Monday, April 30, 2007

Upcoming Events in Troy - Historic Oakwood Cemetery and Historic Prospect Park

The following events listed in last Friday's The Advertiser's Pennysaver may be of interest to the local historic preservation community:
  • Historic Oakwood Cemetery Tour: "A Soldier From Every War" Walking Tour - "A new season of tours begins at Oakwood Cemetery on Sat., May 5, from 9-11 am. Join noted military historian Robert Mulligan as he leads us through his walking tour...and introduces visitors to at least one soldier from every war we have fought. Learn of their private lives and the battles they fought. Wear sturdy shoes for off-road walking and bring drinking water. Meet at the bell just beyond the chapel on Oakwood Avenue. The cost is $12/person. Call 1-800-556-6273 to register." Future tours at Oakwood Cemetery include (call same phone number to register, same meeting and other requirements except as noted):
    • "Birding with the Best," with lifelong birder Dick Patrick, Saturday, May 12, 8-10 am ($12). "See Oakwood's Baltimore orioles, great blue herons, hawks, and an occasional bald eagle. Last year, the tour group spotted a family of great horned owls and watched their progress throughout the summer."
    • "A Walk Among the Wildflowers," Saturday, May 19, 9-11 am ($12). Tour the grounds with Bill Town as he introduces you to the common and unusual, as well as the native and not-so-native plants found on the grounds.
    • Memorial Day Ecumenical Service and Graveside Remembrance, Monday, May 28, 8-10 am (free). Celebrate with us as we begin Oakwood Cemetery's tribute to veterans with an outdoor Ecumenical Service at the Earl Chapel on Oakwood Avenue. We begin at 8 am with a call to prayer with a shofar, a ram's horn. Following the service, at 9am, take a self-guided tour through the cemetery to selected veterans' graves where Honor Guard members will tell of the veterans' lives and war experiences. This service will be brought indoors in case of heavy rain only. Please plan appropriately. This program is free and requires no registration.
  • "The Rensselaer County Historical Society will present an exhibition chronicling the centennial of Prospect Park entitled "One Hundred Years of a Day in the Park." It will open May 17 at the Society's headquarters, at 57 Second Street, in Troy, at 5:30 pm. the public is invited to attend and refreshments will be provided. An exciting array of programs will be offered in conjunction with the exhibit. The exhibition, sponsored by the Friends of Prospect Park, celebrates the 100th anniversary of the park's opening in 1907 on land purchased from the Warren and Vail families. For the last century, the park has played an integral role in the recreational lives of the residents of Troy, from the playground movement begun by the Women's Improvement Association in 1906, to today's Troy Tennis Association. Prospect Park, designed by Garnet Baltimore, first African American graduate of RPI, exemplified the design and spirit of urban parks created in the early 20th century. Residents, trapped by the foul air, congested housing and long hours of hard labor in the many factories, found the 84-acre park located atop Mount Ida an escape to 'refresh the body and soul.'"
On May 24th, the Friends of Prospect Park is also holding its annual Hidden Garden Tour, a walking tour of hidden historic brownstone gardens from 4-7 pm, and its annual Summer Soiree, with dinner and dancing under the stars in Prospect Park on June 14th. For more information and tickets, email them at

Preservation in the News

I apologize for posting less frequently than usual, and for mainly posting about things of local interest. Between entertaining and having fun with my mother (who is visiting for a month), the end of the semester, and other work obligations, finding time to write posts for this blog has been difficult. This will probably continue to be the case through late May, but I do hope you will keep reading and passing along items of interest.

Because of the aforementioned time constraints, I haven't been able to post most of the items that have been forwarded to me recently, but I will continue to do so as soon as time allows!

