Historic preservation in New York

Historic preservation in New York

Historic preservation in New York is activity undertaken to conserve older buildings, ships, landscapes and other objects of cultural importance in New York State in ways that allow them to continue to communicate meaningfully about past practices, events, and people.

Governmental programs to accomplish historic preservation range from Federal ownership and active operation of sites such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York Harbor, to grants and subsidies provided by state government, to municipal support of museums, to postings of interpretative displays such as roadside plaques and town history websites.

Nonprofit programs include the activities of state-wide and local historical associations and museums, and some activities of national-level historical societies and museums.

Quasi-governmental organizations such as the New York State Thruway Authority and Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, which have historic sites on their property, play roles as well.

Entirely private endeavors, such as investments and other choices taken by private land-owners to conserve historical features of their properties, can be significant but would be less visible.

Federal programs

Federal programs include National Park Service areas, the National Register and the tax subsidies it involves, and the National Historic Landmark program.

National Park Service areas

New York has no National Parks per se, but there are 20 other National Park Service areas that primarily protect historical sites. These provide the highest degree of conservation provided by the Federal government.

There are five National Monuments:
#African Burial Ground National Monument, declared February 27, 2006, (also an NHL)
#Castle Clinton National Monument, declared August 12, 1946 (also an NHL)
#Fort Stanwix National Monument, declared August 21, 1935 (also an NHL)
#Governors Island National Monument, declared January 19, 2001 (also an NHL)
#Statue of Liberty National Monument, declared October 15, 1924, (shared with New Jersey)

There are two National Historical Parks:
#Saratoga National Historical Park
#Women's Rights National Historical Park

There are eight National Historic Sites:
#Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site
#Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
#Martin Van Buren National Historic Site
#Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
#Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site
#Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
#Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
#Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site

There are three National Memorials:
#Federal Hall National Memorial
#General Grant National Memorial
#Hamilton Grange National Memorial (also an NHL)

In addition there are two National Historic Site "associated" areas receiving National Park Service support but not administered by the NPS:
#Lower East Side Tenement National Historic Site (also an NHL)
#Thomas Cole National Historic Site (also an NHL)

National Historic Landmarks

The National Historic Landmark program has designated 257 landmarks in New York, which is more than 10% of all NHLs in the United States. Seven of these are also National Park Service areas.

Registered Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places has designated 79,000 sites nation-wide to be Registered Historic Places. A large number of these are in New York.

tate programs

New York State programs include State Historic Sites and state-listed historic sites.

tate Historic Sites

There are 37 State Historic Sites. Twenty-three of these are also NHLs. They are:
#Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site (Bennington Battlefield NHL)
#Caumsett State Historic Park
#Clermont State Historic Site (Clermont Manor NHL)
#Clinton House State Historic Site
#Crailo State Historic Site (Fort Crailo NHL)
#Crown Point State Historic Site (Fort Crown Point NHL and Fort Frederic NHL)
#Darwin Martin House State Historic Site (Darwin D. Martin House NHL)
#Fort Montgomery State Historic Site (Fort Montgomery NHL)
#Fort Ontario State Historic Site
#Ganondagan State Historic Site (Boughton Hill NHL)
#Grant Cottage State Historic Site
#Herkimer Home State Historic Site
#Hyde Hall State Historic (Hyde Hall NHL)
#John Brown Farm State Historic Site (John Brown Farm and Gravesite NHL)
#John Burroughs Memorial State Historic Site (Woodchuck Lodge NHL)
#John Jay State Historic Site (John Jay House NHL)
#Johnson Hall State Historic Site (Johnson Hall NHL)
#Knox's Headquarters State Historic Site (Knox Headquarters NHL)
#Lorenzo State Historic Site
#New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site
#Olana State Historic Site (Frederic Church House NHL)
#Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park (Old Croton Aqueduct NHL)
#Old Erie Canal State Historic Park
#Old Fort Niagara State Historic Site (Fort Niagara NHL)
#Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site (Oriskany Battlefield NHL)
#Philipse Manor State Historic Site (Philipse Manor NHL)
#Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park -- Coe Hall Historic House Museum
#Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site
#Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site (Erie Canal NHL)
#Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site (Schuyler Mansion NHL)
#Senate House State Historic Site
#Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park
#Staatsburgh State Historic Site
#Steuben Memorial State Historic Site
#Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site (Stony Point Battlefield NHL)
#Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site
#Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site (Washington's Headquarters NHL)

