Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

December 04, 2014

Randy Simons
Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868

New York State Parks Announces 2014 New York State Historic Preservation Awards

22 Properties and Districts Nominated to Registers of Historic Places

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) today announced that seven distinctive historic preservation projects received 2014 New York State Historic Preservation Awards and another 22 properties and districts are nominated to be listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

"Historic preservation helps encourage reinvestment and revitalization in the state's most unique cities, towns and neighborhoods," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "This year's awards demonstrate the outstanding commitments, hard work and strong partnerships that have made preservation an important tool for community renewal, economic development and job growth in New York State. The historic preservation awards recognize the achievements of individuals, organizations and municipalities that make significant contributions to historic preservation and revitalization efforts across the state."

State Preservation Awards

Established in 1980, the state preservation awards are given by State Parks each year to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York's historic and cultural resources. The awards were presented at a ceremony held at the award-winning Academy Lofts in Albany, an abandoned school that has been transformed into a vibrant living and work space for artists as well as a community arts center and business incubator for creative enterprises. This year's award recipients include:

Academy Lofts, 56 Second Street, Albany

The Albany Housing Authority in partnership with Albany Barn, a local arts organization, rescued and rehabilitated the former St. Joseph's Academy for low-income artists' residences, a community arts center and a business incubator for creative enterprises. Built in 1906 as a parochial school, the academy was a vital educational resource and neighborhood anchor for decades. However, by 2000, the decaying structure was considered one of the area's worst blighting influences. The transformative project, which utilized historic preservation tax credits, is a key component of a comprehensive Arbor Hill neighborhood plan to provide quality affordable housing, create jobs and small businesses, nurture artistic talent and preserve the historic fabric of the community. Academy Lofts has the potential to be a powerful catalyst for change in the surrounding neighborhood.

Parkview Place, 155-165 Main Street, Oneonta

Property owner and developer Charles Klugo successfully revived the former Bresee's department store in downtown Oneonta as a contemporary commercial and residential complex. Established in 1899, the store was one of the area's prime shopping centers for many years. The multi-million dollar project, which combined private and local funding with historic preservation tax credits, included the removing of a large aluminum facade that was added to the storefront in the 1950s, revealing the row of 19th-century commercial buildings that were combined to house the department store in the early 1900s. Guided by Johnson-Schmidt and Associates Architects, the building is repaired, historic features are restored or replicated and the interiors are rehabilitated for contemporary use. The local landmark's rebirth promises to be a major component of the city's redevelopment efforts.

El Barrio's Artspace PS 109, 215 East 99th Street, New York City

Artspace, Inc., a national nonprofit organization that creates living and work space for artists, in partnership with El Barrio's Operation Fight Back, an East Harlem community development organization, and the City of New York successfully completed the outstanding rehabilitation of former Public School 109 for affordable living and work housing for artists and their families, and a community arts space. The project combines private and public funding, including historic preservation tax credits, to bring the 1898 Collegiate Gothic style school back to life in the community. The prominent New York City Board of Education architect Charles B. Snyder designed the project, which is helping to advance the neighborhood's revitalization and renewal. The decaying landmark is reborn as an affordable housing complex and vibrant center for community engagement and creativity.

Kings Theatre, 1027 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn

The extraordinary transformation of the decaying Kings Theatre into a spectacular entertainment center has been overseen by an outstanding team of private and public partners, including ACE Theatrical Group, the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group and National Development Council with support from and in cooperation with the City of New York and Borough of Brooklyn and United Fund Advisors. The more than $90 million project, which leveraged various sources of private and public funding including historic preservation tax credits, restored and rehabilitated the lavish 1929 theatre for contemporary performing arts use. The theatre is transformed and features restored original plaster and painting schemes, vintage carpeting and historic light fixtures; updates which will allow it to accommodate modern shows. Martinez and Johnson Architecture, the Gilbane Building Company, Evergreene Architectural Arts and an army of construction and preservation specialists guided the meticulous restoration.

New York State Barge Canal Historic District

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the National Park Service Heritage Documentation Program and the New York State Canal Corporation, all working in partnership with the State Historic Preservation Office, have succeeded in the monumental task of listing the 450-mile New York State Barge Canal Historic District on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, the official list of properties significant in state and national history. The district extends over 18 counties and encompasses 23,000 acres. The extensive nomination includes a comprehensive history of the canal system, descriptions of more than 200 canal features and detailed mapping and photography. This outstanding research, documentation and recognition project celebrates a nationally significant work of early 20th century engineering that affected transportation and commerce across the eastern half of the continent for nearly a half century.

