Sites Reflect Varied Histories, Including Early Automobile Industry in Buffalo and Syracuse, Sole Remaining Textile Mill in Lansingburgh, Three Different Public Housing Complexes, and Mohawk Valley Cemetery Where Pledge of Allegiance Author is Buried
New York Leads Nation in Federal, State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits for Register Properties
Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the state Board for Historic Preservation has recommended adding 21 properties to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, including former facilities involved in early automobile manufacturing and sales in Buffalo and Syracuse, a cemetery in the Mohawk Valley that includes the author of the Pledge of Allegiance, and the only remaining 19th-century textile mill in the Lansingburgh neighborhood of Troy, once known as the “Collar City.”
“As we reflect on the broad and diverse history of the Empire State, these nominations represent the places behind the inspiring stories from our past,” Governor Hochul said. “These additions to the historic registers will help ensure resources are available to protect historic sites so that the past can continue to inspire us today — and into the future.”
State and National Registers listing can assist owners in revitalizing properties, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.
Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid said, “Part of our mission here at State Parks is to help preserve and promote the incredible range of history present in our state. Securing State and National Registers recognition for such places provides resources with potential incentives, such as state and federal tax credits, that will help keep this history alive and vibrant.”
Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation at State Parks Daniel Mackay said, “These latest nominations continue the Division for Historic Preservation’s commitment to supporting historic resources that can benefit from investment driven by state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. The impact of this work was just made clear in a report by the National Park Service that shows New York State is leading the nation in the use of such credits.”
The National Park Service reported that between 2017 and 2021, 466 commercial projects in New York that qualified for tax credits represented nearly $3.8 billion in private investment. That is $1 billion more than the next closest state, Ohio. Last year, 152 commercial projects in New York State qualified for tax credits based on more than $505 million in private investment, outpacing all other states in the nation.
Of the current nominations, 14 represent commercial tax credit projects and one represents a residential tax credit project.
Over the last decade, the state has approved use of rehabilitation commercial tax credits for more than 1,000 historic properties, driving more than $12 billion in private investment. More information is available here.
A study by the National Park Service on the impact of the tax credit on jobs and tax revenue in New York State found that between 2015 and 2019, the credits generated 67,578 jobs nationally and more than $195 million in local, state, and federal taxes.
The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects, and sites significant in the history, architecture, archaeology, and culture of New York State and the nation. There are more than 120,000 historic properties 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 recommendations are approved by the Commissioner, who serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer, the properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register.
The State Board for Historic Preservation also reviewed a report prepared by the Vermont State Historic Preservation Office and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, Vermont, detailing the maritime heritage of the Champlain Canal system, including underwater shipwrecks of canal-era vessels in Lake Champlain. So far, 63 canal boat wrecks have been identified in the lake. The report will be used to determine potential Historic Register eligibility for these shipwrecks in the future.
The Champlain Canal, which fully opened in 1823 to connect commerce along the lake to the Hudson River and southern markets in New York City, was enlarged in 1862, in 1872, and finally again in 1916 as part of the New York State Barge Canal.
More information, with photos of the nominations, is available on the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website.
Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company, Albany County – Located in the city of Albany’s Warehouse District, this facility was once one of the world’s largest makers of toilet paper and paper towels, making more than 30,000 miles a day of such products in the mid-1920s. The plant was developed by Columbia County native Seth Wheeler, who is credited with inventing modern rolled, perforated toilet paper, for which he obtained a federal patent in 1871. Constructed in stages between 1918 and 1922, the mill closed in 1964 and was vacant for some two decades before being redeveloped for its current use as a retail furniture and home goods outlet.
Lion Factory, Rensselaer County – The manufacturing plant opened in Lansingburgh in 1884 to make detachable shirt collars and cuffs; it was one of numerous local factories engaged in that enterprise, which helped give the adjoining city of Troy its nickname, the “Collar City.” Lansingburgh was later incorporated into Troy. Company owner James K. P. Pine was one of the city’s leading citizens and was president of the People’s Bank of Lansingburgh, founder of the Troy Record newspaper, and a co-founder of Samaritan Hospital. Operated by the Standard Manufacturing Company since 1970, this enormous, 246,000 square-foot building is the sole such factory in the city that has continuously remained in use as a textile manufacturer.
