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Award of Merit: “Mama Bear” Municipal Building

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.

“Mama Bear” Municipal Building
Route 414, Village of Ovid, Seneca County

Award of Merit: "Mama Bear" Municipal Building 1
“Mama Bear” at center (above), between “Papa Bear” and “Baby Bear”

The middle of three, Greek Revival style  municipal buildings of graduated size and scale, “Mama Bear” is the centerpiece of a complex unique in the United States. Built in the mid-19th century, these three buildings housed Seneca County offices when the county seat was in Ovid. Erected in 1859, “Mama Bear” was the last of the three buildings to be constructed for use as a larger county clerk’s building. In recent years, the entire complex has been mostly vacant or underutilized. The formation of the “Friends of the Three Bears” advocacy group ten years ago, however, created the necessary public support for the revitalization of these buildings. Funded, in part, by a grant from the NYS Environmental Protection Program, the restoration of “Mama Bear” for a visitors center included major structural repairs, the creation of an internal steel support system, and the re-construction of the original interior balconies. Bero Architecture, PLLC,  Seneca County government, and the NYS Office of Historic Preservation collaborated on this challenging project.

Mama Bear after major structural repairs were completed:

Award of Merit: "Mama Bear" Municipal Building 2

Mama Bear in progress:

Award of Merit: "Mama Bear" Municipal Building 3
Photo courtesy Bero Architecture, PLLC

Below the slate slabs that serve as the porch floor are being replaced (notice the columns dangling in the air):

Award of Merit: "Mama Bear" Municipal Building 4
Photo courtesy Bero Architecture, PLLC

And in-progress and after images of the interior. In order to stabilize the building, a steel structural frame was inserted inside the masonry walls.

Award of Merit: "Mama Bear" Municipal Building 5
Photo courtesy Bero Architecture, PLLC

Award of Merit: "Mama Bear" Municipal Building 6

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

 

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Award of Merit: “Mama Bear” Municipal Building

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