UPDATES

Preservation Grant Fund Deadline: August 4th

Applications are now available for our next round of funding. Launched in September 2012, The Landmark Society’s Preservation Grant Fund program offers funds for preliminary design and planning studies to help make positive improvements to at-risk buildings. The program was initially funded through a bequest from Elizabeth (Libby) Stewart. Libby was a longtime Landmark Society staff member who was dedicated to the revitalization of neighborhoods and historic structures.

The Preservation Grant Fund provides initial “start-up” funding to assist in saving historic resources. The grant will not pay for any “bricks and mortar” work. Only pre-construction services are eligible for funding. Specific use of funds is flexible. Examples of eligible projects include:

  • code compliance studies
  • construction estimates
  • visual project renderings
  • measured drawings
  • cost comparisons

Recent grant recipients have included: Jefferson Avenue 7th Day Adventist Church in Rochester; 6 Madison St. in Rochester; and the Old Town Hall in Orangeville.

The amount of each request may not exceed $3,500. It is anticipated that the average gift will be approximately $2,500.

Contact Caitlin Meives to discuss your project and obtain an application. Applications will be due Friday, August 4, 2017.

For more information, visit the Preservation Grant Fund page.

Rochester Historic Resources Survey

The Rochester Historic Resources Survey continues this summer in the city’s SW quadrant. John Southern, Lead Intern for last year’s SE quadrant survey and a Master of Arts candidate at Cornell University’s Historic Preservation Planning Program, recaps his experience:

When I was selected by The Landmark Society of Western New York to take part in Rochester’s first comprehensive Historic Resources survey in thirty years, I was both honored and elated. As a graduate student of Historic Preservation Planning I welcomed the opportunity to gain more exposure to surveying and documenting historic buildings in the field. However, it turns out that the most
rewarding aspects of this job have been the human interactions that take place out in the field as well as in the office. Everyone at the office-level of the survey has treated us with so much respect and courtesy, while making us feel that we are all part of one unified team. Additionally, all of us on the survey have had great experiences meeting the owners and tenants of Rochester’s historic homes, and have been treated to many delightful impromptu tours of these buildings. Virtually every time these folks have warily approached us (often mistaking us for tax assessors) they have been invariably pleased to discover we were with The Landmark Society. Judging by many sidewalk chats with homeowners, it’s clear that the reputation of The Landmark Society is highly favorable wherever our fieldwork has taken us.

The 2016 leg of the operation surveyed approximately 19,000 buildings in the southeast quadrant of Rochester. The range of the survey will eventually cover all four quadrants of the city over a projected four-year timeframe. This project is funded by the City of Rochester and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.

Survey data is collected using a vantage point from the public right-of way (sidewalk or street) where members of the survey team gain information on properties and record it on tablets. To collect, record, and transmit data obtained in the field, each tablet employs an app known as CRIS (Cultural Resource Information System) Trekker.
CRIS Trekker is a newly developed program employed by the State of New York that operates on smart devices using the Android or IOS platforms, and —true to its name— CRIS Trekker is designed for gathering data while mobile. CRIS Trekker’s primary function is to record, transmit, organize, and archive data as related to historic buildings, sites, and structures from a mobile perspective. In CRIS Trekker each property is recorded on a digital form, utilizing approximately twenty points of informative criteria, including photographs and GPS coordinates that are recorded in the form of a specific touch-and-select point on a satellite map.

Professionally speaking, the key strength of our team has undoubtedly been its diversity of backgrounds. For example, Tyler Lucero is a geologist and teacher, Luke Nicosia is a history buff and competitive athlete, while Greg Heinrich is a student of architecture and geography. Additionally, Susan Wylie is pursuing a Master of Architecture degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Brad Huber serves as the president of his neighborhood association and has a strong background in preservation and urban planning. When combined with my own skillsets of historic preservation and cultural anthropology, the six of us have made a formidable team. What Tyler, Luke, Greg, Susan and Brad have all brought to the table is their visceral geographic knowledge of — and deep affection for— their hometown, which has been indispensible to the success of the survey. To them, I have offered my graduate-level understanding of historic architectural style and anatomy as well as the law as it pertains to historic preservation planning. I’ve also approached the survey from an observant/participant theoretical perspective that is native to cultural anthropology, and applied it to my interactions with property owners to gain a relativistic viewpoint of the culture that resides in the southeast quadrant. They worked together over the summer and each brought their strengths to that team.

