Best of 2017: 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 2017 with our Top 13 (we couldn’t limit ourselves to just 10!) preservation successes.

Thank you to everyone who supports our work; together we can make a difference in communities across WNY. You can continue to support successes in your community by donating to our 80th Anniversary Campaign.

Here’s to many more successes in 2018!

1.The Landmark Society celebrates 80 years

Founded July 1937, The Landmark Society has been celebrating its 80th Anniversary year with a number of special events, beginning with our first-ever Gala attended by over two hundred in September, and continuing through the coming year with a night of performing arts in February, an al fresco dinner at our downtown St. Joseph’s Park in July, an art exhibition in September, and travel tours to Savannah, Georgia and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario – watch for more updates. We also launched our 80th Anniversary Capital Campaign to provide the grounding for our continued work on behalf of preservation across our region in the many years we have ahead; please consider joining us in in this work with a gift to the campaign.

2. Rochester’s only cobblestone seeing new life

Vacant for over a decade and listed on our 2015 Five to Revive list, the c. 1835 Lockwood-Alhart House on Culver Rd. – the city of Rochester’s only surviving cobblestone – is finally seeing new life: ground was broken for a micro-park on the property in August with funding from NeighborWorks Rochester, and the Triangle Neighborhood held a “Cobbleween” event for neighborhood families on the premises on Halloween night. Moreover, developer interest in the structure, and our funding of studies for the property through our Preservation Grant Fund, means there might be more good news on this unique community resource soon!

3. Landmark Society recognized by the Rochester Community Design Center

The Landmark Society was honored to receive honorable mention for the Joni Monroe Award at the Rochester Community Design Center’s 2017 Reshaping Rochester Awards ceremony in November “for its longstanding commitment to preservation in the community”. We admire the tireless work RCDC and its founding Executive Director Joni Monroe have done to ensure that the Greater Rochester region’s people and communities have a built environment befitting their potential and aspirations, so it is humbling to receive this recognition.

4. South Wedge’s Calvary – St. Andrew’s Church granted City Landmark status and repurposed as event / art space

When the Calvary – St. Andrews congregation dissolved earlier this year, the future of the unique late 19th-century church building they left behind, and the vitality of the surrounding residential South Wedge neighborhood, was in question, but thanks to the enterprising work of the Friends of Calvary – St. Andrews organization, the sublime property was protected as a City Landmark by the Rochester Preservation Board in the fall, and will continue to be enjoyed by the community as it is repurposed as an event and performing arts space.

5.Colgate Rochester campus receive City Landmark designation

The Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School campus (including its historic buildings and designed landscape) became an official designated City of Rochester Landmark in September. This means that as the property transitions to new owners, neighbors and the larger Rochester community can be assured that any new development will be sensitively incorporated into the historic campus, with review by the City’s Preservation Board. The features that give the campus its economic value will be preserved so that it can continue to be a part of the community long into the future.

The Landmark Society, along with a coalition of organizations that included Highland Park Neighborhood Association and NBN6, worked with the owners at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, to amend the landmark application and determine appropriate boundaries.

6. Water Flows, and People Follow, in Manhattan Square Park

Flowing water is a recurring theme and major attraction in prominent landscape architect Laurence Halprin’s work – including in his FDR Memorial in Washington and his Freeway Park in Seattle – but the fountain he designed for Rochester’s Manhattan Square (now renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Park) was dry for several decades…until the City of Rochester turned the water back on this summer after significant renovations! Cascading water has brought life and attracted people back to what had been a little-used and oft-maligned corner of the downtown landscape, pushing it closer to being the community focal point Halprin had hoped and intended it to be. Click here to read more. 

7. YUPs host Rust Belt Takeover

In July, The Landmark Society’s Young Urban Preservationists hosted a Rochester meetup of the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists. Nearly 70 preservationists came from Rust Belt cities (and beyond) to explore the Flower City’s history, preservation successes, and challenges. Visitors toured Mt. Hope Cemetery, High Falls, Wall\Therapy murals, the Public Market, and sampled local fare from adaptive reuse projects like Radio Social, the Swillburger/Playhouse, and of course, Nick Tahou’s.

