Maplewood Neighborhood Workshop: Funding Your Old House Rehab

Calling all Maplewood Neighborhood residents looking for funding  for rehab projects of your historic home!


Please join staff from The New York State Historic Preservation Office (NY SHPO)Neighborwoks Rochester and The Landmark Society on Tuesday Feb. 18 at 6:00 PM to learn about the NY State Historic Homeowners Rehab Tax Credit program and how you could qualify!

>>Click here to view the event flyer

Photos Courtesy Dan Dangler

State Historic Preservation Plan update

The New York State Division for Historic Preservation, including the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), is updating the state’s historic preservation plan, which provides a blueprint for strengthening and expanding preservation efforts across the Empire State.

>>Click here to learn more and read the current plan.

Public input is an important component of the planning process and, as part of that process, SHPO has developed an online survey. SHPO is looking for broad participation so please follow the link to the survey and share with others.The survey will be online for the next month or so.

>>Click here to take the survey


Best of 2013: Preservation in WNY

It’s that time of year, when pundits, news outlets, and TV shows look back on the year in review, when  Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with best-of lists. So why not jump on the bandwagon? Here’s our look back at 2013 with a highlight of 13 preservation successes.

1. Walk the Walk reaches over 1600 students

With a new specialized Rochester African-American History Rap program for 2nd graders, Walk the Walk this year reached a record-setting number of children–over 1600 students plus over 200 teachers and chaperones.


2. Preservation Conference

Our Preservation Conference in the village of Brockport was a roaring success with new speakers, timely topics and nearly 200 community advocates, municipal leaders, and preservation professionals in attendance.IMG_20130420_095329_505

3. Launched Five to Revive program

In May, we announced our inaugural Five to Revive list, with Mayor Thomas Richards, County Executive Maggie Brooks, and Senator Joe Robach (among others) in attendance. Since then, we have been working with stakeholders to find solutions to move these properties forward towards revitalization. Two of the properties have rehabilitation plans in the works.

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Five to Revive press conference held in May, 2013 at the Pulaski Library. [Photo courtesy Richard Margolis]

4. Free Academy

2013 saw the completion of the rehabilitation of the Free Academy at 13 S. Fitzhugh St. in Rochester. One of downtown’s most recognizable buildings, the Free Academy had long been vacant. The award-winnng rehab project was completed by developers George and Katia Traikos.

Free Academy Building 7271_3

5. Inside Downtown Tour

Our Inside Downtown Tour in the Cascade District sold out. Nearly 2000 ticket holders toured rehabbed historic buildings in a downtown Rochester that is experiencing an exciting revitalization. The Tour showcased pivotal and award-winning adaptive reuses, including Bridge Square, the mid-century modern 44 Exchange, the Free Academy, and modern infill townhouses on Plymouth Ave.


6. Stone-Tolan Historic Site

Due to the generosity of the Davenport-Hatch Foundation and the Rochester Area Community Foundation, this summer we were able to bring in some of the finest craftsmen in the region to bring this spectacular property back to its former glory.  Master carpenters Matt Sweger and Eric Cady rebuilt custom wooden storm windows, repaired trim, rebuilt animal pens and the wooden well as well as completed repairs on the historic barn. Tim McGrath and his meticulous crew of painters painted not only the house and barn but also the majestic wooden fence that encloses the heirloom apple orchard and runs the length of the property.


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Stone-Tolan Historic Site. Photo courtesy Richard Margolis.

7. Clarendon Stone Store

After a year and a half of cooperative marketing efforts and preservation advocacy with the Town of Clarendon, the Clarendon Stone Store was sold (for $1!) to new owners who have already begun rehabbing this iconic 1836 landmark. We can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

Town Supervisor Richard Moy, right, presented the keys of the Clarendon Stone Stone to Sue and Joe Fertitta on Friday. The couple also was presented a souvenir T-Shirt from the town’s bicentennial. An image of the store is on the back of the shirt. Photo courtesy

8. Over $15,000 in grant money

In the second year of the Preservation Grant Fund program, we provided $15,100 to help kickstart rehab projects for at-risk properties throughout the region. Grant recipients included: the Sampson Theatre in Penn Yan, Genesee Baptist Church in Rochester, Pratt Opera Theater in Albion, Church of God and Saints in Christ (former Leopold St. Shul) in Rochester, Pulaski Library in Rochester, Valentown Hall in Victor, Kingston Hotel in Canaseraga, and College Hall at the Elim Bible Institute in Lima.