Although I was hired as Lead Intern for this survey, I quickly realized that there wouldn’t be much need for excessive directing or oversight of my fellow team members. All involved have been so insightful, civil, and proactive. Hence, the organization and execution of various survey agendas and activities have been incredibly effective.

It should be noted here that I had never set foot in Rochester before I interviewed for the survey position. Thus, I can honestly say that it has been an honor and a treat to become familiar with both the buildings of this city and the people who live in them on a block-by-block basis. It has also been a pleasure becoming acquainted with all at The Landmark Society of Western New York. Through the eyes of so many good people who are involved in the advocacy and preservation of its historic built environment, I can see that Rochester’s future looks very bright indeed.

When new uses are slow in coming, SecureView can help

We heard about this product at our NY Statewide Preservation Conference this past weekend and thought it might be useful to those in localities where the preservation process can lag, and more immediate, interim fixes for vacant buildings are needed before new uses can be visioned for them.Check it out!:

SecureView clearboarding is a cutting edge historic preservation tactic.

SecureView is a polycarbonate boarding material used on vacant properties in lieu of plywood.  SecureView reduces unwanted behaviors at vacant properties.  Banks and cities are taking a proactive approach by investing in SecureView while communities across the country are passing ordinances or encouraging Blight Mitigation Plans that no longer allow structures to be boarded with plywood.

Check out the First Responders Video – demonstrating the durability and safety of SecureView ClearBoarding.

Quote from Fire Chief in Maryland:

“SecureView Clearboarding is a game changer with the security of vacant buildings.  It provides a more secure board up process, as well as, a lot cleaner aesthetic appearance from the street.  The fact that SecureView has recognized the necessity of the fire service knowing about their product speaks tremendously about the company.  SecureView can definitely pose a formidable challenge to fire service members, whether gaining access or needing egress, and the assistance that is being provided for educating our members is exceptional.”  

Quote from Tehachapi CA Police Department:

“I am glad more cities are getting on board.  This is great for neighborhoods.  We still have yet to have anybody get past the polycarbonate.”

SecureView polycarbonate Clearboarding is great for:

  1. A vacant and abandoned property that you have secured numerous times
  2. A property that has become a hub for crime, drug activity, squatters, etc.
  3. A boarded property near any school or school route or on a major thoroughfare where visitors to your city pass
  4. A vacant property where boarding would significantly impact surrounding property values
  5. A historic property where you want to ensure the property isn’t compromised

 

Out of Character Development Proposed in East Avenue Preservation District

Rochester’s East Avenue Preservation District is one of the nation’s best preserved late-nineteenth century neighborhoods and ennobles our community life. Join The Landmark Society as we support District neighbors in expressing strong opposition to a proposed 5-unit condominium project on the corner of East Ave. & Culver Rd., which we believe is clearly out of character with the surrounding scale, massing, density and design of this historic and civic treasure of a landscape.

Rochester Preservation Board Meeting

Rochester City Hall; Wednesday, March 1st  6:00 PM

Agenda

 

Heart Bombs Across the Rust Belt

On February 11th, young preservationist organizations across the Rust Belt–in cities like Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis–gathered in their respective cities to show their love for old buildings in need of some TLC. In Rochester, The Landmark Society’s Young Urban Preservationists (YUPs) convened at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in the northeast section of the city.

How do you show your love for old buildings, you ask? By heart bombing them, of course! A phenomenon created by Buffalo’s Young Preservationists five years ago, heart bombing is a fun and festive way to draw attention to vacant buildings and to the potential that these buildings have to serve as community assets rather than eyesores. The process is simple: you gather all your favorite crafting supplies (construction paper, doilies, glitter, markers, etc) and your favorite preservationists in a room, make valentines for needy buildings, then go out and tape those valentines to the building(s) in question or just hold them up, take lots of pictures, and post those pictures to social media.

The YUPs put their own spin on heart bombing by involving young children. Like last year, we started the day by teaching some kids about preservation and how vacant buildings can be transformed into community assets. This year we worked with kids at the Polish School at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

The kids had a great time learning about preservation, watching the Disney film The Little House, and crafting their own valentines. Then we all headed across the street to heart bomb one of our 2013 Five to Revive, the former Pulaski Library.

After heart bombing Pulaski, the older YUPs headed off to a few more buildings…

The vacant former theater on Monroe Avenue:

A house in the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood that has been vacant since 1996:

The Susan B. Anthony Museum & House. Not a building in need but we love it so much, we couldn’t help ourselves! (and we were in the neighborhood):

And, finally, the Hotel DeMay in Greece:

To learn more about why this building is at-risk, follow the Save the DeMay Facebook page.

