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:

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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.

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

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

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Just look at the size of this window opening:

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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)!

Inside Downtown Tour 2014

View from the Top!
East Avenue and East Main Street
Proudly sponsored by Winn Development

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.

This year’s tour sites radiate off of East Avenue and East Main Street.The Inside Downtown Tour will give you the “View from the Top” as penthouses and rooftops are open for the 2014 ticket holders. It’s all part of the effort to showcase urban living and working in re-purposed buildings – and to have a great time doing so!

Why are we calling it “View from the Top?” There are an extraordinary number of penthouses opening for us, plus the view from the top of One East Avenue is unequaled at any other site. You’ll have all of Rochester (and a good portion of Monroe County) at your feet.

UPDATE: Online ticket sales have closed. Purchased tickets will be available for pickup at Tour Headquarters (RoCo, 137 East Ave.) during Tour hours only. If we are not sold out, day-of tickets will also be available for purchase ($25 each) during Tour hours.

Click here for the #insidedowntown tour page

Inside Downtown Tour 2014

View from the Top!
East Avenue and East Main Street
Proudly sponsored by Winn Development

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.

This year’s tour sites radiate off of East Avenue and East Main Street.The Inside Downtown Tour will give you the “View from the Top” as penthouses and rooftops are open for the 2014 ticket holders. It’s all part of the effort to showcase urban living and working in re-purposed buildings – and to have a great time doing so!

Why are we calling it “View from the Top?” There are an extraordinary number of penthouses opening for us, plus the view from the top of One East Avenue is unequaled at any other site. You’ll have all of Rochester (and a good portion of Monroe County) at your feet.

UPDATE: Online ticket sales have closed. Purchased tickets will be available for pickup at Tour Headquarters (RoCo, 137 East Ave.) during Tour hours only. If we are not sold out, day-of tickets will also be available for purchase ($25 each) during Tour hours.

Click here for the #insidedowntown tour page

 

Tick Tock Tick Tock… so says the Inside Downtown Tour Clock!

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It’s too late to get Inside Downtown Tour tickets mailed to you.   Fortunately it’s NOT too late to get advance tickets – but time is running out!  Can’t mail them, but we will just hold them for you at the tour headquarters, Rochester Contemporary Art Center at 137 East Avenue. Make it your first tour stop on Friday night between 5 pm and 8:30 or Saturday between 10:30 am and 4 pm.  You can purchase those money-saving beauties by clicking here, coming to our office between 9 am and 4 pm Monday through Thursday at 133 South Fitzhugh Street in Corn Hill, or going to Parkleigh at 215 Park Avenue.

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What about tickets the days of the tour?  Time may be running out for those tickets as well!  Last year’s tour sold out on the second tour day and, so far, the tickets are flying out the door faster than in 2013.  We DO plan to have tickets for sale at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, and we will do our best to post information prominently on our webpage, if we completely sell out.  We will certainly have tickets available Friday night, and chances are a handful left on Saturday.

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But why tempt fate?  Order in advance, and relax over that pre-tour Friday cocktail or Saturday morning brunch knowing you’re about to embark on an amazing tour.

We also have a last minute, under the wire update on the tour.  Two additional apartments have been added – one of the tenants had been traveling and was not able to commit until returning to Rochester.  The tenant is an artist, and his apartment is an incredible treat – a penthouse filled with original works.  Don’t miss it!

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Posted by Cindy Boyer, Director of Public Programs

Tour details: East Ave & E. Main St. | Friday September 12  5:30 to 8:30 pm |Saturday, September 13 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advance tickets are $22. Landmark members may purchase $18 advance tickets from Landmark Society only, online or by phone at (585)546-7029 x11.  If tickets are available the days of the tour they will be $25 for all, sold at Tour HQ, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo).

After you purchase your tickets, invite your friends and family to attend the tour too-use the hashtag #insidedowntown on social media!

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Inside Downtown Tour – Unique Experiences?

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Is the word “unique” overused? Every restaurant, every attraction, every app loves to promote itself as “unique.”

I’d like to put that to the test, and see if it is an appropriate word to use in describing the Inside Downtown Tour, coming up on Friday September 12 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm and Saturday September 13 from 11 am to 4 pm. You might think that a tour that gets you inside private apartments and other fabulous spaces in downtown Rochester would easily qualify for the “U-word.”  But if that is not enough, here are some of the experiences in addition to the incredible architecture waiting for ticket holders on the tour days.

Sipping beneath gloves, combs, scarves, pens, and jewelry dripping from the ceiling.  Our tour headquarters will be the Rochester Contemporary Art Center.  One of the current exhibitions in “State of the City 2014” features lost (and found) objects displayed above your head. Thanks to sponsor Underberg and Kessler, on Saturday the 13th you can enjoy light beverages and snacks while pondering the connections between the objects.

