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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Best of 2014: 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 2014 with a highlight of 14 preservation successes.

2014 saw many successes, as well as new challenges and opportunities. Thank you to everyone who supports our work; together we can make a difference in communities across WNY. Here’s to many more successes in 2015!

1. The Preservation Conference goes statewide

For the first time ever, our annual Preservation Conference became a statewide event. This also marked the first time New York state has seen a statewide preservation conference in well over a dozen years. Over 230 (a record-setting number) preservation colleagues and community advocates joined us in Rochester’s East End for three days of inspirational stories, calls to action, and networking.


2. Young Urban Preservationists

In March, a group of passionate young preservationists launched our new affiliate group, the Young Urban Preservationists, or YUPs for short. Whether it was a happy hour, our first annual Bikes, Beer & Buildings scavenger hunt, the re-opening of St. Joseph’s Park, or roasting marshmallows at. St. Joseph’s during Inside Downtown, we’ve been so excited to see so many youngish folks interested in preservation. Follow the YUPs on Facebook and Instagram, sign up for the YUP e-newsletter, or contact Caitlin to learn how you can get involved.


3. WHERE THE #&@% AM I?

No, we didn’t have too much eggnog over the Christmas holiday. WHERE THE #&@% AM I? is a new coaster program we launched, along with the YUPs, this year. You scan the QR code on the back of the coaster and learn some interesting and titillating (sometimes apocryphal) tidbits about your favorite watering hole (which just so happens to be in a historic building). It’s currently been released in a few select locations in and around Rochester: Abilene Bar & Lounge; 2Vine; Black Button; Edibles; and the American Hotel in Lima (home to the largest urinal in the U.S.). Visit to learn more.


4. Eastman Dental Dispensary on the road to renewal

Some of the best (and most overdue) news of 2014–one of our 2013 Five to Revive properties, the Eastman Dental Dispensary on E. Main St. in Rochester, will be rehabbed by Home Leasing LLC into senior apartments. Inclusion on our Five to Revive list was critical in securing a $3.5 million NYS grant.

Eastman Dental Dispensary [photo courtesy Richard Margolis]

Eastman Dental Dispensary [photo courtesy Richard Margolis]

5. Instagram

We don’t take a lot of selfies but our staff does spend a lot of time on the road, visiting communities across the region, and getting inside some pretty amazing historic buildings. Now you can join us in our travels…Follow @landmarksociety.


6. House & Garden Tour sells out

The Highland Park neighborhood welcomed us and about 2,000 of our closest friends into their homes in June. Tourgoers got a taste of some of the best that city living has to offer–active and engaged neighbors; verdant gardens; an Olmsted-designed park right in your backyard; easy access to dining and shopping on South Ave; and, of course, unique architecture.


7. Inside Downtown Tour sells out

It was billed as “A View from the Top” and that was certainly the case! From the incredible attendance to the incredible views, the 14th annual Inside Downtown Tour was up there with the best of them.  Attendees enjoyed an inside look at loft apartments and other great spaces in the Main and East area, not to mention a sneak peak of the great rehabilitation taking place in the Sibley building.


8. New programming at Stone-Tolan Historic Site

In partnership with Green Zebra Catering, we offered the first ever farm to table Harvest Dinner at Stone-Tolan. Earlier in the year, in honor of Brighton’s bicentennial, we partnered with Historic Brighton and the Town of Brighton to re-enact the first town meeting, which took place at the Stone-Tolan house. Our very own preservation planner made her (reluctant) acting debut at this event!

Stay tuned for more new opportunities to experience Monroe County’s oldest home in 2015!



Photo courtesy David Boyer

Photo courtesy David Boyer

9. Cocktails & Carburetors

Tourgoers at this special event got a look inside exclusive historic garages and automobiles.

