coaster initiative will highlight interesting factoids and the rehab of communal gathering spaces and adapted historic spaces that have become some of the area’s favorite bars and brewpubs.

Patrons at the bars will receive a coaster with a QR code where they can access information about the transformation and reinvention of the building. Establishments currently participating include Abilene, 2 Vine, Edibles, Black Button/Rohrbach, Dinosaur BBQ and The American Hotel, in Lima, with more to come!

The first round is on us! No RSVP required, hope to see you there!

YUP Launches New Coaster Project

Abilen_beforeafter

The second official Young Urban Preservationists (YUP) event features the launch of our WHERE THE #&@% AM I?™    historic pub/bar coaster project at Abilene Bar and Lounge, 153 Liberty Pole Way in Rochester on Friday, May 2 beginning at 6 p.m.

The coaster initiative will highlight interesting factoids and the rehab of communal gathering spaces and adapted historic spaces that have become some of the area’s favorite bars and brewpubs.  “Maybe at some point these were buildings that were abandoned, neglected, left to squatters, scavengers, and the elements,” said Caitlin Meives, our Preservation Planner and fellow YUP. “Maybe they were labeled ‘eyesores’ and dismissed as a pile of bricks. But they were also reinvented—given new life by visionary entrepreneurs, investors, and local business owners. Oftentimes, their transformation has helped transform the neighborhood around them.”

Patrons at the bars will receive a coaster with a QR code where they can access information about the transformation and reinvention of the building. Establishments currently participating include Abilene, 2 Vine, Edibles, Black Button/Rohrbach, Dinosaur BBQ and The American Hotel, in Lima.

Anyone interested in preservation and community revitalization is invited to join the Young Urban Preservationists and to attend the public launch of the WHERE THE #&@% AM I?™  project at Abilene on Friday. Membership is not required for these events and there is no registration required for Friday’s event.  Plus, your first drink is on us!