Each fall, The Landmark Society presents awards to projects, people, and organizations who, through their dedication and hard work, have contributed to historic preservation in our nine-county area. The 2023 Preservation Awards, presented by The Innovating Edge, were announced at a ceremony on November 12th. A list of recipients is listed below.
Award of Merit
The Award of Merit is for the sympathetic rehabilitation of an historic building or structure in our nine-county region completed within the past two years.
Miller Building | Open Door Mission
230 W. Main Street, City of Rochester, Monroe County
This award was presented to Open Door Mission and the skilled project team that worked to restore the 1865 Miller Building on West Main Street in Rochester. That team included the Rochester office of Passero Associates as well as Hamilton Stern Construction.
The 6.8-million-dollar rehabilitation was made possible by funding from the New York State Homeless Housing Assistance Program. The project required close collaboration with the State Historic Preservation Office because of its location in the National Register-listed Bridge Square Historic District.
The Miller Building was redeveloped to provide housing for individuals that are in substance abuse recovery, have mental illnesses, have experienced chronic homelessness, and/or are victims of domestic violence. While significant changes were required to adapt the building for residential use, Passero maintained many of the original historic details including the tin ceiling tiles and the painted transom window over the original door to the building. Spaces like the lobby were designed to be bright, welcoming, and safe.
The Miller Building has 24 apartments including 13 studio apartments and 11 one-bedroom apartments. Due to the configuration of the building, many of the apartment layouts are one-of-a-kind and feature exposed brick and other original details.
A Special Citation provides recognition for projects that do not fit into other categories or recognizes an outstanding individual or group accomplishments in the field of historic preservation. This year’s Special Citations were presented to two unique building locations projects in our region.
Breezeway Barns | Jennifer Hall
151 N. Center Street
Town of Perry, Wyoming County
Our first Special Citation is presented to Jennifer Hall, the owner of the Breezeway Barns, two Wells Barns that were relocated to Perry from Wheatland and Scottsville. Wells Barns were designed and patented in 1889 by John Talcott Wells, who revolutionized barn design with his laminated truss and beam system that allowed for wide expanses of interior space.
The buildings were moved with the help of Amish craftsmen. In the first barn, which is now a reception venue, every possible piece was preserved, including all the original bolts, the hay trolley, and beams from the basement, which were used to reconstruct the floor of the main level over a new foundation. The second barn required more significant reconstruction and incorporated a new masonry fireplace, restrooms, and a bridal suite. Benches were made from salvaged wood beams and are used as seating for weddings ceremonies.
The Breezeway Barns are a beautiful and functional example of adaptive reuse of two barns that may have otherwise been lost to decay. In addition to giving the barns a new life as a commercial venue, Jennifer also provides space for public events including old fashioned barn dances and community meetings.
Lent-Klinkbeil Pump House | LeRoy Historical Society
23 E. Main Street
Village of LeRoy, Genesee County
Our second Special Citation is presented to the LeRoy Historical Society for the relocation and restoration of the Lent-Klinkbeil Pump House.
This unique structure was built sometime in the 19th century and is a rare surviving example of this type of “garden folly.” The pump house spent most of its history in a yard on West Main Street in LeRoy. The property was owned by William and Rachel Drayo Klinkbeil, who arranged for the Pump House to be donated to the LeRoy Historical Society before they passed away in 2019 and 2020.
For a relatively small building, the team, time, and resources assembled to relocate the pump house are impressive. The complicated project was generously funded by a donation in memory of Marilyn and Judd Crocker and coordinated by retired Director of the LeRoy Historical Society, Lynne Belluscio. The two-stage move was coordinated and executed by Mike Lauterborn. The pump house spent the winter of 2020 in a parking lot on Mill Street before being moved to its permanent location behind the LeRoy house on East Main Street. Gary Fink was the sole restoration contractor, milling wooden trim and reconstructing the acorn-shaped finial.
Concrete for the new site was donated by Western New York Concrete and poured by Dave Levchuk. Three original limestone slabs were moved from the Klinkbeil home site by Rob Coniber and installed on the new pad by a crew from Derrick Monument.
The pump house was carefully placed by Lauterborn, Fink, and Bruno DeFazio. The restoration, which had begun in the parking lot on Mill Street, continued with the help of Lindsay Yoder of Bero Architecture, volunteer architect Anne VerHague, Ted Bartlett of Crawford & Stearns, and Steve Jordan. The project wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Bob Lathan, who provided a cherry picker from the Village of LeRoy Highway Department to work on the roof.
LeRoy resident Martha Tabone donated a cast iron Gould pump, which was sandblasted and painted by Pete McQuillen. The wooden pump shroud was built by Alan Guilford.