8. CAMP takes ownership of Civil War Memorial building

The preservation and reuse of the Cattaraugus County Memorial & Historical Building, one of our 2015 Five to Revive, took a big leap forward this month when local preservation advocates from Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) took ownership of the building from the County. For the past three years, the County had had plans to demolish the building. CAMPers still have a long way to go to develop plans and raise funds to rehab the building but we’re incredibly proud of their efforts so far and we’ll be working with them to secure this important building’s future.

9. Landmark Society hosts summer youth program

The Landmark Society was the home for a youth employment program this past summer. Put a Face to the Place: Afro Rochester was a research based project to study local history through the lens of the built environment and biography, and produce a video documentary. It was funded by the Summer Youth Employment Program at RochesterWorks, Inc who partnered with Landmark Society and Kuumba Consultants. The program offers youth a summer job, but also provides training in employment and life skills, to further their future success.

The final project was a video documentary of faces and places chosen reflecting local Afro Rochester: Put a Face to the Place: Afro Rochester a video to teach about the remarkable people and place of our city. Click here to see the video and meet the youth.

10. Conference returns to Rochester

2017 saw yet another year of record-breaking attendance at the NY Statewide Preservation Conference with nearly 370 attendees from around the state. The Conference took place on E Main St. in downtown Rochester, showcasing the ongoing successes in the heart of downtown. We were honored to welcome Amy Nicole Swift, principal and owner of Building Hugger in Detroit, to Rochester as our Keynote Speaker. Amy spoke about the importance of expanding training and employment opportunities for women and young people in the traditional trades.

After a full day of conversation and learning at a wide range of breakout sessions and networking with fellow colleagues and community advocates, attendees were able to wind down at a special Preservation Partners Party at the Genesee Country Village and Museum. 

11. Main St. facade revealed

After decades of being covered up by a two-story billboard, the historic facade of the building at the corner of Main and Clinton Streets in downtown Rochester was finally unveiled this fall! Property owners are in the process of planning a major rehab for this building–just one more step forward in the revitalization of this 2015 block of Five to Revive buildings!



12. Tavern Takeover at Stone-Tolan

The YUPs and Emerging Rochester Architects (ERA) hosted the first ever Tavern Takeover at the Landmark Society’s Stone-Tolan House Historic Site. Sponsored by architecture firm, Clark Patterson Lee, the event featured a campfire with s’mores, outdoor snacks, free-roaming of the grounds and, most importantly, beer from Swiftwater Brewing in the historic tavern! We had over 80 attendees (of all ages) join us to stroll the grounds and experience the Stone-Tolan House as 19th century frontier travelers would have.

13. Federal historic tax credits saved!

After much advocacy, the Tax Reform Bill retained the federal historic tax credit program, which has made possible many of the rehabs that are catalyzing positive economic and civic change in the western New York, particularly in downtown Rochester, and across the Rust Belt.

Released Friday, December 15, this version retained the Senate’s modification of the HTC, which mandates that users must take the credit over five years, instead of in the first year the building is placed in service. Although this will diminish the credit’s value, it’s a big win for preservation, as the House version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated the credit completely.


Of course, none of these successes would be possible without the support of our members, donors, sponsors, tour-goers, and the community at large. So THANK YOU for supporting our work to protect irreplaceable historic places and revitalize communities.

You can continue to support our work across the region by making a contribution to our 80th Anniversary Campaign.


Best of 2016: Preservation Successes 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 2016 with our Top 12 (we couldn’t limit ourselves to just 10!) preservation successes.

Thank you to everyone who supports our work; together we can make a difference in communities across WNY. You can continue to support successes in your community by donating to our 2016 Annual Fund.

Here’s to many more successes in 2017!

