Preservation in Western New York

Western New York is a special place. From the iconic early 20th century buildings designed by some of America’s most renowned architects, to Olmsted’s lush and inviting landscapes, to historic village centers throughout the region, Western New York is recognized internationally as a true museum of architectural history. These countless historic treasures provide the foundation for our region’s unique and exceptional identity.

Historic preservation is the means in which we can save our unique architecture and historic legacy for the benefit of current and future generations. But preservation is about much more than protecting our shared history, it’s an important economic development tool that builds sustainable, livable communities.

Historic preservation happens at the local, state, and national level, and through the work of both governmental agencies and non-profit organizations.

Local Preservation Commissions or Boards

Preservation Commissions or Boards are established by local preservation ordinances as the administrative body that carries out the duties of the ordinance. Usually, their duties include:

  • Operating the list of Local Landmarks and Historic Districts;
  • Reviewing potential new Landmarks and Historic Districts;
  • Reviewing permits for exterior changes to listed properties;
  • Reviewing demolition requests for listed properties.

There are over 20 communities across Western New York that support preservation through their preservation ordinance. Use the links below to visit their websites. You can also visit PBN’s guide to preservation regulations in Buffalo & Niagara Falls by clicking here.

Erie County

City of Buffalo
Town of Amherst
Town of Clarence
Town of Grand Island
Village of East Aurora
Village of Hamburg
Village of Kenmore
Village of Lancaster
Town of Orchard Park
Village of Springville
Village of Williamsville

Niagara County

Village of Lewiston
City of Lockport
City of Niagara Falls
City of North Tonawanda

Chautauqua County

City of Dunkirk

Orleans County

Village of Albion

PBN is the region’s only full-service, professionally staffed preservation organization, empowering Western New York communities to champion historic preservation as a means of creating a more culturally rich, vibrant, affordable, and sustainable community. Click here to learn more about how PBN provides leadership in identifying, protecting and promoting the unique architecture and historic legacy of Western New York communities.

Within PBN’s 7 county service area, we partner with many local preservation organizations that advocate for our historic built environment in many cities, towns, villages, and neighborhoods:

Erie County

Linwood Preservation District & Friends
Allentown Association

Niagara County

Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Society

State Preservation Commissions or Boards

State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO) administer the federal historic preservation program at the state level on behalf of the NPS. Here in NYS our SHPO is organizationally located within the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) and their duties include:

  • Operating the State Register of Historic Places;
  • Reviewing and submitting nominations to the National Register of Historic Places to NPS;
  • Reviewing applications for the NYS Historic Homeowner Tax Credit and the Commercial Rehabilitation Tax Credit programs;
  • Reviewing projects using State funding that impact historic sites;
  • Managing and regulating State owned historic parks, landmarks, and sites.

Founded in 1974, the Preservation League of New York State is a nonprofit organization is the leading state-wide voice that works to invests in people and projects that champion the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth and the protection of our historic buildings and landscapes. PLNYS leads advocacy, economic development and education programs.

National Preservation Commissions or Boards

Under direction of the Secretary of the Interior, the National Parks Service (NPS) administers federal historic preservation programs, carrying out historic preservation both within and outside the National Park Service and their duties include:

  • Operating the National Register of Historic Places and the National Historic Landmark programs;
  • Reviewing applications for the Federal Historic Tax Credit program;
  • Maintaining the Standards and Guidelines for the treatment of historic properties;
  • Reviewing projects using Federal funding that impact historic sites (Section 106);
  • Managing and regulating Federally owned historic parks, landmarks, and sites.

Founded in 1944, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP), a nonprofit organization, is the leading national voice that works to save America’s historic places by taking direct action and inspiring broad public support. The NTHP also owns and manages 27 historic sites.