The last major step in the restoration was completed just last month, when master roofer Frank Meunier replaced the original tern roof with a hand-crafted copper roof. The pump house has been restored to its Victorian-era glory and can now by enjoyed by the entire community.
Small Business Award
The Small Business Award recognizes small businesses that occupy historic commercial buildings and have demonstrated their commitment to preservation via the care, repair, and/or long-term operation at these sites.
Mayer Paint and Hardware
226 Winton Road N.
City of Rochester, Monroe County
This year’s first Small Business Award is presented to Mayer Paint and Hardware, the oldest continuously operating hardware store in the City of Rochester. The building at 226 Winton Road North has housed a hardware store for over 100 years. Clarence and Ruth Mayer purchased the former Martin’s hardware store in 1966, and sold it to Tom and Barb Green just a few years later in 1971. The business has been in the Green family ever since, though they have kept the Mayer name. Tom Green Jr. and Peter Heier are the second-generation owners, and the store general manager is Tom Jr.’s son, Koby.
Mayer Paint and Hardware has been expanded several times over the years, and recently received a facelift in the form of significant exterior improvements including a rebuilt storefront, restored signage, and removal of dark paint to re-expose the original red brick.
Though the façade and floorplan have changed over the years, Mayer Paint and Hardware has remained a North Winton Village anchor for generations. They continue to provide knowledgeable advice and services to everyone, from humble homeowners to design and construction professionals.
435 Portland Avenue
City of Rochester, Monroe County
This year’s second Small Business Award is presented to Fee Brothers, another longstanding family-owned business in the City of Rochester. The company was started in the mid-1800s by brothers James, Owen, John, and Joseph, who began making and importing wine under the name “James Fee and Brothers.” Two centuries later, “Fee Brothers” is now owned and managed by the fifth generation, brothers Benjamin Fee Spacher and Jon F. Spacher.
The Fee Brothers business faced numerous challenges in its lengthy history, from devastating fires to the era of Prohibition, which prompted the creation of the non-alcoholic flavorings and cordial syrups that Fee Brothers is known for today. An especially challenging time in the company’s history was the sudden death of second-generation owner John Fee Jr., who took with him most of Fee’s recipes, which he had only documented in code. Fortunately, John Jr.’s son Jack was a chemist at Kodak. Over several years of nights and weekends, he was able to decipher and redevelop the recipes, eventually leaving Kodak to become the third-generation owner. Jack Fee and his wife Margaret were managing the business when they moved from their original North Water Street location to a new building on Field Street. It didn’t take long to outgrow that space, and in 1964, they moved to the current Portland Avenue location.
The fourth generation of Fee owners were two of Jack and Margaret’s children, Ellen and Joe, who ran the business with their father until his death in 2015. Joe passed away several years later, and Ellen was the sole owner until the business was transferred to her nephews, Benn and Jon, in 2021. Thus began the fifth generation of family ownership.
The 12,000 square foot Portland Avenue complex produces cordials, syrups, bitters, and other specialty cocktail products. The modest brick buildings have adapted throughout the years to accommodate the changing needs of the business, but still contain some interesting historic elements. The small retail shop at the front has a 1906 cash register that was in regular use until 2016. A private room near the back of the building houses a “museum” of sorts containing chemistry equipment from Jack Fee’s experimentation days, plus antique wine jugs, vintage product labels, and well-worn office supplies from nearly every decade of the company’s existence. Fee Brothers has been a Portland Avenue mainstay for nearly fifty years, with its recognizable sign bearing the “Don’t Squeeze, use Fee’s” slogan. For their commitment to one of Rochester’s oldest family-owned businesses, we honor Benn and Jon Spacher with one of this year’s Small Business Awards.
Historic Home Award
The Historic Home Award is given to owners of private residences for their continued care of and commitment to the preservation of an architecturally significant house over a minimum of seven years.
Colehill – Chad & Alana Fabry
3569 North Main Street Road
Town of Murray, Orleans County
This year’s Historic Home Award honors Chad and Alana Fabry, for the restoration and preservation of their 19th century Italianate home, Colehill, on North Main Street Road in the Town of Murray.
Since purchasing the home in 1995, they’ve spent nearly 30 years bringing it back from a state of what they describe as “benign neglect.” The home has been completely restored, inside and out. As a historic home inspector, Chad is no stranger to historic preservation, and no project is too big or too small. Outside, they’ve replaced the roof, repaired the original eave brackets, crafted new dentils, and rebuilt parts of the wraparound balcony on the second floor.