tate listed historic sites

The state Department of Historic Preservation, within the NYSOPRHP, is heavily involved in the vetting of candidates for NRHP listing. Sites are given state listing first, and some are further nominated to the Federal government. Thus sites may receive state listing but not achieve Federal listing. Owners of sites can opt out of Federal listing, but may not be able to opt out of state listing.

New York City programs

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission was founded, subsequent to the demolition of Penn station, to identify and preserve landmarks in New York City.

Other municipalities' programs

Quasi-governmental organizations

The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired Boldt Castle on Heart Island and the nearby yacht house in 1977, for one dollar, under the agreement that all revenues obtained would be used to preserve the castle.... Boldt Castle, if it is "Boldt, George C., Yacht House", is an NRHP.

The New York State Thruway Authority subsidizes the preservation of the New York State Barge Canal, according to this anti- editorial from an American Auto Association official [http://www.uticaod.com/opinions/columnists/x469072164] .

Archeological investigations during construction and otherwise

The African Burial Ground, the latest National Monument in New York, was discovered during construction activities in downtown New York City.

Road construction projects are required to have sub-contractors who investigate Indian remains and so on. What are the terms, required by whom?

Archeological sites are sometimes preserved in part by secrecy, although many are pilfered by "pot-diggers". It is policy of the National Park Service to conceal the location of some archeological sites, by redaction of location information on NRHP documents or by withholding NRHP documents from public altogether.

Historical societies

Temporary list from New York History Net

Listed at [http://www.nyhistory.com/links/historical_societies.htm New York History Net listing] [all quotes from New York History Net unless otherwise noted] :
#New York State Historical Association. NYSHA reported assets of $53.237 million on June 30, 2005 and took in revenues of $6.216 million in its fiscal year ending on that day.citation|title=PDFlink| [http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2005/131/624/2005-150539110-02aebbd7-9.pdf Internal Revenue Service Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax: New York State Historical Society, Fiscal year ending June 30, 2005] |32 KB|date=November 09, 2006 |author=New York State Historical Association |work=|pubisher=Guidestar.org ]
#American Irish Historical Society - "aims to place permanently on record the story of the Irish in America from the earliest settlement to the present day." Located on Fifth Avenue in New York City, opposite Metropolitan Museum of Art. ( [http://www.aihs.org/ American Irish Historical Society official website] )
#Bethpage - Encyclopedia of the Unincorporated Village of Bethpage
#Brooklyn Historical Society - "Founded in 1863, the Brooklyn Historical Society is a nationally renowned urban history center dedicated to the exploration and preservation of documents, artwork and artifacts representative of Brooklyn's diverse cultures past and present." ( [http://www.brooklynhistory.org/ Brooklyn Historical Society official website] ) BHS reported assets of $21.783 million on June 30, 2006 and took in revenues of $1.889 million in its fiscal year ending on that day.citation|title=PDFlink| [http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2006/111/630/2006-111630813-02ee7217-9.pdf Internal Revenue Service Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax: The Brooklyn Historical Society, Fiscal year ending June 30, 2006] |32 KB|date=March 31, 2007 |author=The Brooklyn Historical Society |work=|publisher=Guidestar.org ]
#Broome County Historical Society - "focusing on industrial development in the history of Broome County."
#Bronx County Historical Society - "provides field trips for families, group members or students to The Museum of Bronx History and the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, theme programs, neighborhood walking tours, and school projects." It reported assets of $1.187 million on June 30, 2006 and took in revenues of $655 thousand in its fiscal year ending on that day.citation|title=PDFlink| [http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2006/136/153/2006-136153378-032bc28b-9.pdf Internal Revenue Service Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax: Bronx County Historical Society, Fiscal year ending June 30, 2006] |32 KB|date=May 14, 2007 |author=Bronx County Historical Association |work=|pubisher=Guidestar.org ]