To see heart bombing in action all over the Rust Belt and the rest of the country, search #IHeartSavingPlaces on Instagram. We hope you’ll continue to show your love for historic buildings all year long AND join us for next year’s heart bombing!

 

Best of 2016: Preservation Successes in WNY

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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

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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.

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

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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!

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3. Sunset Concerts play at Landmark Society sites

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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

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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 (www.celebratecityliving.com), 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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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. 

 

Hillside Cemetery Chapel Restoration receives Grant

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Progress for another of our Five to Revive properties!: the Clarendon Historical Society just received a $10,000 grant from the Orleans County / Curtis Foundation to help in the restoration of the 1894 Hillside Cemetery Chapel, which was on our 2014 list. This building will grace our landscape and community life for years to come, thanks to this support!

Learn more HERE.

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Eastman Dental Rehab wins Preservation Award from NYS

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We are honored to have been a part of the rehabilitation of Eastman Dental Dispensary, which was one of five projects to receive a 2016 Preservation Award from the NYS Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation in Albany earlier this month. This historic property was on our first Five to Revive list in 2013, and it is now home to many in downtown Rochester. That’s our Executive Director Wayne Goodman second from the right!

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This is the power of preservation…

Learn more HERE.

2016 Preservation Awards – Craftsman Award

The Landmark Society’s 2016 Preservation Awards ceremony is only two days away. Today we finish up the list of 2016 award recipients with the Craftsman Award. This year’s Craftsman Award will be presented to Jim Turner, custom architectural millwork and restoration specialist from Honeoye Falls Millwork in Honeoye Falls.

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2016 Landmark Society Craftsman Award recipient Jim Turner

With an impressive range of woodworking and millwork projects, Jim Turner is a veteran craftsman whose exceptional artistry has enhanced historic buildings in communities from New York State to Mississippi. Customers have included homeowners, churches, commercial properties, educational institutions, and historic sites.  At his workshop in the historic village of Honeoye Falls, he creates reproduction woodwork for window and column restoration, custom moldings, stair parts, door reproduction and other architectural millwork projects.  Special projects have included the documentation and reproduction of the intricate, 18th-century woodwork for the Eastman School of Music’s Craighead-Saunders pipe organ, which is a recreation of an original 1776 pipe organ in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Join us on Sunday, November 13 at 3 PM at Rochester’sCity Hall to help honor the individuals and organizations in our nine-county area who have made outstanding efforts in the preservation of their homes, public buildings, historic properties, and landscapes. The event is free and open to the public.

2016 Preservation Awards – Special Citation

A Special Citation award recognizes projects that do not fit into other categories or  outstanding individual or group accomplishments in the field of historic preservation.

This year the Landmark Society Preservation Awards Committee will present Special Citation awards to Bradley Huber of Irondequoit and the Rochester Garden Club.

2016 Special Citation Award recipient, Bradley Huber of Irondequoit.

2016 Special Citation Award recipient, Bradley Huber of Irondequoit.

Bradley Huber is an enthusiastic preservation planning and neighborhood advocate, who brings exceptional talent and dedication to his many community activities.   A resident of Winona Boulevard neighborhood in West Irondequoit, he has re-activated the Winona Woods Neighborhood Association, of which he serves as president. His own home, a distinctive early-20th-century Bungalow, has been featured in “This Old House” magazine, where its rehabilitation was described.  Bradley is also a member of the Steering Committee for the Landmark Society’s Young Urban Preservationists (YUPs), whose creative programming has drawn an entirely new – and younger – generation of advocates into local preservation activities.

2016 Special Citation Award recipient, Rochester Garden Club, recently restored the Highland Park Pansy Bed.

2016 Special Citation Award recipient, Rochester Garden Club, recently restored the Highland Park Pansy Bed.

The Rochester Garden Club celebrated its centennial in 2015. It has spear-headed major landscape initiatives in the greater Rochester area which have enhanced our community for over 100 years. Established in 1915, the club has focused a wide range of public landscapes that have included the gardens at the Susan B. Anthony House, the Poet’s Garden in Highland Park, the Liberty Pole in downtown Rochester, the landscaping and trails at the Cumming Nature Center in Ontario County and the preservation of the Bergen Swamp in Genesee County.  A major donation recently enabled the restoration of the Pansy Bed at Highland Park, where that popular garden was re-designed and re-built to include handicapped accessibility.

The Landmark Society’s 2016 Annual Preservation Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, November 13 at 3 PM in Rochester’s historic City Hall, located downtown at 30 Church Street.

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