Preservation in Progress

Outer Harbor

As part of the Our Outer Harbor Coalition, PBN joined fellow Coalition members in hosting a public meeting on October 29th. The standing room only crowd heard from PBN as well as representatives from the Western New York Environmental Alliance, Niagara Greenway Commission, Partnership for the Public Good, and 21st Century Park with updates on Outer Harbor development in preparation for the upcoming Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) public meeting which is scheduled for November 19th. The Our Outer Harbor Coalition also released the newly completed cultural landscape report “The Buffalo New York Outer Harbor as a Cultural Landscape.” Completed by kta preservation specialists, this extensive report details and creates an overview of how the Buffalo Outer Harbor region has been developed and used by people, including industry, commerce, recreation, and shoreline modification. A copy of the full cultural landscape report is available on PBN’s website.

The Fruit Belt

Since securing landmark status for 238 Carlton Street in April 2018, PBN has been working with Fruit Belt residents and community groups to find the next and best use for this significant yet vacant structure, specifically as the permanent location for the African Heritage Food Co-Op (AHFC). AHFC has made numerous offers to purchase the building but have been rebuffed by current owner, Borderland Advantage LLC. Built c1876 as a neighborhood grocery store, PBN is continuing to work with community partners including the AHFC, Fruit Belt Advisory Council, Community First Alliance, and Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens to support the rehabilitation and reuse of this long vacant building.  

The Fruit Belt Cultural Resource Survey is in the final stages of completion by project consultant Preservation Studios. Once completed, the first-ever full-scale survey of this historic neighborhood will also provide recommendations for future preservation efforts. In preparation for the completion of the survey, PBN and Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Housing Task Force has been awarded a Spark Grant by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. The Spark Grant will help us produce a brochure to not only highlight the information discovered during the survey but also to encourage continued neighborhood conversations about future steps to celebrate and preserve the Fruit Belt.

Broadway-Fillmore Historic District

After over two years of community organizing and outreach alongside the Historic East Side Neighborhood Imitative (HESNI), the Broadway-Fillmore Historic District was designated a local historic district on May 29, 2018, making it the first neighborhood historic district since the Hamlin Park Historic District was designated in 1998. This local level designation will provide the residents extra protection from demolitions and development pressures. But the celebrations don’t stop there. We are very proud to announce that the Secretary of the Interior has certified the district! This means that property owners will now be eligible to access historic tax credits on eligible rehabilitation expenses.

Linwood Historic District

The Secretary of the Interior has been active certifying Buffalo historic district recently. In addition to the Broadway-Fillmore Historic District and the expansion of the 500 Block of Main Street Historic District, the Linwood Preservation District expansion was also certified.  Previously, only the original boundaries of the Linwood district were certified but this re-certification now includes the 2014 expanded boundaries. Certification of a local historic district means that the district successfully meets all the requirements of listing in the National Register Historic Places and while not actually listed on the National Register, properties within the district can be eligible for historic tax credits. PBN will be working with the Linwood Preservation District & Friends to schedule a tax credit workshop in the coming months. 

Erie County Outreach

PBN was privileged bring our “Landmarks 101” program to Cheektowaga on DATE and East Aurora on DATE. Providing an introduction to the basics of historic preservation, “Landmarks 101” includes information on the different types of designations possible, available financial resources, and the beneficial impact preservation can have within communities. Cheektowaga Historic Society invited PBN as a part of their continued outreach towards the adoption of a preservation ordinance, and the East Aurora Historic Preservation Commission hosted the program as a part of their continued outreach and education efforts.

University District Survey

The University District Community Development Association, Inc. (UDCDA) and consultant kta preservation specialists, are is in the final stages of completing a reconnaissance-level survey in University District. The survey, supported by a 2017 Preserve New York grant, is focusing on the Summit Park, Kensington Heights, and Kensington Park neighborhoods. Once completed, the survey will not only provide information about these historic neighborhoods which originally developed between 1900 and 1940, but also recommendations for potential nominations to the National Register of Historic Places.

Richardson Olmsted Campus

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the nation’s preeminent preservation organization, announced that the Richardson Olmsted Campus has won their prestigious award. The Buffalo landmark shares the 2018 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Award with two other adaptive reuse projects, in Memphis and Oklahoma City. The National Trust awarded these three projects from over 50 nominated projects with a jury lead by Paul Goldberger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic. Congratulations to our friends over at the Richardson Olmsted Campus for their well-deserved award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation!

Elmwood Village

PBN has partnered with the Elmwood Village Association to bring in the National Main Street Center (NMSC) through its UrbanMain program to conduct a market analysis and commercial district planning process. Once completed the plan will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the commercial assets within what is NYS’s largest National Register Historic District and build a framework for moving forward. The funding for this project is being provided by PBN and the generous support of Assembly member Sean Ryan and Buffalo Common Council member David Rivera. On DATE we hosted our first community-wide meeting. NMSC consultants will continue to collect and analyze market data, survey community members, and meet with stakeholder through the fall and winter, with final recommendations expected in January 2019.