Aside from apologizing, I also wanted to post links to a number of recent preservation-related news stories from the New York Times, Times Union (Albany), and The Record (Troy).
  • Thursday's Arts section of New York Times included Room With a View of an Architect's Retired Ideas (by Robin Pogrebin), a feature announcing architect Richard Meier's recent decision to allow the public to view "an array of models from projects spanning his 40-year career" -- by appointment only -- on Fridays, at a 3,600-square-foot studio in Long Island City, Queens. Included are approximately 300 models, ranging "from Mr. Meier's residential houses of the 1960s to early versions of his J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in 1997." Appointments can be arranged by calling (212) 967-6060.
  • Friday's Escapes section of the New York Times included the Day Trip feature Where No-Frills Fast Food (the Real Thing) Was Born (by Joel Keller) about the birthplace of roadside diners, Rhode Island. If you are a diner aficionado, you will enjoy this article. It describes an exhibition about diner history at the Culinary Archives and Museum at the Harborside campus of Johnson & Wales University in Providence. The exhibit includes a "full soda fountain, along with a vintage Worcester Lunch Car Company model, on display but in the process of restoration, that last served as the Ever Ready Diner in Providence." The article also notes that for "those obsessed with the history and design of diners, Providence -- with a handful of them in and around the city -- and its neighbors are a dream destination." A related text box provides information on the Seaplane (Providence), Modern (Pawtucket), and Jigger's (Greenwich) diners. Closer to home, of course, we have Albany's beloved Miss Albany Diner, which has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is well worth a visit.
Yesterday's Times Union was full of stories related to the upcoming 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage to the New World, including Legacy in Dutch (compiled by Bob Gardinier), which provides photographs and "thumbnail" summaries of the location, siginificance, threat, and preservation of artifacts related to New York's Dutch history, including the Verplanck/Van Valkenburgh Dutch Bible at the Albany Institute of History and Art; 48 Hudson Avenue, which is considered the oldest house still standing in Albany; a Dutch-style farmhouse (Van Hoesen House) in Claverack, Columbia County; a portrait of Tobias Ten Eyck; and the Knickerbocker family mansion in Schagticoke, Rensselaer County. Unfortunately, this overview does not appear to be online, but more information about some of these projects is in the related articles below:
  • Dutch Albany in artworks (Bob Gardinier) - about local artist Len Tantillo's efforts to bring recently discovered archeological sites to life through digital technology. Recent projects have included a three-dimensional computer-generated rendering of the Dutch settlement in Schenectady in 1695. Tantillo is currently applying the same technology to show Dutch Albany in 1685 and Dutch Manhattan in the 1660s.
  • This old wooden house surviving in modern times (no byline given) - about the historic Sharp House(ca. 1720, Laura Lane, North Greenbush, New York), which still stands despite nearby residential development. The house was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
The Times Union also featured the following preservation-related articles:
  • Together, citizens and city succeed (by Lynn M. Kopka, president of the Washington Park Association and Friends of Washington Park), about how public-private-nonprofit partnerships are accomplishing historic preservation goals here in Troy.
  • The revivalists (by Joseph Dalton), which describes Tony Rivera's and Jim Charles' re-energizing of the Cohoes Music Hall, and with it, the City of Cohoes and the local theater scene.
And, speaking of Cohoes, New York, today's Record describes a tour of four historic churches in Cohoes that I am sorry to have missed (perhaps the Spindle City Historical Society will offer it again):
  • Tour illustrates Cohoes rich ethnic history (by Robert Christo) - As described in the article, the tour included St. Joseph's Church on Congress Street; St. Peter & Paul Ukrainian Church on Ontario Street; St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church on Saratoga Street; and the United Church of Cohoes on Mohawk Street.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Neighborhood Revitalization: Troy's Little Italy Marketfest

When you've finished the Historic Prospect Park tour on Saturday morning (see post below), be sure to head over to Little Italy's first Saturday Marketfest. This event will be held at the former Troy Public Market, on Hill Street between Liberty & Washington Streets, behind the Vanilla Bean Bakery, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 28th.

Troy residents and visitors alike are invited to start off a family friendly day in Troy: drop by the Farmer’s Market and then come to Marketfest for delicious food and fun activities.

Murals created by the talented Questar III New Vision Visual and Performing Arts students and Construction Technology students will be dedicated at 11 a.m. This project was accomplished under the guidance of the Quester teachers: Peg Danner-Frank, Michael Garrish, and Joe Mix. The murals can also be viewed on Friday evening, April 27, during the successful “Troy Night Out” from 5pm to 9pm at the Art Center on River Street.

An array of flea market vendors will provide an assortment of goods and edibles such as fried dough, sausage and peppers, pizza, pasta fagioli, lemon ice, and Italian pastries all prepared by local eateries. Family entertainment will include a “bouncy bounce,” face painting, and balloon sculptures for the children, along with the “Backyard Circus” where children in the audience become the show. A martial arts display at 2pm will be provided by the school of Kaikihara-Aikido, run by Simon Burke-Lipiczky.

Take a trip down memory lane and visit a display of pictures and memorabilia, especially the old photos of the Marketplace collected from past and present residents in the Little Italy neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Upcoming Tour of Historic Prospect Park

This Saturday, April 28th, at 11:00 a.m., historian Marianne Briggs will conduct a tour along the western perimeter to the western overlook and across the site of the former Casino. She will give a verbal history of the lands pre-park families, the Wilsons (Uncle Sam), Heartts, Vails and Warrens as well comment on Garnet Baltimore’s design and dream for the park. Her comments on the landscapes will round out this interesting and informative stroll of the park. Enjoy the park at daffodil time!

Admission is free. Please gather at 11 AM in the second parking just right of the playground.

