Historic Albany Issues Albany Endangerd List

Every five years, the Historic Albany Foundation issues a new Endangered Historic Resource list with an update on past lists. The goal of the Endangered Historic Resource list is to draw attention to well-known buildings, properties, and landmarks that are in need of stabilization, rehabilitation or restoration in the City of Albany.

What follows is this year’s list:

800-812 BROADWAY ? c. 1854, 1858, 1872, 1876-77
A part of the Broadway-Livingston Historic District, these buildings were once a part of a busy mixed-use corridor on the north end of the city. With the construction of the railroad bridge in the early 20th century, these buildings have
been forgotten and suffer from long deferred maintenance. They now sit mostly vacant with little prospect of rehabilitation. *Eligible for Federal and New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits

ARGUS PRESS, 1031 BROADWAY ? 1913-17
This building was constructed on speculation by the Albany Commercial Company, a group of businessmen who hoped to attract more industry to Broadway. The building was home to Argus Litho, successors to the company that began publishing the Albany Argus newspaper in 1813. The massive industrial building has sat vacant for years and has no known plan for rehabilitation.

10 HALL PLACE ? 1860
In 1860, W. H. Carr constructed a three story brick house on the site of 10 Hall Place, but never lived there. Albany stonecutters, Brooksbee and Roland (Brooksby and
Rowland) purchased the house in 1862 to sell it to lumber dealer J. W. Dunham in 1863. During the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Hall Place was nearly entirely vacant. Number 10 is the last remaining vacant building. Though the building has been stabilized, it still requires considerable work to become habitable once more. *Eligible for Federal and New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits

100-112 HOLLAND AVENUE ? 1937-38
The houses were designed and built by Jesse Leonard and the Leonard Realty Company from 1937-1938 and are an exemplary example of Tudor style architecture. Throughout his career, Leonard constructed over 200 homes in Albany. Originally single family homes, the buildings have only been vacant for two years, these unique buildings are in need of repairs to be habitable once again and will continue to deteriorate without residents.

558 MADISON AVENUE ? c. 1880
Originally built to be a grocery store, this mixed-use building sits vacant on a busy corner across from Washington Park and just down the street from Albany Medical Center. Though its condition is stable, it is one of few vacant buildings across from the Park. Continued vacancy will only increase the deterioration and will have a negative impact on development around it. Madison Avenue runs the risk of losing a widely visible corner structure. *Eligible for Federal and New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits

In August 2005, a fire blazed through 4 and 5 Madison Place, leaving 5 damaged and 4 a facade. Since that time, number 4 remains a challenge with no way to access the rear of the property for construction save through its Elm Street neighbor’s yards. To lose a piece of this nationally recognized row would be tragic. Just one block long, Madison Place is a spectacular example of Gothic Revival rowhouses. Number 4 is no exception. The facade is elegantly simple when compared to the intensity of its Gothic Revival neighbors up the block.

Bath House No. 2 represents the only remaining bath house in the City of Albany. Public bath houses were built as a response to the demands of the population and
hygiene practices of the time. Bath House No. 2 is owned and operated by the City of Albany. In the past week, the decision was made to close the Bath House for budgetary purposes. The building already has a long list of repairs needed that if left unattended will contribute to deterioration and a less likely chance of rehabilitation. *Eligible for Federal and New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits!

KENWOOD, 799 SOUTH PEARL STREET ? 1842-45, 1871
The buildings that make up Kenwood are currently vacant. The entire estate is threatened by the possibility of vacancy, inappropriate development, and demolition. Vacancy is a hazard to buildings as they immediately begin to deteriorate. The estate was initially constructed as the summer home, but was converted, in 1859, into the Female Academy and Convent of the Sacred Heart The buildings remaining today incorporate each period of the estate’s history.

It was built as an eight room school house for the West Hill neighborhood. School 22 has been vacant for decades and continues to deteriorate every year. Though the building has been sold multiple times to be rehabilitated for a variety of uses, any action, including mothballing has yet to happen. The interior is in very poor condition and will continue to deteriorate unless properly mothballed. Without timely attention, the once beautiful structure will be lost.

PHERSON TERRACE ? 1887-88, 1891
Constructed in two stages, this row of 16 buildings is highly stylized and decoratively designed with alternating details of pressed brick, stone trim, gables,
oriel windows and dormers. The block was most likely named for John McPherson, a gardener, who had previously owned the property. While some are lived in and maintained, the row as a whole has suffered from severe disinvestment and neglect. *Eligible for Federal and New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits!

For more information about each endangered historic resource including past lists, please see the Historic Albany website.

New Reference Book: Architects in Albany

Every once in a while a book shows up that I know will have a permanent place on my desk-side bookshelf. Architects in Albany, a new book by the Historic Albany Foundation and Mount Ida Press, is a collection of profiles and images of the work of 36 designers and their firms that played a major part in forming Albany’s architectural heritage.

Edited by Diana S. Waite, the president of Mount Ida Press, this new volume was five years in the making and expands on a booklet the Historic Albany Foundation published in 1978, soon after Albany’s leading historic preservation organization was founded.

Architects in Albany if heavily indexed and includes the work of popularly known local architects like Philip Hooker, Marcus Reynolds, and also the work of builders with a national reputation that worked in Albany like Robert Gibson (Cathedral of All Saints) and Patirck C. Keely (Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception). Albany is unique in that the work of architects brought in by the state is also present in large numbers, and Architects in Albany includes profiles of them as well. Men like Thomas Fuller, H. H. Richardson, and Leopold Eidlitz (State Capitol), are featured along side more recent builders like Edward Durell Stone (SUNY Albany Campus), and Wallace K. Harrison (Empire State Plaza).

The real gems here are the original research, much of it contributed by Cornelia Brooke Gilder, on the lesser known Albany architects. Ernest Hoffman’s late 19th century contributions (15 of them) are documented here. Albert W. Fuller, one of Albany’s more prolific architects, who built Albany Hospital (the original buildings of the Albany Medical Center) and the Harmanus Bleecker Library, but also banks, clubs, apartment houses, a YMCA, several schools, the Dudley Observatory, the Fourth Precinct Police Station, and a number of residences. The book is heavily illustrated.