North Tonawanda’s Sweeney Estate Historic District

Supported by grants from the Preservation League of New York State and the NY State Historic Preservation Office, the North Tonawanda Historic Preservation Commission is moving forward with survey work for the National Register nomination of the Sweeney Estate Historic District. Sometimes referred to as the “Lumber Baron” neighborhood, the survey area is centered around Goundry, Tremont, and Christiana Streets. Project consultant kta preservation specialists will begin surveying the over 400 included properties in November 2018 and anticipates the completion of the Sweeney Estate Historic District nomination in spring 2019. Once listed on the National Register of Historic Places, properties within the historic district will be able to access state and federal historic tax credits.

Meet A Docent: Katie

How long have you been a docent with PBN?

I took the 2009 docent training and have been doing tours ever since.

What tours do you do?

I give the Queen City Downtown, City Hall, Guaranty and E B Green Tour de Force bike tours.

What’s your favorite part of giving a tour?

I love when people from cities like Toronto, NYC, Boston, London etc take a tour and get excited about seeing the architecture and learning Buffalo’s history. One man, who works for BBC radio in Toronto told me he has been visiting downtown Buffalo since the 70’s and thinks the architecture in Buffalo outshines that of Toronto.

What is your favorite fact about Buffalo/WNY?

I think that Buffalo being one of only two cities with representation from the three greatest American architects is my favorite fact about Buffalo.

What is your favorite building in Buffalo/WNY?

This is such a hard choice because I love so many of the buildings. City Hall would probably be it. It has such extraordinary detail. I see something new every time I visit. After that it would have to be the Guaranty Building, Shea’s and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

Why is historic preservation and learning about architecture important to you?

I think historic preservation and learning about architecture is important to understanding who we are and where we should be heading as a community. It’s part of the fabric that keeps us together. I’m also a product of the sixties where concern for the environment became a movement. Historic preservation would have to be one of the most beneficial recycling activities.

Preservation Horoscopes

Aries (March 21-April 19): Very independent and considered a trailblazer (it is the first sign of the Zodiac, after all) Aries put 100 percent into what they try. Once you’ve set a goal in your sights, you’ll do anything you can to make it happen. You’re like a piece of Brutalist architecture- headstrong and noticeable. Nothing can stand in your way!

Taurus (April 20-May 20): While sometimes having a reputation for being stubborn, Bulls are not always so stuck in their ways! You’re a lifelong learner and known for passion and luxury. Ever see an Art Deco building, with all of its decorative elements? That fits you to a T, Taurus. 

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Some of the best communicators of the Zodiac, Gemini are known for their intelligence and the ability to blend into different groups. Gemini tend to be forward thinking and optimistic. You are like a lot of the Queen Anne style of many notable Buffalo homes- there are so many subtypes, just like you Gemini! 

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Cancers are known for being emotionally mature and intuitive; some Cancers may even seem practically psychic. You might seem standoffish upon first meeting, but open up fairly quickly. Tried and true, you’re most reminiscent of Colonial Revival buildings- you’ll never go out of style.

Leo (July 23-August 22): Intelligent. Warm. Gregarious. Leo is a fire sign, known for high self-esteem but always willing to put in the work to be a true leader. Leos are great at making friends and do well with social interactions. Like an American Foresquare home, you probably appeal to everyone!

Virgo (August 23-September 22): Virgos are smart and kind, known for buckling down and getting to work without complaint. Virgos are natural advice givers who thrive at thinking about the big picture. While some might say you’re a bit Type A, you’re really just organized and unswerving, like many Federal Style buildings.

Libra (September 23-October 22): Libras are known for balance and harmony, and are always putting others first. Naturally social, Libras love to be around people. While you can be known as the daydreamer of the Zodiac, your vibrant imagination allows you to pursue various creative endeavors. You’ll love the rich ornamentation of the Beaux-Arts style. 

Scorpio (October 23-November 21): Ah Scorpio, the sign that loves controversy and drama! You are always your authentic self, even if that means being too independent for some. Scorpios are known for being intimidating and aloof, but you might really just have a hard time expressing your feelings. Art Moderne seems right up your alley- bold and very sure of itself, just like you! 

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21): Sagittarius are natural born leaders. While you can be known for being blunt, you’re just trying to help your loved ones be their best self by telling them what you truly think. Because of this, you’re probably most like Greek Revival architecture, which is also very true to its roots.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19): As a Capricorn, you can be known for your stubborn streak, but it’s really because you love rules and order. Not necessarily adept decision makers, you thrive with boundaries and organization. You’re like a gorgeous Italinate house- sturdy and organized! 

Aquarius (January 20-February 18): Keen problem-solvers, Aquarians have great intuition and are adept at drawing logical conclusions. You love to really get to the heart of a problem and use that personality trait to help others. You blend in seamlessly with the scenery, much like Prairie Style homes that take their influence from the landscape around them. 