Prospect Park is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. For more information, read this post.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Guggenheim Museum - "Restoring a Masterpiece"

A new exhibition at New York City's Guggenheim Museum highlights recent restoration work.

Image from Guggenheim Museum web site.

From The New York Times

Face-Lift for an Aging Museum
By Haeyoun Park

Since the Guggenheim Museum opened in 1959, Frank Lloyd Wright's massive spiral facade has been showing signs of cracking, mainly from seasonal temperature fluctuations that cause the concrete walls, built without expansion joints, to contract and expand. While museum officials say the facade is structurally sound, they have spent the last year inspecting each crack to devise a repair plan. On Saturday the museum opened "Restoring a Masterpiece," an exhibition (on view through July 8) that chronicles its process. The display includes a diagram that shows each crack on the building's west side [click link to NY Times above to see graphics].

From the Guggenheim Museum's web site

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and its representative, Paratus Group, have retained an extraordinary team, including the leading experts in their fields, to plan and implement the restoration:
  • Preservation Architect: Wank Adams Slavin Associates, LLP
  • Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates, PC
  • Mechanical Engineer: Atkinson Koven Feinberg Engineers, LLP
  • Construction Manager: F.J. Sciame Construction Company
  • Architectural Conservator: Integrated Conservation Resources
  • Consultant on Thermal and Moisture Migration: William B. Rose & Associate
The restoration of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is made possible through the generous support of Peter B. Lewis, the Board of Trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and the City of New York under the auspices of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the City Council.

For more information, click the Guggenheim Museum link above.

Upcoming Events in Troy

GET INVOLVED! The weather is FINALLY warming up here in the northeast and there are all kinds of spring events in the weeks ahead:

Earth Day Clean-up, Sat. April 21

Gather at the the Market, Hill Street between Washington and Liberty Streets, 9am-noon, Saturday, 4/21/07, to participate in the 2007 Troy Little Italy Neighborhood Clean-up. We will distribute bags. Bring your own rakes, shovels, gloves and other cleaning implements. As an alternative, you may choose to clean your own block, leaving leaf and garbage bags, waste, debris, and junk on the curb for DPW pick-up later in the day. Please participate and clean-up Troy this Saturday.

There are other Earth Day clean up activities and festivities all over Troy tomorrow, with plenty of chances to get involved and meet fellow neighborhood residents. To see a complete list, read Mayor Tutunjian's weekly message and scroll down for a list of clean up sites and contact information for each site's organizer. An Earth Day Festival, with live music, food, and other vendors, will also take place at Riverfront Park from 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Neighborhood Associations to Meet Wed.,April 25

The next meeting of the newly-emerging citywide group of neighborhood associations will be held on Wednesday, April 25 from 7 – 8:30 PM at the Kaleel Jamison office at 279 River Street, 4th floor, Suite 406.

Agenda items include:
  1. Sharing among neighborhood groups about effective strategies.

  2. Discuss proposed mission statement (including goals and strategies) of "Troy Neighborhoods." See attached pdf document.

  3. Plan June event to promote Neighborhood Watches.

  4. Discuss National Night Out (Tuesday, August 7th) for possible participation. See

  5. Schedule next meetings

Little Italy Marketfest, Sat., April 28

Marketfest will be held at the Market Place, next Sat., 4/28,10AM to 5PM, offering vendors, food and entertainment. Volunteers are needed, really needed, to be stationed at booths, events, for put up and take down and be on call to assist with whatever may come up before, during and after the event. Please volunteer some of your time to make this a great success. There's still time to register as a vendor/ event. Respond to this address and we'll fill in the details.

Capital District Community Gardens, 20th Annual Spring Brunch, Sunday, May 6th

The CDCG's annual brunch will take place from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at Hudson Valley Community College's Siek Campus Center, 80 Vandenburgh Avenue, Troy. This always wonderful and fun event includes a one-of-a-kind buffet brunch featuring delicious homemade and professionally prepared foods; children's activities with students from The Emma Willard School; and a fabulous Silent Auction with goods and services for the garden, Mother's Day, and more. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door; $5 each for children under 10. Please RSVP by April 27th to CDCG, (518) 274-8685.

I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of now. Enjoy the improving weather!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Join Us in Honoring the Extended Virginia Tech Family

Photograph from Virginia Tech web site,

Although the Preservation Law, Preservation Design Studio, and Traditional Trades and Craftsmanship classes were taught last weekend, the end of the semester rush, my mother's arrival Sunday for a month long visit, and then the tragic, horrific, and terribly sad murders at my undergraduate alma mater, Virginia Tech, have prevented me from posting.

My heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Virginia Tech, their families, and the residents of Blacksburg, Virginia. It was, and I have no doubt, always will be, a great place to go to school in spite of recent events.