#Brunswick Historical Society - "history of the Town of Brunswick and Rensselaer County, NY, collecting yesterday for tomorrow."
#Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society - "one of the oldest regional historical societies in the country. Its first President was U.S. President Millard Fillmore."
#Cayuga-Owasco Lakes Historical Society - "was founded in 1966 to preserve the history of the twelve towns south of Auburn, New York."
#Clinton Historical Society (Clinton, Oneida County, New York) - focusses on Town of Clinton in Oneida County, and surrounding area ( [http://www.clintonhistory.org/coinfo.html Official website for the Clinton Historical Society in Clinton, Oneida County, New York] )
#Cohocton Historical Society - "encourages interest in the history and development of the Town of Cohocton, Steuben County, New York and vicinity."
#Columbia County Historical Society - "preservation and promotion of the history of Columbia County, NY. The Society owns and operates three historic properties, open to the public during the summer season, and a museum, open year-round."
#Dewitt Historical Society of Tompkins County - "collections reflect the history of Tompkins County, New York, from pre-historic times to the present."
#Franklin County Historical and Museum Society - "An elegant 1860s townhouse museum, featuring Victorian furnishings and early craft exhibits, plus a county-wide historical program that includes genealogy services for those with Franklin County family roots."
#Fort Brewerton Historical Society - "French and Indian War site with reconstructed post-Revolutionary War blockhouse museum."
#Geneva Historical Society - "Operates several historical houses, including Rose Hill and the Prouty-Chew House. Has 1300 cubic feet of archives and 30,000 photographic images, as well as furniture, decorative art, costumes, textiles, fine art, tools and equipment, and four historic properties."
#Goshen Public Library and Historical Society - "Elizabeth Sharts Historical & Genealogical Reference Room houses over 40,000 manuscripts and documents, newspapers, maps, books and pamphlets."
#Greene County Historical Society - "perspectives of the Catskills heritage and preservation of local historical structures and sites."
#Greene County Mountain Top Historical Society - "organized to promote the increase of knowledge of and interest in that portion of the Catskill Mountains referred to generally as the "Mountain Top" through the study and preservation of its art, literature, history, culture, folklore, legends and environment by means of a variety of programs, activities and projects."
#Hispanic Society of America It is a museum of Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American art and artifacts, as well as a rare books and manuscripts research library. Founded in 1904 by Archer M. Huntington, the institution is free and open to the public at its original location in a Beaux Arts building on Audubon Terrace an 155th Street in the lower Washington Heights. (description adapted from its wikipedia article)
#Historic Albany Foundation - "for those interested in the restoration and rehabilitation of historic buildings. Includes an architectural parts warehouse with an online catalogue."
#Historical Society For the Preservation of the Underground Railroad
#Huguenot Historical Society (New Paltz, NY) - "owns and operates the National Historic Landmark District, Huguenot Street, a collection of house museums with construction dates ranging from 1690 to 1894."
#Huntington Historical Society - "maintains three national register historic properties as two house museums and a Resource Center and Archives."
#Italian Historical Society of America (Brooklyn, NY) - "preserves biographical and other material relating to persons of Italian lineage, publishes documents and reports, will establish and maintain a cultural center or centers, will administer scholarships and fellowships."
#Klyne Esopus Historical Society Museum (Ulster Park, NY) - "local history from 1608 until the present. The collection includes family genealogies, cemetery records, church records, census records, house and locality records, and maps."
#Lancaster New York Historical Society - "officers, Board of Directors, membership application, and copies of their newsletter The Lancaster Legend, 40 Clark Street, Lancaster, NY 14088, (716) 681-7718."
#Livingston County Historical Society - "history of Livingston County."