Steamboat Square Historic District, Albany County – Located in the city of Albany’s South End Neighborhood, the area includes 49 buildings spread across 10 acres that were developed as a city public housing project between 1959 and 1983. The buildings embody local and national themes of urban demographic change, neighborhood decline and urban renewal, segregation, tenant organization, collective bargaining and changing conceptions of the design and role of public housing. The complex is exceptionally significant in Civil Rights history because tenant activism over deteriorating conditions in the original towers led the city to redesign the buildings and add surrounding townhomes in the 1980s. The retooling garnered the complex a national award for rehabilitation of existing public housing stock.
Downtown Albany Historic District Boundary Expansion, Albany County – The district reflects three centuries of growth in the city of Albany and is the city’s current financial and political heart. This area was first listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1980. This listing is being amended to include buildings, primarily in the Art Deco and Modern styles, that were constructed after 1928 through the early 1970s, as well as to include a small expansion of the district.
Wedgeway Building, Schenectady County – This office and retail building first opened in 1885 in the heart of the commercial downtown of the city of Schenectady. Reflecting the city’s economic boom related to the General Electric Co., the building was expanded in 1912 and 1922 and was the city’s largest office building. It is currently vacant, with its last tenant departing in 2021.
H.A. Moyer Factory Complex, Onondaga County – Currently vacant, these four industrial buildings in Syracuse were constructed between 1881 and 1909 by the H.A. Moyer Co., a maker of luxury carriages and, later, automobiles from 1908 until 1914, when increasing assembly line production by competitors made the company unprofitable. During production, the company’s automobiles were sold nationwide among a luxury clientele. Moyer continued to produce an innovative hybrid car-motorcycle, called the Ner-A-Car, until 1925. The plant was later used for producing machine equipment and power tools.
Avon Village Historic District, Livingston County – The heart of this village reflects the early settlement of the Genesee Valley region from the early 19th to mid-20th centuries and resulting local growth related to agriculture, industry, and recreation. Including more than 370 residential, civic, and commercial buildings, the district includes five buildings already on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, including an opera house, an inn, a Methodist Church, a library, and a residence.
Reformed Dutch Church of Mamakating, Sullivan County – Constructed in 1848, this church in the village of Wurtsboro is an example of the Greek Revival architectural style and features a 1854 pump organ and stained-glass windows.
Woodstock Artists Association, Ulster County – Designed in the Colonial Revival style, this artists gallery opened in the village of Woodstock in 1921 to support a growing and diverse artists’ colony. The gallery has been an integral part of the art colony’s continued history by providing exhibition opportunities for 100 years.
Rome Cemetery, Oneida County – This rural cemetery designed by Howard Daniels opened in 1853 to serve the city of Rome. The property features the Gothic Revival Kingsley Chapel, along with neoclassical mausoleums representing many prominent local families. The cemetery includes a monument to Francis Bellamy, a Rome resident and Baptist minister who authored the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892. Bellamy died in 1931 and is interred here.
New York City
Kent Manor, Queens – Built in 1937, this garden apartment complex in the Kew Gardens was designed by Jewish architect Benjamin Braunstein. The Georgian Revival buildings maximized light, air, and open space while creating a variety of apartment types suited to middle-class renters. The families living in Kent Manor were a mix of native New Yorkers, Jewish refugees from Europe, and newcomers to New York of different races and backgrounds. Renamed Hampton Court in 1987, the apartment complex remains in use as a co-op and continues to serve a diverse mix of residents.
Hunts Point Rail Station, Bronx – Built between 1908 and 1909 and designed by Cass Gilbert, this now-vacant rail station was part of the newly expanded Harlem River Branch line of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company and represents the expansion of New York City’s transportation during the early 20th century. Despite the loss of the lower portion of its façade, the building retains much of its French Renaissance design and integrity to convey its function and significance as an important rail station. After the railroad sustained financial failure in 1937 and passenger service there ended, the station was used for retail stores for several decades.