For those who may not have heard, Virginia Tech family members across the country have united to declare this Friday, April 20th, an "Orange and Maroon Effect" day to honor those killed in the tragic events on campus Monday, and to show support for Virginia Tech students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, and friends. " "Orange and Maroon Effect" was born several years ago as an invitation to Tech fans to wear orange and maroon to Virginia Tech athletic events.

Everyone from all over the country is invited to be a part of the Virginia Tech family this Friday, to wear orange and maroon to support the families of those who were lost, and to support the school and community we all love so much.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Troy Winter Farmers Market and Downtown Revitalization

One of the greatest delights of living in Troy is the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market (May-October) and Troy Winter Farmers Market (November-April). Although we often (reluctantly) miss it because BCon classes are held every other Saturday during most of the year, it is the place to be on a Saturday in Troy, the place to see and be seen, the place to meet your neighbors, mingle with old and new friends, and catch up on the various rumors and stories that are always flying around the city.

The market began as the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market back in the summer of 2000 at Hedley Park Place's large riverfront parking lot (433 River Street) at the north end of downtown, and has been a great and widely acclaimed success ever since. Based on the success of the summer market, the Troy Winter Farmers Market began in 2002 in the then nearly vacant Uncle Sam Atrium, which turned out to be the perfect winter venue in the heart of downtown. The 50 or so vendors set up in the main atrium space and in several hallways of the former shopping mall. Market shoppers can settle on stair landings and upper floor walkways to get a bird's eye view of the action below.

In addition to the farmers and other vendors offering seasonal produce, meat, cheeses, wine, baked goods, jams, jellies, spices, condiments, art, and knit goods there is almost always music, cooking demonstrations (and free samples!), and activities for the kids. A few of my many favorite vendors include Saratoga Garlic (offering numerous fantastic and addicting aiolis), Solomon's Rose (all kinds of creatively named, crafted and very tasty sauces and condiments), Denison Farm, Our Farm (where children of all ages love to pet a friendly rooster while waiting in line), Saratoga Apple (great apples, of course, but check out the beautiful asparagus and fruit pies in a month or so), and Mrs. London's (the place to buy a sweet indulgence). Mrs. London's (and the affiliated Rock Hill Bakery) was just featured in the March 2007 issue of Saveur.

You can read more about it in "To Market, to Market," Miriam Axel-Lute's article in Metroland (February 16-22, 2006). And the market is a great place to start a larger exploration of Troy's gorgeous Victorian architecture, antiques district, art center, waterfront, historical society, library, churches, neighborhoods, shops and restaurants.

Winter hours are 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.; summer hours, beginning in May, are 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Following the market, you can explore Troy. See the sidebar at right for links to selected shops, restaurants, bars, and arts venues.

I'm on my way there now; join me if you can!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Calvert Vaux' Hoyt House ("The Point") Named to PLNYS "Seven to Save" List

The Preservation League of New York State has named the Lydig Munson Hoyt House (also known as "The Point") to its 2007 "Seven to Save" list (in progress). For more information, you can read this excerpt about the house from architectural historian Francis R. Kowsky's book Country, Park, and City: The Architecture and Life of Calvert Vaux (photograph shown here also from this web site with excerpt). A new group, the Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance has recently been established and will actively raise funds to restore the house.

From Poughkeepsie Journal

Historic home may get fixes
Staatsburg site is on threatened resources list

By John Davis, 04/12/07

STAATSBURG - Joint efforts are under way to restore the grandeur of the historic Hoyt House at the Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park.

The Preservation League of New York has named the boarded-up and neglected structure to its 2007 "Seven to Save" list of most threatened historic resources.

The announcement was made Wednesday morning inside the gardener's cottage adjacent to the Mills Mansion at Staatsburgh and near the Hoyt House.

A five-minute walk to the house secluded in the woods and overlooking the Hudson River revealed to the dozen in attendance what more than 40 years of neglect have done to the once-magnificent Gothic Revival structure.

"Despite some stabilization work in the past, the building has suffered from vandalism and lack of maintenance and is now vulnerable to water damage," said Jay DiLorenzo, league president. "We are here to support the efforts of local advocates to find a suitable reuse for the building and to secure funding for its stabilization and restoration."

The Hoyt House and grounds were designed in 1855 by Calvert Vaux, the architect and landscape designer who co-designed Central Park in New York City along with Frederick Law Olmsted.

The house was built for Lydig Hoyt, heir to a prominent New York merchant, and his wife Geraldine.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation acquired the house and 90-acre grounds in the 1960s. Finding no use for the building, the state has provided little upkeep since.

Building has suffered

Vines cover parts of the bluestone exterior and brownstone trim. Porches have rotted away and doors and windows are boarded to keep out vandals.