#Lynbrook Historical & Preservation Society - "educating the public about and working to preserve the history of Lynbrook, NY (formerly Pearsall's Corners)."
#Medina Historical Society - "offers a newsletter, holiday open house, school tours, historic home and garden tour, and sells a book on Medina history."
#Minisink Valley Historical Society - "a wealth of information about the Minisink region."
#Mohawk & Hudson Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society
#Mountain Top Historical Society of Greene County - "organized to promote the increase of knowledge of and interest in that portion of the Catskill Mountains referred to generally as the "Mountain Top" through the study and preservation of its art, literature, history, culture, folklore, legends and environment by means of a variety of programs, activities and projects."
#Nanticoke Valley Historical Society (Maine, NY) - "collecting valley history. Nanticoke Creek flows south through a valley that extends from near Whitney Point, NY to the Susquehanna River in the town of Union. Nanticoke creek and valley were named after an American Indian tribe that once lived in the area."
#National Maritime Historical Society - "covers aspects of maritime history and seafaring, including the art, literature, and culture of the sea, sail training, ship saving, and maritime museums and events."
#Newark Valley Historical Society - "operates the Bement-Billings Farmstead and Newark Valley RR Depot, contact information: PO Box 222, Newark Valley, NY 13811, (607) 642-9516."
#New York Central Historical Society - m"embership includes former NYC and subsidiary line employees, rail historians, students of railroad engineering, serious modelers and those with fond memories of one of America’s greatest railroads."
#New York Correction History Society - "excellent histories of DOC institutions and their role in New York State and American history."
#New York Covered Bridge Society - "formed in 1966 to bring enthusiasts together to help preserve the old historic covered spans, to work with local communities interested in saving bridges, to collect information on all New York State covered bridges and to make such historical information available to its members."
#New-York Historical Society - "museum collections and exhibitions, research library, archive and print room, programs, and store."
#Niagara County Historical Society - "maintains the Outwater Memorial Building, Niagara County Genealogical Society, Pioneer and Transportation Building, Fire House, Yates Farm Barn, Washington Hunt Building, Colonel William Bond House, and Hille House."
#Northport Historical Society and Museum - "The site includes museum events and programs, a "Kids' corner," teacher resources, a timeline, and other historical information on Northport and its environs, including East Northport, Fort Salonga, Asharoken, and Eatons Neck."
#Onondaga Historical Association in Syracuse, NY) - "genealogy, architecture, industrial and transportation history." [http://www.cnyhistory.org/index.html Onondaga Historical Association / Museum & Research Center official website]
#Ontario County Historical Society - "founded in Canandaigua, in the late 1800's, by Charles Miliken, who was editor of a local newspaper, the Ontario County Times."
#Ontario and Western Railway Historical Society - "dedicated to preserving the heritage of New York Ontario and Western Railways."
#Ossining Historical Society - "organized in 1931 to educate the public in the history and traditions of Ossining on Hudson and vicinity."
#Oswego Town Historical Society - "web site includes genealogical research application."
#Oyster Bay Historical Society - "provides craft exhibits, lectures, maps, photos, historical and genealogical documents, headquartered in the historic Earle-Wightman House museum and library."
#Queens Historical Society - "museum and local history research center (library and archive), headquartered in a historic site, Kingsland Homestead, colonial farmhouse history shown through exhibitions, house and walking tours, and educational programs."
#The Photographic Historical Society in Rochester, NY) - "brings together all individuals with an interest in the history of photography."
#Rensselaer County Historical Society - "established in 1927 to connect local history and heritage with contemporary life."
#Richmond Hill Historical Society - "educational programs, historic house tours, and more."
#Rockland County Historical Society - "operates Jacob Blauvelt House and History Museum Center."