Pratt Opera Theater in Albion.

9. 660 W Main

Working with neighborhood residents, we advocated for the preservation and reuse of this vacant historic church in Rochester. Claiming that the building was a hazard and unfit for rehabilitation, in 2012, the owner proposed replacing the historic building with a new Dollar General store. A structural engineer’s report, funded by a Landmark Society grant, determined that the building was structurally sound. Although the ultimate fate of 660 W Main still remains uncertain, the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals denied the owner’s application for a variance to demolish the building.


10. Ghost Walk’s 20th Anniversary

The award-winning Landmark Society Ghost Walk reached its 20th anniversary of sharing Rochester’s architecture and historic in a dramatic, spooky format.


11. 19th Ward project begins

Working closely with the 19th Ward Community Association, we began a project to create four National Register Historic Districts in the 19th Ward neighborhood. National Register listing will allow homeowners to qualify for the NYS historic homeowner rehab tax credits, helping strengthen ongoing revitalization efforts in the neighborhood. To help complete this project, The Landmark Society and the 19th Ward Community Association were awarded generous grant funding from the Rochester Area Community Foundation, the Preservation League of New York State, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


12. Diamond Jubilee Celebration

Along with about 300 of our closest friends (members, donors and supporters), in November we celebrated 75 years of past accomplishments and the success of our new initiatives.

Over 300 members and supporters attended the Diamond Jubilee Celebration

Over 300 members and supporters attended the Diamond Jubilee Celebration

13. 75th Anniversary Campaign

At our Diamond Jubilee Celebration, we announced the successful completion of our 75th Anniversary fundraising campaign. Thanks to our many generous supporters we surpassed our goal, raising $555,000 to fund new initiatives and re-invigorate existing programs.

Landmark-75-logo-withtext-color smallNOTAGLINE



Paul Malo Award for Community Preservation Advocacy

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

Friends of the Three Bears, Inc.
Village of Ovid, Seneca County

Photo Credit: Richard Margolis

An organization known of its creative and highly motivated members, the “Friends of the Three Bears” was established in 2002 to spearhead efforts to maintain and preserve one of the most remarkable municipal complexes in the United States – the “Three Bears,” a trio of Greek Revival style buildings located in the village of Ovid, Seneca County.


Photo Credit: Bero Architecture PLLC



Listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places, this unique complex of buildings was built between 1845 and 1859 and used as a county court house, county clerk’s office, Ovid Free Library, sheriff’s office, county health department, and G.A.R. veterans’ headquarters.



In recent years, however, these buildings have been mostly vacant or underutilized.  The formation of the “Friends” advocacy group created the necessary public support and visibility for the revitalization of these buildings.


Photo Credit: Bero Architecture PLLC

Chaired by retired executive Dan Motil, the “Friends” work includes creative partnerships with Seneca County, the Finger Lakes Wine Trail Initiative, the New York State Office of Historic Preservation, and the Preservation League of New York State.  The first phase of restoring this complex was completed last year with the rehabilitation of “Mama Bear,” the middle building, a project honored by The Landmark Society in 2012 with an “Award of Merit.”

The “Friends” continue their exceptional efforts to insure the long-term viability of this unique complex of buildings, as they play a new role for tourism, promotion of local history, and economic redevelopment in the Finger Lakes.

Visit our Success Stories page for other 2013 winner previews and to see last year’s winners! We are looking forward to the Awards Ceremony tomorrow afternoon at 3PM and we hope to see you there to join us in honoring this year’s recipients!