"That the house itself is standing is a tribute to Calvert Vaux's engineering skills," said Gerrit Graham of Rhinebeck, great-great grandson of the Hoyts. "The place was a gem and nowadays would be a gem in the state's diadem of historic properties."

The once-spectacular view of the river from "The Point," the home's other name, is obscured by recent forest growth.

"It's amazing what 45 years of neglect can do," said Richard Marx, a Hyde Park resident who participated in Wednesday's short hike.

To get the fundraising ball rolling, Carol Ash, the acting state parks commissioner, has allocated $100,000 for Hoyt House preservation.

Organizations, including Hudson River Heritage and the newly formed Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance, have vowed to restore the luster to the tarnished historical gem.

"We have reached a pivotal point in our vision to save Calvert Vaux's Hoyt House," said Alan Strauber, preservation alliance president. "Neither one person, nor organization, can do this alone."

Enjoy Albany and Troy!

This weekend, and in upcoming weeks, there are many opportunities to explore, celebrate, promote, and support the revitalization of Albany and Troy. A few examples include:
  • Downtown Albany's Restaurant Week - Today and tomorrow are the last days of Downtown Albany's Restaurant Week (April 9-14). Twenty downtown restaurants -- fine dining, great pubs, Cajun to classic French -- are offering 3-course meals for 1 low price ($16.09 in honor of Henry Hudson of course; meals valued at $30, tax, alcohol, and gratuity not included). Participating restaurants include: Albany Mansion Inn, Albany Pump Statio, Amo La Bella, Bayou Cafe, Cafe Capriccio, The Comedy Works, Franklin's Tower, Hudson Harbor Steak & Seafood, Jack's Oyster House, Kelsey's Irish Pub, La Serre, Marche, McGeary's, Nicole's Bistro, Pagliacci Ristorante, Pearl Restaurant & Lounge, Savannah's, V&R, Victory Cafe, Webster's Corner.
  • Jackie Baldwin's Tapas Night - Voted "Best Tapas" -- Metroland '06. Sunday, April 15, 5-8 p.m. $40/person including sangria. Daisy Baker's, 32 2nd Street, Troy, 266-9200. Enjoy an exotic array of authentic Spanish tapas prepared by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's executive chef (and Pottery District neighbor and friend) Jackie Baldwin. We can attest that this will be great. This popular event began, and quickly outgrew its original venue at Carmen's Cafe in South Troy.
  • Reception to benefit St. Joseph's Church restoration at Albany Women's Club, Sunday, April 15th, 3:00 - 5:30 p.m. For more information, contact 626-0931. This is a project of the Historic Albany Foundation.
  • Albany's Dining Out for Life - Dine out and fight AIDS. When you dine out on Thursday, April 26 for breakfast, lunch or dinner numerous fine restaurants will donate 25% of your food bill to the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York. Restaurants from Albany, Clifton Park, Cohoes, Guilderland, Hudson, Latham, Plattsburgh, Saratoga Springs, and Troy are participating; Troy's participants include Flavour Cafe, River Street Cafe, and Tosca.
  • Gotta Get FUNded: A Masquerade Extravaganza - music, dancing, and delightful food; music by Annie and the Hedonists. This event will benefit the WCA's Building Restoration Fund and the Pick'n 'n Sing'n Gatherin's Performer Selection for the Gotta Get Gone Festival. For tickets and information, please call the Women's Club at 465-3626 or email womansclub [AT] hotmail [DOT] com. Reservations are encouraged. The building is not yet handicapped accessible.
  • Celebrate Albany and Restore St. Peter's Church - Historic St. Peter's Church cordially invites you to a reception and auction to benefit Lighting Restoration and Music Enhancement on Sunday, April 29, 4-8 p.m. at The State Room, The Dewitt Clinton Hotel, State and Eagle Streets, Albany. $75 per person/$125 per couple. For ticket information, call 434-3502, x. 5. There will be a cocktail buffet ("savor the taste of historic Albany menus"), live auction ("Win an exclusive tour of an Albany cultural treasure. Experience the Dudley Observatory, Washington Park gardens, Olana and other gems from the inside out--attic to cellar"), and silent auction ("Take home the sounds and tastes of Albany as well as antiques and ephemera of Albany's past and present").
  • Historic Albany Foundation's Walkabout Wednesdays. Want to learn more about the buildings and people of Albany's historic neighborhoods? The join Historic Albany Foundation as local historian and tour guide extraordinaire Tony Opalka takes you back in time. Each tour begins with a brief lecture and slide show. April 18th - "The Pastures" Tour; May 22nd - South End Tour; June 20th and July 18th TBA tours; August 15th - Ten Broeck Triangle tour; Fee is $5 for HAF members, $10 for non-members. Space is limited. To make reservations, please call HAF at 465-0876, x. 10 or email climniatis [AT] historic-albany [DOT] org.
Check Metroland's advertisements for more ideas, and don't blame us if you're bored!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Historic Preservation Shopping - Architectural Salvage in New England and New York

If you, like many preservationists, harbor a secret enjoyment of shopping and are rehabilitating -- or are interested in someday rehabilitating -- an older or historic building, surf on over to New York City's real estate blog, Brownstoner (Brooklyn inside and out), which recently posted "Reno[vation] Bloggers Take New England Salvage Road Trip."