1. Lyons saves 2 buildings and creates new historic district


Arsenau House before rehab and repairs began

Local preservation advocates in the former village of Lyons rallied this past summer to save two historic buildings slated for demolition. Wayne County officials proposed to demolish the Arsenau House and the Park Bakery, two prominent buildings in the center of the village, facing the public square. With advice from Landmark Society staff, preservationists were able to convince Wayne County to offer the properties at public auction before moving towards demolition. The buildings were acquired by local residents and are in the process of being rehabilitated.

Arsenau House, after an exterior paint job and repairs

Arsenau House, after an exterior paint job and repairs

With assistance from Landmark Society staff, the Lyons Main Street Program successfully applied for funding to create a new National Register Historic District in the downtown commercial core. National Register listing will allow property owners to take advantage of the NYS and Federal historic tax credit programs.Work is well underway and the district should be in place in 2017.


2. Food truck zone at St. Joseph’s Park


Working with the City of Rochester, we were able to establish an official food truck zone right outside of St. Joseph’s Park. Partnering with our friends at Staach, we celebrated with a cleanup day and poutine from Le Petite Poutine. Earlier in the summer, Staach and Weld Works, LLC also worked with us to fabricate brand new benches for the park. Thanks to Staach, Weld Works, Rochester Downtown Development Corporation, the City of Rochester, the Rochester Police Department, and all those who have supported our work to improve St. Joseph’s Park and make it a downtown destination!


3. Sunset Concerts play at Landmark Society sites


This summer, the folks at Sunset Concerts expanded their programming to all three of our historic sites. Evening concerts at St. Joseph’s Park, Stone-Tolan Historic Site, and Ellwanger Garden attracted new crowds to these irreplaceable historic spaces.

4. Celebrate City Living launched


Working with our partners in the Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living (which includes the City of Rochester, M&T Bank, Ibero-American Development Corp, The Housing Council at PathStone, NeighborWorks® Rochester, Citizens Bank, Greater Rochester Association of  Realtors, Game Plan Marketing, ROC City Realty, New2U Homes, Hart’s Local Grocers and Magellan Realty), we launched a new program designed to promote city living, housing, and neighborhoods. Celebrate City Living is a year-round program to encourage city residency for consumers at every stage of the housing search, including renters, first-time homebuyers, experienced owners, those who require financial assistance and those seeking high-end, luxury spaces.

The CCL website (, along with the annual Celebrate City Living Expo in April and other neighborhood celebrations throughout the year, help consumers search city neighborhoods for a house or apartment and connect them to available resources, including REALTORS®, landlords, lenders, and non-profit agencies that specialize in city housing.

Follow along with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

5. YUPs join Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists

Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists meetup in Buffalo

Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists meetup in Buffalo

This past spring, the YUPs were proud to join a new coalition of young preservationist groups from across the Rust Belt (and beyond). Meetups took place in Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Cincinnatti. The Coalition has fostered collaboration and friendships. Learn more on the RBCoYP blog and follow along on Instagram.

Inspired by fellow RBC members, the YUPs also held the first heart bombing event. (Never heard of heart bombing? Click here to learn more). Despite the exceptionally frigid temps, the event was a great success! The YUPs partnered with the Lincoln Branch Library to teach kids about the value that historic buildings can have in their community and how vacant buildings can be turned around to become assets to the community. We’ll be heart bombing again February 11, 2017–stay tuned for details!

6. East Main Street Downtown Historic District completed


Photo: Gina DiBella

The Landmark Society completed the National Register nomination for the East Main Street Downtown Historic District. The district encompasses a five-block area on the east side of the Genesee River in downtown Rochester, including one of our 2015 Five to Revive listings, the E. Main St./N. Clinton Ave. retail district. Although the heart of the district is East Main Street, portions of streets that extend north and south with contiguous historic properties are included: Mortimer Street, Division Street, Franklin Street, Pleasant Street, Atlas Street, Achilles Street and Liberty Pole Way.

The district was approved by the State Review Board in the fall and will be sent to the National Park Service for final approval shortly. With this listing, nearly 30 properties can now access the historic tax credit programs, which should help spur the ongoing revitalization of the downtown core.