Photo courtesy David Boyer

Photo courtesy David Boyer

10. Ribbon cuttings galore!

Perhaps the most rewarding part of the work we do at The Landmark Society is attending the ribbon cuttings once rehab projects have been completed. These projects are years, often decades, in the making and represent the culmination of years of hard work, vision, and a significant financial investment. The resurgence of downtown Rochester and its surrounding city neighborhoods simply would not be possible without preservation and the adaptive reuse of historic buildings.

2014 saw the completion and beginning of lots of exciting projects. To name just a few: 300 Alexander, Button Lofts, Cunningham Carriage Factory, Hart’s Local Grocers, as well as ongoing work on the Clarendon Stone Store (Orleans County), Edge of the Wedge, the Hilton Garden Inn, the Sibley Building, and the Bevier Building.





Clarendon Joe painting store

11. St. Joseph’s Park opens its gates

The YUPs marked the official re-opening of St. Joseph’s Park in downtown Rochester this summer with the Open the Gates event. Despite a massive downpour and thunderstorm early in the evening, the crowds came out in force once the storm passed. We have been thrilled with the interest and support for this unique urban park and hope to continue this success next spring and summer.


12. Downtown Holley receives Preserve NY grant

With assistance from Landmark staff, the Village of Holley successfully completed a grant application to the Preservation League of New York State’s, Preserve New York grant program. This grant will help fund the completion of a National Register of Historic Places district nomination for downtown Holley. Once the paperwork is complete, properties within the historic district–including our 2013 Five to Revive, the Holley High School–will be eligible for state and federal rehab tax credits, a key revitalization tool.


13. Travel Tours

Our Travel Tour season completed another successful run with trips to Buffalo and the Hudson Valley.


14. YOU–our members and supporters

Last but definitely not least, our members and supporters. Whether you attended the House & Garden Tour, donated to the Annual Fund, sponsored one of our many events, donated to the Jubilee Silent Auction, journeyed with us to the Hudson Valley on our Travel Tour, volunteered at an event, opened your home to us, or simply renewed your membership, your support was the most important success of the year. THANK YOU!

LM-2014-annual-appeal-fall-FINAL-green_Page_1You can continue to support our work across the region by making a contribution to our 2014 Annual Fund.


Button Lofts near completion

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

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

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



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



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


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



Just look at the size of this window opening:


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

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


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



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


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

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

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.

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

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 Erdman Anthony’s offices at the Culver Road Armory 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.

>>Click here for the workshop flyer

Tuesday, February 18th | 12:00 p.m. | $5 | Visit AIA Rochester’s website to register.

The Historic Tax Credit Program & Appropriate Design Workshop


Join AIA Rochester and The Landmark Society on February 18 for a new workshop designed with architects, developers and property owners in mind: The Historic Tax Credit Program & Appropriate Design, featuring experts from the Buffalo-based historic preservation firm, Preservation Studios.

>>Click here for more information

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.

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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.

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Award of Merit: 44 Exchange Boulevard

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 Award of Merit is for the sympathetic rehabilitation of an historic building in our 9-county region completed within the past two years.

44 Exchange Boulevard
44 Exchange Boulevard, City of Rochester


Located near the Four Corners and across the street from the Blue Cross Arena, the International-style, former Central Trust Bank Building was built in 1959 and designed by Rochester architect Carl Traver.  Listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places, it has been creatively rehabilitated as contemporary apartments and first-floor retail space.

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Project challenges for this building included restoring the original glass wall tiles and fabricating new aluminum sash that reflected the original design, yet included modern, energy-saving features.

Photo Courtesy Bero Architecture PLLC

One of the youngest buildings to use the Federal Investment Tax Credit program, this mid-century modern building was rehabilitated by Rochester developers Ben Kendig and James Phillippone, who teamed with R.J. Lindsay Buildings and Interiors and  Bero Architecture PLLC.  The project was also a recipient of a 2013 Preservation Award from the Preservation League of New York State.

>>Click here to learn more about this project!

Visit our Success Stories page to see other 2013 Award winners, and check out last year’s winners!