This entry points readers to Architectural Salvage Romp in New England, their well-illustrated review of eight salvage (and related) shops in New England, including:
  • Decorum (Portland, ME) - whole house specialty hardware, "specializing in unique upscale kitchen, bath, door and cabinet hardware, accessories and curiosities."
  • Nostalgia Lighting (Portland, ME) - "Period, custom-made interior lighting" for the "Home, Cottage, Lodge, Timber Frame and Cabin - Fixtures Individually Made and Handcrafted."
  • Old House Parts Company (Kennebunk, ME) - "Architectural Salvage from 1730 to 1930 - You have the dream, we have the parts."
  • Victorian Lighting (Kennebunk, ME) - Couldn't load their web address.
  • Vermont Salvage (White River Junction and Manchester, VT) - "New England's premier company for architectural salvage."
  • Nor'east Architectural Antiques (South Hampton, NH) - Nor'East Architectural Antiques recently filmed a pilot for a new series about architectural salvage with the History Channel.
I can't wait to check these out. If, however, you are in New York State, or wish to find architectural salvage businesses in New York, good starting places include Historic Albany Foundation's Architectural Parts Warehouse, and Historic Ithaca's Significant Elements - nonprofit architectural salvage programs. Proceeds from sales at both places support the parent historic preservation organizations.

Located at 89 Lexington Avenue in Albany (one block north of Central Avenue), the not-for-profit Architectural Parts Warehouse (photograph above from Historic Albany's web site) carries doors and windows, decorative iron work and stained glass, lighting fixtures, clawfoot and other tubs, plumbing accessories, sinks and toilets, mantels and fireplaces, radiators and heating, spindles, stair rails, newel posts, moldings, woodwork, flooring, and hardware. It's a great place to spend a few hours, support Historic Albany Foundation, and volunteer.

The February 22, 2007 edition of the New York Times also featured an article about architectural salvage shops in New York: Top of the Heap: A Business Built on Salvage.

As always, if you know of other places we may be interested in, please let us know in a comment. And thanks for reading. I will add links to other salvage places to this post if I hear of more.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Preservation in the News

I've been working on several "meatier" posts, but am in a hurry today and wanted to post these interesting recent preservation articles from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun, Boston Globe, and Newsday before I lose track of them.
  • Preservation becoming an illusion (David Bahlman and Royce Yeater, Chicago Sun Times, 04/07/07), which describes the Commission on Chicago Landmarks' recent approval "...of a developer's plan to dismantle the 11-story Farwell Building on North Michigan Avenue, in order to erect a new structure that would house retail and office space along with a parking garage to serve a new 40-story condominium tower." Bahlman is president of Landmarks Illinois; Yeater is Midwest regional director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  • Urban puzzle (Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, Boston Globe, 03/31/07), a review of three recently published books about gentrification: There Goes the Neighborhood, by William Julius Wilson and Richard P. Taub; There Goes the 'Hood, by Lance Freeman; and Black on the Block, by Mary Patillo. Mr. Venkatesh, a professor of sociology and African-American Studies at Columbia University is the author of Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Historic Preservation Employment

Many thanks to Elisabeth Bakker Johnson (BCon '02) for forwarding the following job announcements from The Louis Berger Group, Inc. and Mount Ida Press (both positions will be in Albany, New York):

Cultural Resource Division, The Louis Berger Group (Experienced Architectural Historian)

The Cultural Resource Division of The Louis Berger Group, Inc., (Berger), solicits applications for the position of Architectural Historian in our office in Albany, New York. This office primarily serves upstate New York and New England.

For this position, we seek a highly motivated and experienced individual to pursue quality historical architectural research in a cultural resource management context. Responsibilities will include historical research, architectural resource field survey, NRHP evaluations, effects assessments pursuant to 36 CFR 800, HABS/HAER-level documentation, and report writing. The position requires extensive travel for project assignments.

M.A. in Architectural History, History, or Historic Preservation plus excellent research and writing skills are required. Candidates must have at least three years professional experience in field survey and National Register evaluation of architectural resources in New England, preferably in the context of Section 106 compliance. Experience in interpretation and evaluation of engineering/industrial and military resources is desirable.