#Rome Historical Society - "the Society has a museum, the William E. Scripture Memorial Library, an archives, artifacts, and much more to offer researchers."
#Roosevelt Island Historical Society - "The mission of the society is to Preserve the history of the island thru educational projects, lectures, tours, exhibits and outreach to the community and others interested in this unique community; Restore and preserve the landmark structures on the island; Collect and maintain an archive of written material and memorabelia."
#Rye Historical Society - "operates two historical houses: The Square House, c. 1730, an interpreted tavern house, and the Knapp House, c. 1670, with a library and archives."
#Saint Lawrence County Historical Association - "preserving county history and operating a museum and archives in the country Greek Revival house originally belonging to Silas Wright, Governor of New York 1845-1846."
#Saratoga Springs Historical Society - "Permanent and changing exhibitions that document the long and varied history of the resort community. Emphasis is on spa, gambling, hotel and ethnic history of Saratoga Springs."
#Saratoga County Historical Society - "operates the Brookside Museum."
#Schaghticoke Knickerbocker Historical Society
#Scarsdale Historical Society - "provides large array of exhibitions, lectures, meetings and educational programs."
#Schenectady County Historical Society - "history, genealogy, library, and the Jan Mabee Farm."
#Schoharie County Historical Society - "a page of web links related to the history and genealogy of Schoharie County."
#Sharon Historical Society - "founded in 1971, dedicated to preserving the history of Sharon, operating the Sharon Historical Museum and the Chestnut Street School."
#Shelter Island Historical Society
#Skaneateles Historical Society - "museum and nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to preserving the history of Skaneateles. Web site offers data from St. Mary's gravestones, Lakeview Cemetery, and 19th century newspapers, as well as family files from the Society's archives."
#Smithfield Community Association - "a not-for-profit organization formed to preserve the historic buildings and properties in the hamlet of Peterboro, in Madison County, NY."
#Staten Island Historical Society - "The Staten Island Historical Society operates Historic Richmond Town, an authentic village, museum complex and archives, interpreting three centuries of daily life and culture on Staten Island. Many buildings have been restored and are open for touring."
#Sullivan County Historical Society - "history and genealogy."
#Three Village Area - "historical society on the North Shore of Long Island."
#Tully Area Historical Society - "south of Syracuse, runs a bookstore and Exhibit Hall"
#Tioga County Historical Society - "an educational organization which interprets the history of Tioga County, New York, by collecting and preserving artifacts, operating a museum, conducting educational programs, and publishing material on the county."
#Thomas Paine Historical Society - "founded January 29, 1884 in New York City, to commemorate the life and works of Thomas Paine and to ensure Paine's rightful place in history as pre-eminent founder of the United States of America."
#Tonawanda Kenmore Historical Society - "founded in 1849."
#Ulster & Delaware Railroad Historical Society - "focuses on Catskills and Hudson Valley RR history including U&D, Delaware and Northern, Catskill Mountain, Catskill and Tannersville, and Otis Elevating Railroads."
#Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc. - "an effort to research, identify, celebrate, and preserve the Underground Railroad's story in the Capital Region."
#Vestal Historical Society and Museum - "discovers and collects material that may help to illustrate the history of the Town of Vestal and surrounding areas."
#Westchester County Historical Society (1894) - "library and research center founded in 1874."
#Western New York Railway Historical Society - "dedicated to preserving Western New York's railroad heritage through restoration projects and other events."
#Yates County Genealogical & Historical Society, Oliver House (Penn Yan, NY) - "home ofoperates a museum to discover, preserve and interpret whatever may relate to the history of Yates County, to collect materials and objects relating to the history of Yates County, and to plan exhibits which relate to local history."
#Yorktown Historical Society