Barber Conable Award: Holy Rosary Apartments

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

The Barber Conable Award recognizes a large-scale rehabilitation of an historic building in our region completed within the past two years. This includes buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places and projects utilizing the Federal Investment Tax Credit Program.

This year’s recipient of our major preservation award is Holy Rosary Apartments.  Established in Rochester’s Edgerton neighborhood in the early 20th century, the former Holy Rosary campus features handsome buildings designed in the Mediterranean Revival style.

Holy Rosary Apartments Credit Preservation Studios

Photo courtesy of Preservation Studios

The church (c.1916) has been adapted as a community center and 35 affordable housing apartments have been created in the former rectory, convent and school buildings.  Listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places, the campus buildings were rehabilitated using the Federal Investment Tax Credit program and design review by the NYS Office of Historic Preservation.


Photo courtesy Richard Margolis

This $15,000,000 project was coordinated by Providence Housing Development Corporation, working with SWBR Architects & Engineers, PC and LeCesse Construction Corporation.

Visit our Success Stories page to see 2012 Preservation Award winners and stay tuned for more 2013 winners!

Award of Merit: Annex, The Mills at High Falls

The Landmark Society’s 2012 Preservation Awards will be presented this year at a special event on Sunday, November 4 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 this week’s Awards Ceremony, over the next few days we’ll be featuring some of this year’s award winners.

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

Located in the High Falls neighborhood in the City of Rochester and originally known as the Teoronto Block, this is the oldest surviving row of commercial buildings in the city. Built between 1844-1854, this unique row of  Federal-style architecture is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings have historic significance because of their association with the Brown’s Race/High Falls neighborhood during its period of rapid growth as a milling center. In addition, the buildings have architectural significance for their well-preserved features typical of downtown commercial buildings of the period, including their three-story brick facades, original window openings, stone trim elements, common gabled roofs, and surviving original interior features.

Mostly vacant for the past several decades, five of the seven buildings in this row were purchased and rehabilitated into affordable housing by the Urban League of Rochester. Working with Barkstrom & LaCroix, Architects, Stantec Consulting Services, and Jensen/BRV/Engineering, this successful partnership of professionals overcame many structural challenges to complete this $7.5 million project, which  included the use of the Federal Investment Tax Credit Program and design review by NYS Office of Historic Preservation. This outstanding project was also a recipient of a 2012 Preservation Award from the Preservation League of New York State.

Some of the interior spaces that were adapted to residential units:

The banister and door below are some of the historic architectural details that were incorporated into the rehab project:

Visit our Success Stories page to see all of the 2012 Preservation Award winners.

From Eyesore to Opportunity: Partners Building

Transforming Buildings & Neighborhoods

Recent discussions about the fate of the 120 year-old brewhouse at 13 Cataract Street got us thinking. Those in favor of demolishing the building say it’s an eyesore, beyond repair, and a haven for crime. With peeling paint, missing windows, and holes in the roof, certainly the iconic building has seen better days. And yes, crime does occur around the building; that is not an issue to be taken lightly. But will demolishing the building solve this problem?

If we demolished every “eyesore” in Rochester, would we have solved all the City’s problems? Or might we end up tossing the proverbial baby out with the bath water? Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting some of these former “eyesores” to show that almost any building can be rehabilitated, to demonstrate how this rehab can, in turn, transform a neighborhood, and to remind us all of opportunities that were almost lost.

Partners Building
192 Mill Street

The Partners Building on Mill Street. From Eyesore to Opportunity: a snapshot of adaptive reuse in Rochester N.Y.

The Partners Building on Mill Street. From Eyesore to Opportunity: a snapshot of adaptive reuse in Rochester N.Y.