7. Geneva receives Downtown Revitalization Initiative


Downtown Geneva was selected as the winner of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative in the Finger Lakes region. Over the last decade, Geneva has emerged as a major employment center, boasting over 200 firms and nearly 1,500 jobs in the central business district alone. Geneva’s historic walkable downtown is poised to become a vibrant retail, dining, cultural and entertainment destination for the burgeoning workforce and for students at the three local colleges. Under the DRI, the City will focus on the rehabilitation of key buildings; diversification of housing and retail options; access to healthy food; and building entrepreneurship in the downtown area.

We’ll be partnering with local leaders in Geneva to facilitate the rehabilitation of downtown historic buildings, including our 2016 Five to Revive, the Dove Block.

8. LGBTQ Initiative launched

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In August, we announced the launch of our newest initiative–a Rochester LGBTQ Landmarks Survey. The survey will identify landmarks of significance in the history of Rochester’s LGBTQ community and recognize their importance both historically and culturally.

9. Landmark Travel Tours goes to Cuba!

Our travel tour program left the country for this first time in years to journey to Cuba. It was an educational, jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring trip at a time when the country is undergoing significant changes. We’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…


10. Conference goes to Albany

Photo: Chris Brazee

Photo: Chris Brazee

For the first time ever, our Statewide Preservation Conference ventured outside western New York to the Capital Region to mark the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. Partnering with our colleagues at Historic Albany Foundation, the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, and the Preservation League of NYS, we again had record-setting attendance, with just under 350 preservationists from across the state.

11. Phase 1 of Citywide survey completed


Working on behalf of the City of Rochester, with funding from the City and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, we completed the first phase of a multi-year project to update a 1986 historic resources survey of the city of Rochester. As part of this first, pilot phase, we surveyed historic resources (buildings, parks, structures, and neighborhoods) in the city’s southeast quadrant. This project was an outgrowth of a past Five to Revive listing–the city’s Designated Buildings of Historic Value. Pending funding for future phases, we hope to continue this important work to document and catalog Rochester’s historic places.

12. Eastman Dental Dispensary saved


Eastman Dental Dispensary before rehab.

What could be more appropriate to cap off our year of preservation successes than one of the biggest success stories in recent history? Built in 1917, the former Eastman Dental Dispensary had been vacant since the 1980s. It remained one of the most prominent at-risk historic buildings in the city until Home Leasing and Edgemere Development took on the $20 million rehab project. Now known as Eastman Gardens, the rehabilitated building provides affordable housing for seniors. The project recently received a NY State Historic Preservation Award.


Eastman Gardens, after rehab.


Of course, none of these successes would be possible without the support of our members, donors, sponsors, tour-goers, and the community at large. So THANK YOU for supporting our work to protect irreplaceable historic places and revitalize communities.

You can continue to support our work across the region by making a contribution to our 2016 Annual Fund. 


2015 Five to Revive Announced


Today we announced our 2015 Five to Revive list. The Five to Revive is a list of historic sites that we identify each year as opportunities for targeted, strategic revitalization.

“The Landmark Society of Western New York continues to be focused on preservation and community revitalization,” said Wayne Goodman Executive Director. “This is the third year we are announcing a Five to Revive list which has been very effective in calling attention to key properties in western New York that are in need of investment.”

“The Five to Revive initiative continues to enhance the organization’s ongoing efforts to promote preservation and adaptive reuse as an effective strategy for revitalization in Western New York,” said Tom Castelein, Vice-President of Preservation on The Landmark Society Board who chairs the Five to Revive initiative.

The 2015 Five to Revive list represents a diverse selection of building types located across Western New York, and illustrates a range of preservation issues. One spot on the list addresses a thematic subject, the inherent potential represented in fraternal organization meeting halls which have fallen into disuse. “The inclusion of these meeting halls – and we have three excellent examples – underscores the ongoing challenge these iconic buildings face,” said Castelein.