A preferred candidate will have working familiarity with Federal laws, regulations, standards, and guidelines governing cultural resources. Ability to communicate directly with a variety of clients in the public and private sector is a necessity as is the ability to work both on own initiative and as part of a team with other cultural resource professionals in the company. Applicants must have demonstrated ability to meet budget and schedule requirements. Prior experience with proposal writing and client interaction strongly desired.

We offer a competitive salary, negotiable based on experience. Full benefits package includes vacation, sick leave, holidays, medical/dental (free to employee), life/disability insurance, and 401K. This is a full-time, salaried position in one of the company’s primary offices, not a project appointment. The successful applicant must be willing to relocate to Albany and will be expected to travel for project assignments. Telecommuter options are not available for this position.

Submit résumé with references, a letter of interest, and a writing sample to:

Hope E. Luhman, Ph.D.
The Louis Berger Group, Inc.
20 Corporate Woods Blvd.
Albany, New York 12211

Mount Ida Press (Historical Research Associate)

Mount Ida Press is seeking an historical research associate to conduct documentary research and prepare written reports on landmark buildings and to assist with publications on architecture and history. Our award-winning projects include books and a quarterly magazine on historic preservation. Founded in 1985, we are a small, fast-paced company located in Albany, New York.

Excellent historical research skills (both in libraries and on the Internet) and outstanding writing skills are required. Most research projects will deal with the construction of nationally significant historic buildings and the people associated with them. Experience using original source materials, such as manuscript collections, is highly desirable. Experience preparing historic-structure reports, familiarity with historic-preservation principles and policies, and an interest in regional history are preferred. A love of books would be a plus. The ability to travel to libraries and archives in the Northeast is preferred.

Candidates must be able to develop project schedules, manage multiple priorities and projects, and meet deadlines. Candidates must be detail oriented and have strong organizational, word-processing, and communication skills. The ability to work well with staff at other organizations and with consultants is important.

Other duties will include assisting with copyediting and proofreading of Mount Ida Press publications, preparing correspondence, maintaining research files and databases, and assisting with marketing. The person in this position will also coordinate advertising and peer reviews for the quarterly magazine.

An academic background in history, architectural or art history, American studies, historic preservation, or English is strongly preferred. A bachelor’s degree and professional work experience are required; a master’s degree would be an asset. We offer an attractive benefits package. Salary level will be based upon skills and experience.

Please mail or email your resume and a cover letter explaining why you are right for the job; please also send a short research paper that demonstrates your research and writing skills (please do not send any illustrations by email). Send to Diana S. Waite, President, Mount Ida Press, 152 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12210, or to

Get Involved: Earth Day Activities and Troy Night Out

In his weekly address of April 5th, Mayor Tutunjian reports that last Friday's Troy Night Out was a great success, with more than 1,000 people attending (up from the estimated 300-400 in February's chilly debut event).

It was indeed a fun event. My little group of friends visited the Rensselaer County Historical Society's exhibition of portraits; Daisy Bakers, where we loaded up on Enjoy Troy T-shirts and tote bags; Martinez Gallery where we enjoyed art and antiques, and heard about the efforts of the fledgling Troy Cinema & Visual Arts Group; Market Block Books; and Kismet Gallery. We finally ended up having a fantastic dinner at Anselmos, which, though located at the north end of the Pottery District and Little Italy, we had never tried.

As the weather improves and word spreads about this monthly event, it will likely become increasingly popular. The next Troy Night Out will be April 27; mark your calendars now. If you are interested in actively participating, visit the Troy Night Out web site for a Venue Participation form. You can display art, decorate windows in a vacant storefront, dance, perform music, etc.

Also mark your calendars and plan to join your neighbors for the great Earth Day Cleanup. To get involved, visit the City's web site for a list of already planned projects or to spread the word about additional projects (also see Mayor Tutunjian's April 5th weekly message). The City will provide bags and refreshments. Residents provide equipment such as rakes and shovels, as well as labor. The Alamo in South Troy will be open for bulk refuse acceptance. This is usally a fun event, and if you are new to the city, it's a great way to get to know your neighbors.

Downtown Revitalization: Troy (continued)

This morning's Times Union has a short piece about developer First Columbia's plans to build a parking garage in the existing parking lot across from the Hedley Building on River Street. The article also indicates that Mayor Harry Tutunjian and Kevin Bette of First Columbia recently addressed approximately 100 members of Commercial and Industrial Real Estate Brokers, Inc., a trade group. I will continue to post articles about redevelopment plans in Troy and have already posted several; if you are interested in this subject, scroll down or search the site.