Suffolk Theater, 118 East Main Street, Riverhead

Property owners Bob and Dianne Castaldi utilized the historic preservation tax credits to rehabilitate the Art Deco-style Suffolk Theater in Riverhead as a venue for performing arts and special events. Built in 1933, the theater was one of the area's most popular entertainment centers. However, by the 1980s the theater closed due to dwindling attendance and remained vacant for many years. Thanks to the outstanding commitment of the Castaldi family, the theater is revitalized and restored, including many of its original features, such as wall coverings, period lighting and the lobby's mural. The building's distinctive auditorium is rehabilitated as a flexible space for performances and special events. The local landmark is once again an anchor in the community's central business district, infusing new life into downtown Riverhead and stimulating further local redevelopment activities.

West Point Foundry Preserve, Kemble Avenue, Cold Spring

The regional nonprofit Scenic Hudson organization made an outstanding contribution to transforming the site of the abandoned West Point Foundry in Cold Spring into a new park that interprets the property's industrial history and natural environment. The foundry, established in 1817 with the endorsement of the federal government, became famous for the development of the Parrott rifle, a muzzle-loading rifled cannon that played an important role in helping the Union win the Civil War. Scenic Hudson acquired the property in 1996 and oversaw an extensive archeological investigation of the site's historic industrial remains. In 2011, the organization launched a project to rehabilitate the property as a park preserve that interpreted the foundry's historic, archaeological and natural resources. The multi-million dollar effort combined private and public funding, including grants awarded under the state Environmental Protection Fund. The West Point Foundry Preserve features scenic trails through foundry remains with interpretive displays and offers audiovisual tours, picnic areas and parking.

State and National Register of Historic Places

In addition to the Historic Preservation Awards, the New York State Board for Historic Preservation nominated 22 properties and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology and culture of New York State and the nation. There are more than 120,000 historic buildings, structures and sites throughout the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places, individually or as components of historic districts. Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations.

Once the recommendations are approved by the state historic preservation officer, the properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register. The nominations include:

Allegany County

Cuba Cemetery, Cuba – The cemetery is the largest, most important burial site in the town and has served the region since it was established in 1841.

Erie County

The Broadway Historic District, Lancaster – The district reflects nearly the entire history of the village, from its roots as an early residential settlement to its transformation into a 20th century car-centered suburb of Buffalo, retaining much of its original residential qualities intermixed with religious, civic and commercial buildings.

Essex County

Crown Point Village Green Historic District, Crown Point – This district, which centers on the hamlet's civic green, includes an important collection of buildings from Crown Point's history and recalls the individuals who collectively shaped its early development and growth.

Franklin County

The Chester Valentine House, Saranac Lake – Built in 1932 for Valentine, a veteran of the First World War, the house is an example of Sears, Roebuck & Company's "Strathmore" model, a design which the company offered to customers via its mail-order catalog between 1930 and 1937.

Kings County

Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge 79, Brooklyn – The vessel, built in 1914, is a rare surviving covered barge with a wood hull; these boats were once important components of the 20th century railroad lighterage system, where cargoes were moved via barge between waterfront railroad terminals and warehouses – until being supplanted by shipping containers.

Union Temple of Brooklyn – The 1926 structure is an excellent example of a Jewish synagogue center, an architectural movement which began in the 1920s and sought to modernize the Jewish faith by providing congregants with a place that merged religious, social and educational practices.

Livingston County

Elmwood, Nunda – A rare and extremely intact example of the work of Andrew Jackson Warner, one of Rochester's most prominent architects. The 1855 Italianate-style farmhouse also reflects ideas about rural architecture promoted in the writings of A.J. Davis.

Monroe County

Cox-Budlong House, Scottsville – Constructed ca. 1820 by Isaac Cox, one of the original settlers of Wheatland, the home was renovated in 1869 by later owner Isaac Budlong, who retained earlier Federal and Greek Revival elements on the interior while remaking the exterior in the Italianate style.