Significant Progress

Each year, these five properties become priority projects for Landmark Society staff and programs as we work collaboratively with owners, municipal officials, and developers to facilitate investment and foster rehabilitation. The ultimate goal is to return these important historic resources to a place of prominence in their respective communities, as economic and social assets that spark even more investment and revitalization.

Most of the 2014 Five to Revive properties have moved closer to that goal: The Hillside Cemetery and Chapel in Clarendon/Holley, Orleans County was recently awarded a major grant from the Rochester Area Community Foundation to assist with repairs to the chapel, while several new special events at the cemetery have attracted many first-time visitors, who are now aware of this important community asset. The former Trinity Episcopal Church in the village of Seneca Falls is the focus of ongoing discussions for its rehabilitation and re-use by a local developer. The Erie Canal Warehouse in Brockport received a grant and local advocates are completing a final report highlighting potential uses for the building. The Landmark Society and the City of Rochester are partnering on a multi-year project to survey historic properties throughout the city and update the City’s Designated Buildings of Historic Value list.

Eastman Dental Dispensary [photo courtesy Richard Margolis]

Eastman Dental Dispensary [photo courtesy Richard Margolis]

The Eastman Dental Dispensary was on the inaugural list of Five to Revive in 2013. “I think this is the biggest success yet,” said Goodman. “This was a clear case of how the Five to Revive list called attention to the building and its needs and helped leverage significant funding to make its rehabilitation possible.” The building is currently being converted to senior housing, a project that gives a boost to that area of Rochester and is creating many local jobs while saving an irreplaceable historic resource.

The 2015 Five to Revive are…..

Click the links below to read more about each property.


Former Wollensack Optical Company
872 Hudson Avenue
City of Rochester, Monroe County





Lockwood-Alhart Cobblestone House and Retail Plaza
1090 Culver Road
City of Rochester, Monroe County





Main St. East/North Clinton Avenue Retail District
132-226 E. Main Street and 1-17 Clinton Avenue North
City of Rochester, Monroe County




FivetoRevive_LittleValley_2015_editedCattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building
302 Court Street
Village of Little Valley, Cattaraugus County




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Fraternal Meeting Halls
Rochester/Genesee Valley/Western New York region

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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Keynote Speaker for 2015 #NYPresConf

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.

This year’s Keynote Speaker is Cynthia Nikitin from the Project for Public Spaces. Cynthia is no stranger to upstate New York–in 2013, in collaboration with The Landmark Society and the Community Design Center Rochester, she led a community design workshop in Lima as part of the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD), a national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

We are thrilled to be welcoming Cynthia back to upstate New York!

Cynthia Nikitin SQUARECynthia Nikitin has earned a reputation as a persuasive advocate for “Placemaking” as an approach to city planning and urban design.  With a portfolio of more than 300 projects during her time at the Project for Public Spaces (PPS), Cynthia’s technical expertise stretches from the development of main street master plans and corridor enhancement projects to the creation of transit station area plans and public art master plans for major cities. This includes facilitating approximately 40 public workshops, visioning sessions, and public meetings annually. Cynthia is currently directing the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts focused on providing technical design assistance to rural communities and small towns across the United States. She also heads the “Heart of the Community” program, providing Placemaking grants to cities through PPS’s partnership with Southwest Airlines.

In her Keynote address, Placemaking: The Ultimate Art Form, Cynthia will highlight projects that integrate placemaking and historic preservation and will demonstrate how placemaking leads to the creation vibrant public spaces in and around heritage buildings, districts, and downtowns; supports the rehabilitation of historic parks to increase use; fosters the senstive, adaptive and logical reuse of historic structures to meet community needs; helps restore the historic social functions of a building, park, or a heritage district; widens the overall impact of preservation projects; and builds a broader constituency for the preservation movement.

>>Click here to return to the main Conference page to purchase your tickets!