Located in the Brown’s Race Preservation District, this six-story building has been a highly visible anchor in the city’s oldest industrial area since its construction in 1881. Originally a paper box factory, the brick structure features a distinctive, Romanesque style corner entrance highlighted with sandstone trim. After years of decline, the building was acquired by the Norry Company in 1999. Listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places, the handsome structure was rehabilitated under the Federal Investment Tax Credit program for landmark designated, income-producing buildings. Working with the State Historic Preservation Office, architect James Durfee of the Rochester firm Handler, Grosso, Durfee Associates coordinated the project. The $6 Million rehabilitation included the installation of a new roof, all new utilities, and new elevators. The exterior brick was carefully cleaned and re-pointed. Window sash were repaired and new insulated glazing installed. The striking interiors created on the top three floors for the Wolf Group (now Partners + Napier) are the inspired work of F2 Design of New York City. Entercom Rochester now occupies the first three floors.

Download the PDF

Want to see more “eyesores” that have been turned into economic opportunities and assets for our neighborhoods and city? Visit our Success Stories page to see the full list.

A Good Steward–Update on the Campbell-Whittlesey House

by Carolyn Bick & Cindy Boyer

It’s been awhile since we’ve updated our readers on the status of the Campbell-Whittlesey House so here’s a report on the newest steward of the house:

The Landmark Society is thrilled to announce that it has sold the Campbell-Whittlesey House to Landmark Society member Dr. Ronald Yearwood, who will be the latest in a line of good stewards for this 175 year old structure. The house was a private home from 1836 to 1937. In 1937 The Landmark Society saved and restored the house and operated it as a museum until June of 2010. It was decided to list the former museum in August 2010 as a result of several years of strategic planning and a refocused mission to promote preservation and planning practices that foster healthy, livable communities. Maintaining a static museum was no longer congruent to this mission.

The return of this building to private hands will ensure that this home remains a living and viable resource. The sale was accompanied by protective covenants that will ensure preservation of the home’s significant architectural details. These covenants will remain a part of the deed during Dr. Yearwood’s ownership, and will pass on to future owners, giving perpetual legal protection.

Dr. Yearwood is in the process of completing his residency in general psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He was born in Venezuela and raised in the country of Grenada. He attended college in England where he received his master’s degree in system analysis, design, and project management before embarking on his medical career. A full national scholarship awarded by the government of Grenada allowed him the opportunity to pursue his medical career in Rochester.

Dr. Yearwood proudly holding a ceramic model of the house.

Before deciding to finish his studies and settle in Rochester, Dr. Yearwood toured the U.S.A. He decided the location and the wonderful quality of life in Rochester was the most attractive option. Dr. Yearwood told us “I had no intention at all of buying a house. But then I saw information about the sale on the internet. I couldn’t believe what a unique opportunity this was. I saw it as a way to become part of and support the local community.” After the sale closed, he was struck with the enormity of the responsibility to safeguard and ensure the proper stewardship of one of Rochester’s oldest homes.

Dr. Yearwood comes from a family of architects, interior designers, and art historians. His mother is an art historian in London and will be consulting on this project. Dr. Yearwood will also call upon the expert advice from the New York State Historic Preservation Office, the Corn Hill Neighbors Association, and— of course—The Landmark Society.

Dr. Yearwood is proceeding very carefully. “I recognize this is not a project that will be completed quickly, and I am very comfortable with that.” He is working on a master plan that will proceed in stages, starting from the outside of the building with needed paint and repairs to the building envelope, then gradually proceeding to interior work. He expects the major work will take place over a timeline of 3 to 5 years. Dr. Yearwood is very familiar with long term goals: he still has 18 months to complete his residency.

Dr. Yearwood’s intention at this time is to keep the Campbell-Whittlesey House as a private residence. Future plans include locating his private practice in the building, Corn Hill Center for Healthy Living and Healthy Minds. Some of the additional space will be used to incorporate art, pet and humor therapy as part of the services offered to his clients.

The Landmark Society appreciates his passion and investment in the Campbell-Whittlesey House. Our whole community is incredibly fortunate to keep this property in such thoughtful and caring hands.

Adapted from the Fall 2011 issue of Landmarks, a quarterly publication of The Landmark Society.