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Pressing the PH button.  When is the last time you got to press that button on an elevator panel?  On tour days, you won’t need a special pass or keyfob to go to the top – just a tour ticket.

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270 degree view, indoors and out. The outdoor balcony wraps around 3 sides, 11 stories in the air.  For those with acrophobia, you can enjoy the view from inside, gazing through the glass curtain walls of a mid-century marvel.

A view that will make you WANT to sit in the dentist chair. Dr Michael Lewis is kindly opening his office to the tour goers. No worries, an appointment is required if you want to have any of those pointy things stuck in your mouth.

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The best weather watching windows.  Something about seeing the drama of weather played out against the downtown skyline makes you glad for the large windows in this apartment.

The only private downtown pool and firepit.  Okay, you won’t be swimming on this September tour, but you will get to admire this great setting, seldom seen by anyone but the residents.

who would suspect there is a pool behind these walls?

who would suspect there is a pool behind these walls?

An employee cafeteria or cool coffee café? Craft Café was started by D4 eDiscovery to give their employees a place to grab lunch or meet.  But it was too good to keep to themselves, so it’s open to the public as well. On Friday night of the tour they are offering ticket holders complimentary light refreshments.  You can buy great stuff from their menu that night and on the Saturday tour day as well.

A s’mores bar in a burned out church.  We can’t make this stuff up.  Our new YUPs group (Young Urban Preservationists) will be hosting a s ‘mores bar for ticket holders on the Saturday in St Joseph’s Park. Come and roast your marshmallows in a space created from the shell of a church destroyed by fire decades ago.  Rumor has it there will be some cool things happening in the park on Friday night as well.

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How did we do?  Comment to let us know if you think this tour deserves the “U-word.”

There’s one more unique thing about the Inside Downtown Tour – last year it sold out for the first time ever.

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Posted by Cindy Boyer, Director of Public Programs

Tour details: East Ave & E. Main St. | Friday September 12  5:30 to 8:30 pm |Saturday, September 13 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advance tickets are $22. Landmark members may purchase $18 advance tickets from Landmark Society only, online or by phone at (585)546-7029 x11.  If tickets are available the days of the tour they will be $25 for all, sold at Tour HQ, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo).

After you purchase your tickets, invite your friends and family to attend the tour too-use the hashtag #insidedowntown on social media!

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

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.

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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.

Inside Downtown Tour: View from the Top

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September 12 and 13. It’s a little more than a month away: the date when all of Rochester (and a good portion of Monroe County) will be at your feet.

The Inside Downtown Tour will give you the “View from the Top” as penthouses and rooftops are open for the 2014 ticket holders. It’s all part of the effort to showcase urban living and working in re-purposed buildings – and to have a great time doing so!

This year’s tour sites radiate off of East Avenue and East Main Street. The event will take place on two dates. On Friday, September 12 the sites will be open from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, leaving you time afterwards for a late dinner or refreshing beverage (or two) in the East End. Saturday, September 13 the sites will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

But you don’t have to choose a day. Your ticket can be used either day, and you can visit the 10 sites in any order that you wish. So – what types of views are we talking about?

The Sibley building will open for us. Winn Development has been creating an amazing transformation of the Grand Old Lady of downtown. You’ll see completed areas as well as sections that are in the process of rehabilitation (not normally open to the public.) The view? Weather depending, you’ll be able to step out on the roof of the former department store for an up close and personal with the iconic tower clock.

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Several other buildings will have private home penthouses open, showcasing upper level living in every sense of the phrase. You’ll enjoy gazing down at the streetscape or across to the neighboring buildings – when you’re not marveling at the wonderful interiors.

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You’ll get to push this button on the IDT!

The pinnacle of the views will be from The Penthouse at One East Avenue. It would be tour-worthy for its fantastic Mid-Century Modern design alone, but the view is the icing on the cupcake. From their 11th story perch you can see Lake Ontario on a clear day, as you stroll the open balcony wrapping three sides of the space. If it is not a clear day you can enjoy the view from inside, as the glass curtain wall gives an unobstructed view no matter what the weather.

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Tour and Ticket Details: Your tour ticket will be good both Friday evening September 12th and Saturday during the day of September 13th. You may visit each tour stop one time, in any order that you desire. On Friday night we’ll have the friendly “Rochester Red Shirts” to greet you and guide you. These retired law enforcement officers from the Downtown Special Services Program will be easy to spot in their red polo shirts and will make sure you know the way to the different tour stops. They even wear glow lights at night!

Inside Downtown Tour Tickets will be available online on August 11th, or at Parkleigh and the The Landmark Society office by September 1st.  Advance tickets are $22. Landmark members may purchase $18 advance tickets from Landmark Society only, online or by phone at (585)546-7029 x11.  If tickets are available the days of the tour they will be $25 for all, sold at Tour HQ, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo).

Last year’s tour was a sell-out!

A Time Capsule to Call Home

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

 

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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