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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Call for Session Proposals: 2015 Preservation Conference

Geneva_SmithOperaHouse_08-28-2014_18 copy

The New York Statewide Preservation Conference is set for April 16-18, 2015 in the lakeside city of Geneva. This year’s theme, The Art of Preservation: Painting Your Community’s Future, is partially inspired by our Conference headquarters—the restored Smith Opera House. But this year’s theme goes beyond the arts—historic preservation is 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. And, of course, the buildings, structures and landscapes that we seek to preserve are all works of art in and of themselves.

We want to hear how you and your community have adopted the art of preservation. Session proposals on a wide variety of preservation and community revitalization related topics are welcome, including but not limited to: maintaining historic buildings; historic landscapes; economic development; Main Street revitalization; heritage tourism; community activism; planning; building reuse case studies, etc. All proposals are due by Friday, January 16th at 11:59 PM.

>>Click here to complete the submission form.



ROC the Day on 12.02.14


We need YOU to help ROC the Day on 12.02.14!

On December 2nd, our community will come together to ROC the Day, and we at The Landmark Society of Western New York hope to make the day a huge success–for our organization and for the communities we serve. ROC the Day is a 24-hour giving opportunity to support all eligible not-for-profits in the nine-county Greater Rochester area. Community members are encouraged to visit, a secure online giving platform, to contribute to any participating not-for-profit organization. All money given during ROC the Day stays local. If you Choose to support The Landmark Society on ROC the Day, your contribution will support the important work we do in communities large and small, rural and urban, to support preservation and community revitalization.

This year, we are directing all funds raised during this special day of giving to our Preservation Grant Fund program. Begun in 2012, this crucial program provides grants to municipalities, not-for-profits, community organizations, and potential developers to help get rehab projects off the ground. To date, the Preservation Grant has provided over $30,000 in funding to some of our region’s most important and at-risk historic buildings. (Click here and here to see some of our past grant recipients). In a very direct and immediate way, this program helps save buildings and revitalize communities. We ask you to help support this program.

After you’ve made your contribution, please help spread the word! Share the news with your friends, family and co-workers. Share the news on social media using #ROCtheDay.

And, as always, we THANK YOU for your commitment to The Landmark Society and to the communities and people of western New York.

>>Click here to ROC the Day with The Landmark Society<<


Historic Landscape Award: Rochester Public Market

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.

Rochester Public Market
280 North Union Street, city of Rochester

Image courtesy of Renaissance Hotels

Image courtesy of Renaissance Hotels

Located on this site since 1905, this City-owned market continues to play a vital role in both the Marketview Heights neighborhood and the greater Rochester community, at large. One of the most  popular and vital gathering places for retail shopping, the market campus and buildings have undergone a major rehabilitation over the past decade, an on-going project coordinated by the City of Rochester. While maintaining the historic buildings, structures and brick paving, there has been building rehabilitation, expanded retail space and extensive site improvements. This revitalization has extended out into the surrounding neighborhood, as well, creating a destination that is used and appreciated by thousands of local residents throughout the year.

Destination Main Street

Online registration has closed. Contact Carolyn Haygood at 546-7029 x11 to inquire if spots are available.

A high-impact breakfast presentation for Rochester’s business community, local officials, developers and citizens who believe in the future of their commercial corridors and the power of locally owned, small businesses.

Jon Schallert is an internationally-recognized speaker and business expert specializing in teaching businesses and communities how to turn themselves into Consumer Destinations. Schallert speaks to thousands annually on his proprietary 14-step “Destination Business” process, which he developed over the course of nearly 30 years of working with independent business owners.


Check-in: 7:30-8:00am
Breakfast: 8:00-8:30
Presentation: 8:30-9:30
Wrap-up & networking: 9:30-10:00


Online registration has closed. Contact Carolyn Haygood at 546-7029 x11 to inquire if spots are available.

Purchase your tickets below or by calling 585.546.7029 x11
Is your business interested in sponsoring a table? Contact Larry Francer (585.546.7029 x14)

This event is held in partnership with Rochester Downtown Development Corp. and the Community Design Center of Rochester.

12091_REPOSITIONING ROCHESTER (Read-Only)  CDC-Rochester