Nassau County

Cobble Villa, Long Beach -- One of the few remaining Mediterranean-style residences from Long Beach's early history, the 1912 home was the model for early Long Beach developer and political leader William Reynolds' idea of Long Beach as a wealthy resort colony.

New York County

Congregation Shaare Zedek of Harlem -- Built in 1901, the Moorish Revival synagogue was originally built for one of New York City's oldest Jewish congregations; since the 1930s the building has served Protestant congregations in what has become a center of black culture in the city.

Niagara County

The Pound-Hitchins House, Lockport -- The distinctive limestone Greek Revival-style home was built ca. 1833 and is part of a notable local building tradition of stone construction in the Lockport area.

Orleans County

Boxwood Cemetery, Medina – The first burial at this site occurred in 1849 for a local man named David Card, whose dying wish was to be "buried on the hill north of Medina" – prompting the formal establishment of the cemetery that continues to serve the rural community.

Otsego County

St. Mary's Episcopal Church Complex, Springfield Center – The complex includes a church, parish house, rectory and wagon shed built between 1899 and 1902 in an eclectic combination of styles, beginning with the church, built in an unusual combination of the Shingle and Gothic Revival styles.

Rockland County

The House at 352 Piermont Avenue, Piermont – Built ca. 1780, the house was one of 10 buildings developed around a milling operation and landing on Tappan Slote. The use of red sandstone and a side-gabled roof reflects regional Dutch vernacular building traditions.

Rensselaer County

Central Troy Historic District, Troy (Boundary Expansion) – The district, originally created in 1986, will now encompass nearly the entire area known as Central Troy as it survived after the Urban Renewal era: generally bounded by Fulton Street on the north and Adams Street on the south and by Sixth Avenue on the east and the Hudson River on the west. The enlarged area includes approximately two hundred additional residences and several institutional buildings.

St. Lawrence County

Potsdam State Normal School, Potsdam – Built between 1917 and 1931, the buildings served as the campus of the Potsdam State Normal School, which was the sixth such school to be established by the state of New York to educate teachers.

Saratoga County

The Dunning Street Cemetery, Malta – Since it was established in 1775, the cemetery has served as one of the town's principal burying grounds and includes the gravesites of prominent individuals who shaped the early identity of Malta, including veterans of the American Revolution.

Schuyler County

Watkins Glen High School, Watkins Glen – Constructed in 1929, after a fire destroyed the community's school, and enlarged in 1958, the Neoclassical school building served as a high school and, later, a middle school until 2013; the building is now being redeveloped as senior housing.

Steuben County

James H. Bolton House, Bath – The early 20th century Queen Anne-style residence, completed in 1909, retains many of its original and elegant decorative elements, such as decorative burlap wallpaper, paneled wood staircase, elaborate parlor fireplace and dumbwaiter, features that were clearly intended to impress the visitor.

Suffolk County

Mary Louise Booth Girlhood House, Yaphank – Built ca. 1829, the house is nationally significant for its association with esteemed author, translator, abolitionist and suffragist Mary Louise Booth (1831-1889). The founding editor of Harper's Bazar was born in the house and lived there until 1845; it is the only remaining property associated with her life.

Warren County

The Queensbury Quaker Burying Ground, Queensbury – The property is the site of a Queensbury Society of Friends burying ground, where it is believed that the first interment occurred ca. 1765 and the last burial occurred in 1837.

Westchester County

The Leffingwell-Batcheller House, Yonkers – The imposing and largely intact example of architect-designed Queen Anne-style residential architecture was built ca. 1887-89 to the designs of notable architect Robert Henderson Robertson, a principal in the firm of Robertson & Manning of New York City.

State and National Register listing can assist property owners in revitalizing buildings, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. Spurred by the state and federal commercial historic rehabilitation tax credits administered by the State Historic Preservation Office, developers invested $1 billion statewide in 2013 to revitalize properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, while homeowners using the state historic homeowner rehabilitation tax credit invested more than $14.3 million statewide on home improvements to help revitalize historic neighborhoods.

More information on the nominations is available on the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website.

New York's State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), a division of State Parks, helps communities identify, evaluate, preserve, and revitalize their historic, archeological, and cultural resources. The SHPO works with governments, the public, and educational and not-for-profit organizations to raise historic preservation awareness, to instill in New Yorkers a sense of pride in the state's unique history and to encourage heritage tourism and community revitalization.