Pisces (February 19-March 20): Gentle and affectionate, as a Pisces you are known for your easygoing nature. You’re empathetic, comforting, and seem to get along well with everyone you meet. One of the more independent signs of the Zodiac, you don’t mind your alone time. Imagine yourself as a Stick Style house! Like these buildings, there’s nothing else like you! 

Planned Giving Spotlight: 246 Jersey Street

Earlier this year, PBN accepted a gift of property from long-time member and ardent preservationist, Paul Maine.  Mr. Maine gifted PBN the house he had owned for nearly forty years on Jersey Street, with the intention of ensuring that the house would be well preserved for future generations, and that proceeds from the house would go to support preservation in Buffalo.  

In accordance with the terms of Mr. Maine’s will, PBN is selling the house with a preservation easement attached, as well as listing it as a local landmark, which will give the Buffalo Preservation Board jurisdiction over exterior changes and any possible future attempts to demolish it.  The funds from the sale of the house will be used to ensure that Buffalo has a professional preservation organization far into the future by contributing to our endowment, and will support preservation programming such as our new Historic Homeowner Revolving Fund.

This legacy gift will have a huge impact on PBN and on our ability to provide local preservation services now and in the future.  If you would like to give a legacy gift to PBN, contact our office or your estate planner today – it is easy and it costs you nothing now, but you have the satisfaction of knowing that you will be ensuring that Buffalo has a strong, stable, professional preservation organization for generations to come. PBN can accept gifts of cash, property, or even of life insurance or retirement policies.  If your circumstances change, you can always modify your bequest. Gifts can either be unrestricted (we use the gift to support the organization as we feel it is most needed) or restricted (perhaps you would like to see your gift support the Sacred Sites Assistance Program or go entirely to the endowment or something else of your choosing).   However you choose to give, we’d love to discuss how you can help support PBN through planned giving.

Turning Point at Ten

In October, PBN celebrated its tenth anniversary.  As you know, PBN was not created anew, but, rather, from the merger of  two decades-old local preservation giants: the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier and the Preservation Coalition of Erie County.  The result was a single professionally staffed, full-service organization that signaled a new day for preservation in Buffalo.

As the first ten exciting years were coming to a close, we spent this past year setting the stage for the next decade of building up the kind of leading-edge preservation organization that a region with our cultural riches deserves. 

The first thing you will notice is that PBN has a new look. With help from the Oishei Foundation and consultant White Bicycle, we created a new visual brand for PBN that we feel better conveys our organizational strength and the forward-looking nature of our preservation mission. We hope you agree.

But rest assured, this is not mere window dressing. The visual branding is simply the most visible part of a year’s worth of work to update our strategic plan to ensure that we are using preservation best practices to meet our mission and to build a strong, sustainable organization for generations to come.  Along with updating our strategic plan, we have adjusted our mission statement to now read:  PBN identifies, protects, and promotes our unique architecture and historic legacy, and connects people to the places they love in Western New York.  

The first part of the statement remains relatively the same, but we’ve added new words at the end that we thought were important to include: people and love. As preservationists, many of our traditional tools involve talking about buildings and the past, but we know that we do this work because of our belief in people and the future, and we wanted to make sure to convey that concept within our mission statement. 

We also wanted to include the word love because people often come to us for help because they love their home or their neighborhood or a special place or moment in history. We wanted to be sure to recognize and honor that love as part of our mission.

Of course, we will be continuing much of our community development, technical assistance, and advocacy work in 2019, but we will also be launching two new programs in the coming months that will allow us to take a more proactive approach to working with at-risk buildings.

First, thanks to a significant gift from the Charles D. and Mary A. Bauer Foundation, PBN will be unveiling a Sacred Sites Assistance Program. As you no doubt know, religious architecture in Western New York is in crisis. There are many contributing factors, and our responses run the gamut from creation of an updated sacred spaces inventory to robust advocacy for endangered buildings. This new program will allow us to provide proactive technical assistance to small congregations who own their own buildings but are having trouble keeping up with maintenance and rehab costs.  Several sources provide grant funding for religious buildings; however, National Register listing is a prerequisite for applying to them for funds. The application process for listing on the National Register can be daunting for many small religious organizations, so the Bauer Foundation grant will enable us to provide much-needed technical assistance and allow these groups to be good stewards to their historic places of worship.

Second, PBN will be launching a revolving fund for lower- income homeowners in local historic districts. The goal of the fund is to l assist these homeowners in the preservation of their property, allowing them to participate more fully in the long-term benefits of owning historic property. We also hope that this initiative will encourage other neighborhoods to seek historic district status by removing some of the perceived cost barriers.

Former Nature Conservancy president John Sawhill once said: “In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but by what we refuse to destroy.” By renewing your membership every year, by attending events, and by giving to the annual appeal, you signal that our historic places and communities are important and should not be destroyed. We are honored to stand with you to protect and invest in  the wonderful region we all call home, and are looking forward to continuing to promote preservation over the next ten years.