From Times Union

Parking garage planned for Troy
Proposed River Street project will open up a key section for development

By Kenneth C. Crowe III, Friday, 04/06/07

TROY -- A 1,000-space, six-story parking garage is slated to be built later this year on River Street across from the Hedley Building, its developer said.

The garage will provide parking needed to construct a first-class hotel on the north side of The Hedley Building at 433 River St., said Kevin Bette of First Columbia of Latham.

Financing is being arranged to pay for construction of the parking structure, which would have entrances off River Street and from a road off Hutton Street. No cost estimate was given.

The hotel and garage are parts of the Hedley District, which envisions rejuvenation of a 25-block area in North Central Troy. Bette said 1,000 housing units, including space for housing aimed at graduate students, is included in the mixed-use development for the area.

Building the garage will open up land for development along the Hudson River, Bette said. Offices, the hotel and other development will replace 26 surface parking lots in the area.

Bette and Mayor Harry Tutunjian spoke to 100 members of the Commercial and Industrial Real Estate Brokers, Inc., a trade group, Thursday morning at the Hedley Building about development plans in the city.

"This is the type of development we want to attract to Troy," Tutunjian said.

Building owners are working with the city to develop apartments above storefronts downtown, something some other cities lack, the mayor said.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Green Building, Energy Efficiency and Historic Preservation

New York City's Landmark West! will offer a seminar on Green Building, Energy Efficiency and Historic Preservation on April 25, 2007. The day-long seminar will explore the inherent environmental sustainability of historic buildings. Subtopics will include improving energy and building efficiency, how to incorporate green building philosophy into apartment renovations and recognizing what design elements can be restored and when replacement is necessary.

Another day-long seminar, the Evolution of Interior and Exterior Residential Building Design-Architectural Styles and Historic Preservation will be offered on May 9, 2007. Participants will be able to identify architectural styles and learn how to date buildings through analysis of specific building interior and exterior design elements and materials. Speakers will also address the evolution of apartment living, including interior plans and how interior and exterior design elements relate to one another.

Each of these one-day seminars will enable the participant to obtain 7½ hours of continuing education credits to meet the New York State requirement of 22½ hours. (Approval pending for May 9th lecture).

To register, please call (212) 496-1714 to charge your credit card or send a check for $75 to:

45 West 67th Street
New York, NY10023

Location information for the seminars will be available upon registration.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Orson Squire Fowler and Octagonal Houses

Google Alerts recently included a link to Laura Clementsen's neat article, "Octagon But Not Forgotten: The State's Eight-Sided Antiques" in the Sunday, March 18, 2007 edition of the Hartford Courant about Orson Squire Fowler's octagonal houses in Connecticut. In the article, Clementsen describes how, after reading another article about Fowler's octagonal houses in 1997, she decided to celebrate her birthday by touring around Connecticut to visit and photograph the 18 Fowler houses reportedly in that state. They found 15 of 18, and many are briefly described in Clementsen's article.

Among other accomplishments, Orson Squire Fowler (1809-1887) published "The Octagon House: A Home for All" in 1849 and was the country's "leading authority on phrenology, the supposed science of defining an individual's characteristics by the shape and contours of the head." As Clementsen notes, Fowler believed octagonal houses created more living area, were less expensive to build, had better circulation for heating and cooling, and received more natural light.

I first ran across Fowler and his houses when working on my master's thesis on Thomas Jefferson's octagonal historic house and retreat, Poplar Forest (in Bedford County, Virginia, not far from Lynchburg) many years ago and have always been fascinated by them.

However, I had, for the most part, forgotten Fowler. This article revived my interest and inevitably led to an impromtu Google search, more information and some great sources of information about octagonal and other unusually shaped buildings:

Monday, April 02, 2007

National Trust for Historic Preservation - 2007 Diversity Scholarship Program

Here’s your chance to attend the National Preservation Conference

Who should apply: Applicants (Students or Community Activists) should be from diverse social, economic, racial, ethnic or cultural backgrounds. It is the mission of the National Trust to increase its diversity outreach and to create an inclusive and diverse preservation-minded environment at the conference.

Financial Incentives: In addition to receiving substantial financial assistance on your lodging, travel, and conference registration cost, Diversity Scholars attending the conference for the first time will be paired with a mentor and have the opportunity to attend facilitated events.

Dates: This year's conference will take place October 2 - 6, 2007 in Saint Paul, MN. Please note the postmark deadline for submitting applications is June 1, 2007.

Who will be attending: Participants will include community and neighborhood leaders, public officials, affordable housing practitioners, architects, planners, historic site managers, developers, downtown revitalization specialists and other grassroots advocates.

Please contact Brent Leggs at 617-523-0885 x34 or via email at for additional information. Please feel free to spread the word through your own networks!