Inside the home, they’ve grained all the doors, cast replacement ceiling medallions and light fixtures, repaired window sashes, and preserved original wallpaper. The kitchen, which is in the original part of the house built in the early- to mid-1800s, features a kitchen countertop made from reclaimed marble bathroom stall walls.
Another room contains a fireplace from the demolished Strathallan Hotel in Rochester that came in 50 individual pieces. The home is beautifully decorated and filled with unique furniture and antiques.
In addition to their work on the house, the couple has installed beautiful gardens, a koi pond, a dramatic pergola, and a small blueberry farm.
Blood, Sweat, and tears award
Recognizes building owners who have physically engaged in the preservation and restoration of their property through self-education and countless hours of do-it-yourself work.
Jesse Horning and Patrick Kinz-Thompson
88 and 390 Wellington Avenue
City of Rochester, Monroe County
This year’s Blood, Sweat, and Tears Award honors the owners of two historic homes in Rochester’s 19th Ward. The Landmark Society recognizes Jesse Horning and Patrick Kinz-Thompson for the ongoing rehabilitation of the 1906 multi-family Foursquare home at 88 Wellington Avenue, and the 1917 Colonial Revival at 390 Wellington Avenue.
Since purchasing the first house in 2020, Jesse and Patrick have poured countless hours into learning the skills needed to restore the 3-unit rental property. Before attempting to repair and restore the house’s wood windows, Jesse attended expert Steve Jordan’s window workshop at The Landmark Society’s Stone-Tolan House. She’s tackled everything from jackhammering bathroom floors to restoring an oak and tile fireplace, using her experience as a tile setter. Patrick, a trained metalworker and artist, has utilized his skills on everything from plumbing to wiring to structural repairs. Together, the couple has stripped and restored woodwork, repaired plaster, and rehabilitated the bathrooms and kitchens.
Two years after purchasing the first house, Jesse and Patrick set their sights on another house just down the street, and are now the owners of what they refer to as “the big house” at 390 Wellington Avenue. They feel well equipped to take on the challenge of restoring this special home, which had been in the same family for 52 years.
Jesse has thoroughly documented the couple’s process through their Instagram account, @wardsofwellington, which serves as inspiration to hundreds of followers.
The Stewardship Award recognizes an individual or organization that has provided continued care of and commitment to the preservation of an architecturally and/or historically significant public property over a period of years. “Care” can include appropriate changes to the building fabric. Eligible properties include religious, educational, not-for-profit, commercial or government buildings, structures, objects, or sites. This year’s Stewardship Awards were presented to two historic houses of worship in our region.
Church of God and Saints of Christ | Fifteenth Tabernacle Beth-El
19 Harrison Street
City of Rochester, Monroe County
The first award is presented to Church of God and Saints of Christ and Fifteenth Tabernacle Beth-El in the City of Rochester. This Romanesque Revival synagogue at the corner of Leopold Street and Harrison Street was originally constructed in 1886 as the Leopold Street Shul for Congregation Beth Israel. The basement of the shul was home to the first community-sponsored Hebrew school in the city, and the location of Rochester’s first Orthodox service delivered in English in 1889.
Church of God and Saints of Christ came to Rochester around 1912 and purchased the Beth Israel building in 1973. It is now known as Fifteenth Tabernacle Beth-El, led by Elder Howard Z. Jeffries.
The exterior of the synagogue maintains its historic features, including a decorative shed awning roof with rounded arch, decorative wrought iron stairs, Corinthian columns, decorative rose window, carved stone and brick details, and ornate copper parapet detailing at the roof line of the west facade.
Inside, modifications have been made over the years to accommodate changing needs and respond to unexpected challenges like a recent roof leak. The sanctuary still contains several original features including the arc, banisters, stained glass windows, and chandeliers.
The Beth Israel building is the oldest Jewish synagogue still in use in Monroe County and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The neighborhood that surrounds the synagogue has suffered the consequences of Urban Renewal and long-term disinvestment, leaving it somewhat isolated among train tracks and industrial buildings.
Despite a lack of geographical connection to the surrounding community and the challenges that come with maintaining a nearly 150-year-old building, Fifteenth Tabernacle Beth-El have remained steadfast in their commitment to the preservation of their historic building.
East Penfield Baptist Church
2635 Penfield Road
Town of Penfield, Monroe County
Our second Stewardship award is presented to the congregation of East Penfield Baptist Church, who have occupied a historic building on Penfield Road in the Town of Penfield since 1836. The building we see today is a variation of the original 1836 structure, which was expanded in 1907 and sustained a devastating fire in 1916. With the help of the East Penfield Red Cross, members were able to rebuilt the damaged parts of the church and rededicate it in 1917. The sanctuary was remodeled in 1957, and a fellowship and education wing was added.