[http://www.tullyareahistorical.com/ Tully Area Historical Society] was organized in 1977 to preserve two historic churches.

Other Historical Societies in New York

The above list misses some major ones, and also there are some very small ones that appear to lack nonprofit organizational status.
#American Jewish Historical Society‎ 15 W 16th St, New York, NY
#Newstead Historical Society‎ 145 Main St, Akron, NY
#Oneida County Historical Society, 1608 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13502 ( [http://www.oneidacountyhistory.org Oneida County Historical Society official website] )
#White Plains Historical Society ( [http://whiteplainshistory.org/ official website] )
#Herkimer Historical Society or is that Schoharie County?
#Camillus Historical Society is located in an NRHP, the Wilcox Octagon House
#The Canal Society of New York State ( [http://www.canalsnys.org/ The Canal Society of New York State official website] )
# [http://www.fabiusny.org/FabiusHistoricalSociety.html Fabius Historical Society]
# [http://www.rootsweb.com/%7Enysghs/ Solvay-Geddes Historical Society website] founded 2005
# [http://www.townononhist.org/ Town of Onondaga Historical Society]
# [http://www.pompeyhistory.org/ Town of Pompey Historical Society]
# [http://www.borodinobullett.com/SAHS/sahs_frameset.htm Spafford Area Historical Society webpage]
# [http://www.pacny.net/ Preservation Association of Central New York]
#Jordan Historical Society which operates a Jordan Canal Museum
# [http://manliushistory.org/ Manlius Historical Society] operates a museum and is "dedicated to serving the Town of Manlius by preserving and fostering an appreciation of the history and hertiage (sic) of Central New York, with special emphasis on the Town of Manlius, New York." [Manlius Historical Society webpage]
# [http://mhs.marcellusny.com/ Marcellus Historical Society] Since 1960 has acted to "preserve the artifacts, history and records of the Town and Village of Marcellus - as well as display its collection of artifacts and historic documents", now in a historic mansion. [Marcellus Historical Society webpage and Steadman House subpage]

official Town historians and histories

Many towns have history websites. For example, the Village of Elbridge historian is responsible for the [http://www.villageofelbridge.com/history.html Elbridge Village History] .

The [http://www.northsyracuse.org/history/ Village of North Syracuse history website] proudly states a U.S. first in its town: "The first plank road in the United States was finished and ready for travel on July 18, 1846. The road cost $23,000, was 16-1/2 miles long and planked its entire length." There may or may not be any preserved vestiges of the road itself, but does the preserved of its memory, in the history website, count as historic preservation?

Other entity histories

The [http://www.ongov.net/Sheriff/history.html Onondaga County Sheriff's Office history] , unusual for an organization "Proudly serving since 1794", actually traces its history back to 450-650 A.D. when sheriffs under Saxon rule in England.

History Museums

History museums may be independent of other entities, or they may be operated by historical societies, municipalities, or the state. For an example of the independent type, the Erie Canal Museum "is a private, nonprofit corporation founded in 1962. It is housed in the 1850 Weighlock Building, where canal boats were weighed during the days when they traveled through the center of Syracuse on the Erie Canal." [Erie Canal Museum website] The Weighlock building is listed on the National Register.

There is one operated by a town(?) within a historic covered bridge in Washington County, New York.

See List of museums in New York.

See also


See also .

Theatres and other nonprofits with partial goals of preservation

At one level the Landmark Theatre (Syracuse, New York) building in Syracuse is a historic building, and it is listed on the National Register. But is operated by a nonprofit theatre company, [http://landmarktheatre.org/ The Landmark Theatre] , part of whose mission is to preserve the theatre.

Geneological histories

Geneological histories could be a huge area, when history is down to individuals, all deemed notable. However many geneological histories will also carry local history of higher importance.

Consider: [http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/%7Emstone/ German Immigrant Ancestors in Syracuse and Onondaga County, New York ]

Bed and breakfast inns

A significant number of bed and breakfast inns market themselves as historic homes. Some are NRHPs. Many, though refitted with internal renovations, doubtlessly preserve aspects of the historic homes which would otherwise be lost. The accessibility to paying guests certainly communicates history on a very local scale, and may resonate for other visitors to the area.

Private homes

Historic character of many neighborhoods is maintained by individual homeowners.


Museums in New York

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