Boulevard Houses, Brooklyn – This 26-acre development by the New York City Housing Authority reflects the city’s efforts to provide affordable housing after World War II, when thousands of discharged servicemen a week were returning to the city, causing a sudden and severe housing shortage. Boulevard Houses reflects architecture and planning ideals of European modernists but on a more modest scale. Built between 1949 and 1950, the complex features 18 residential buildings containing some 1,400 units and located on two superblocks divided by a central landscaped mall.
Fiorentino Plaza, Brooklyn – This 160-unit public housing project is composed of eight four-story buildings that opened in 1971. Built for the New York City Housing Authority under the Model Cities program, the complex represents the “vest pocket” design approach, which called for downsizing projects to match the character of surrounding low-rise residential areas. This design was in response to criticism that earlier high-rise superblock housing projects caused excessive neighborhood displacement and concentration of potential social problems.
Paddy’s Market Historic District, Manhattan – Located in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, this district includes dozens of historic tenement buildings, as well as commercial and industrial buildings, a church and former stable. Most buildings were constructed during the second half of the 19th century, as New York City’s immigrant population boomed. Between 1885 and 1939, the area was the location of a large, open-air market called Paddy’s Market, which featured food products from dozens of different nationalities. After the market closed, many similar vendors opened in first-floor storefront locations. The name Paddy’s Market is still used to describe the current stretch of international food stores and restaurants.
Erwin Town Hall, Steuben County – Built in 1921, the building housed both the town and village of Painted Post governments until 1953, when the village opened its own offices. The building was designed by the regionally significant architectural firm of Pierce and Bickford and is an example of the Colonial Revival style, as well as Pierce and Bickford’s efforts at fireproof construction. Currently vacant, the three-story building served as a combination firehouse, courthouse, jail, and town meeting hall.
Western New York
Charles Berrick’s Sons Florida Street Houses, Erie County – Built between 1901-1902, these seven masonry residential “Buffalo double” flats were developed in the city of Buffalo’s Cold Springs neighborhood as rental properties by a prolific local masonry company. The development represents the growth of the city as streetcar lines were extended. This group of houses is distinct for their varied, yet harmonious, brick and stone construction, which is distinctive among numerous wood-framed buildings. Recently used as college housing, the properties are currently being rehabilitated.
Visco Meter Factory/Buerk Tool Factory, Erie County – Built in 1921, this two-story brick factory in the city of Buffalo’s Black Rock neighborhood was headquarters of the Visco Meter Corporation, which made automobile accessories, including a meter which measured oil viscosity and pressure. Buerk Tool Company later shared the building to make precision machine parts. Buerk closed in 2020 and sold the building, which is now being redeveloped into residential units.
Levi J. & Frances A. Pierce House, Chautauqua County – This Second Empire-style residence, built around 1871 in the hamlet of Forestville, is the sole example of the style in the community and retains nearly all its original exterior and interior features and finishes. The property also has its original hitching posts and carriage house.
Monroe Motor Car Company and Main Garage Company Building, Erie County – This auto showroom and garage opened in Buffalo in 1920, reflecting the city’s involvement in the early automobile industry. Opening as a dealership for cars made in the Midwest and later converted into a Ford dealership, the building was located on what came to be known as the city’s “Automobile Row,” with dealerships representing every major car company in America. Automobile Row had largely disappeared by the end of World War II, and this building was later remodeled into a record sales building in the late 1960s. Located next door, the Main Garage Company Building was owned and operated as a car repair shop by the Brundo family, who also lived upstairs, between the 1930s and the 1990s. Together, these two properties help to tell the story of the early automobile industry in Buffalo.
St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church Complex, Erie County – Located in the village of Kenmore, the complex includes a church built in 1954, as well as a school built in 1925, a rectory and a garage. Originally established in 1897 as one of the first parishes in the Buffalo suburb of Kenmore, St. Paul’s reflects patterns of suburban church expansion in Buffalo and other American cities during the 1950s and 1960s.
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails, and boat launches, which were visited by a record 78 million people in 2020. A recent university study found that spending by State Parks and its visitors supports $5 billion in output and sales, 54,000 private-sector jobs and more than $2.8 billion in additional state GDP. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit parks.ny.gov, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.