There are fewer than 20 members of East Penfield Baptist Church, but the small congregation has contributed time and funds to maintain their historic worship building. Several members have been involved with the church for generations and have memories of family celebrations over many decades.
East Penfield Baptist Church is well cared for, and still has many of the furnishings of its mid-century remodel. In 2016, The New York Landmarks Conservancy awarded the church with a $5,000 grant to help fund the repair of the stained glass windows. Pike Stained Glass Studio of Rochester completed the repairs. East Penfield Baptist Church is an excellent example of the long-term stewardship of a modest rural church by a small but committed group of individuals.
Traditional Trades Award
These awards recognize outstanding individual or group accomplishments in the field of historic preservation as related to the traditional trades.
City of Rochester, Monroe County
This year’s Traditional Trades Award honors recognizes Aslan Sweeney, a third-generation mason and owner of ADS Masonry, for his outstanding craftsmanship in the field of masonry. Aslan’s grandfather was a tile and marble craftsman, and his father was a lifelong stonemason. Aslan first honed his skills in large-scale decorative concrete work for clients including Walt Disney World and other theme parks. He then learned traditional techniques and restoration masonry under the guidance of accomplished mason Bill Heaster.
Aslan’s first significant restoration project was the repointing and partial reconstruction of an early 1800s brick schoolhouse in the Town of Ontario. Some of his recent preservation projects include masonry restoration on the Little Theatre in Rochester and repointing and rebuilding the masonry foundation and portions of the brick wall on the Port Gibson United Methodist Church.
Jean France Special Achievement Award
The Special Achievement Award recognizes accomplishments that have occurred over a lengthy period of time.
John Oster | Edgemere Development
City of Rochester, Monroe County
For over 40 years, John has been committed to public service, historic preservation, and affordable housing. In 2000, John co-founded Edgemere Development with the goal of providing affordable housing where it would benefit communities the most. Since then, he has helped rehabilitate many of Rochester’s most beloved historic buildings and neighborhoods.
Examples of Edgemere Development’s work include the rehabilitation of St. Bernard’s Park Apartments on Lake Avenue in Rochester, the adaptive reuse of the Wollensak Optical building on Hudson Avenue in Rochester, the adaptive reuse of the former Holley High School in the Village of Holley, and the adaptive reuse of the Eastman Dental Dispensary in Rochester. If any of these projects sound familiar, it’s because all four received previous Landmark Society Preservation Awards and the latter three were listed on our Five to Revive.
John’s neighborhood revitalization projects include Voter’s Block Community and Frederick Douglass Apartments along West Main Street, and the Mills at High Falls. By preserving historic storefront facades and adding residential units, these projects have been catalysts for commercial growth and have improved neighborhood safety.
Edgemere Development is currently working with Ibero-American Development Corporation on Alta Vista, an affordable housing project adjacent to The Landmark Society’s St. Joseph’s Park. The development will include commercial space, arts and cultural programming, and a reception facility to complement weddings and events at St. Joseph’s Park.
Barber Conable Award
The Barber Conable Award, the Society’s most prestigious award for historic preservation, recognizes a large-scale rehabilitation of a historic building in our region completed within the past two years. This award was created to honor Congressman Barber Conable of Alexander, Genesee County, whose supported the establishment of the Federal Investment Tax Credit Program for the rehabilitation of historic, income-producing buildings.
250 E. Main Street
City of Rochester, Monroe County
This year’s Barber Conable Award honors the developers of Sibley Square on East Main Street in the City of Rochester. Once the largest department store between Chicago and New York City, Sibley’s was a Rochester landmark and a regional destination. After closing in 1990, the 1.1 million square foot Sibley, Lindsay & Curr building remained mostly vacant for over 20 years. Boston-based WinnDevelopment and local development partner Gerry DiMarco acquired the massive building in 2012 and embarked upon a $200 million revitalization that spanned a decade.
Work on the building included a new roof, new windows, restored Art Deco facades, and the construction of 280 new apartments in the 12-story tower. The three cornerstones of the Sibley Square redevelopment project are innovation, education, and incubation. Over 200 individual business entities now operate within the building, including high-tech companies, laboratories, business incubators, and outreach organizations. The famous Tea Room on the top floor is now a co-working space run by NextCorps, an affiliate of the University of Rochester. The building’s atrium is now home to Mercantile on Main, a food hall where the majority of vendors are women- and minority-owned.
The team involved in this project includes The Architectural Team, Crosby Brownlie, Odeh Engineers, and DiMarco Constructors. The developers utilized the federal historic preservation tax credit, the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit, and low-income housing tax credits from the New York Housing and Finance Agency.