Monday, August 2, 2010

The Touch of Galloway: Exhibit 5

Part I
This is undoubtedly Eric Galloway's most controversial project: 317 Allen Street. The original house was built for Morgan Jones, a young man who had inherited a fortune from his father's manufactured soap company. Jones had traveled in Europe, and the architecture he saw there shaped his notion of what he wanted his house to look like. The Jacobean and Dutch inspired mansion, which was the young man's fancy of grand house, was designed by Marcus Reynolds. The house, which was completed in 1906, is thought by many to be Reynolds' richest and most successful design. It is also the best documented house in Hudson. All the drawings for the house and grounds, as well as Reynolds' journals and records from the period he was working on the house, are preserved in the Albany Institute of History & Art.

From the early 1980s until less than ten years ago, the house had been the Martin Residence, a nursing home for people with disabilities. A substantial wing had been added to the back of the building to provide rooms for the home's residents.

Eric Galloway purchased the house in 2002 or 2003. During the time he owned it, he did some good things and some very bad things. The good things: He demolished the nursing home wing at the back of the building and eliminated all the linoleum and Formica and other institutional elements that had been imposed on the interior of the house. The bad things require more attention.

The original design for the house and grounds included a horseshoe drive leading to the house’s front entrance, paved with bricks set in a herringbone pattern. The sidewalk was also brick, in the same herringbone pattern. Galloway removed the original drive and reconfigured it, replacing it with a blacktopped space near the street, presumably for parking cars, and a slate walk to the front door. He also removed the brick sidewalk in front of the house and replaced it with slate.

There was a plan to surround the house with a cast-iron fence, similar to the fence at Galloway's own house at 345 Allen Street. To that end, brick pillars were constructed at regular intervals around the main house and the carriage house. At first, there was a problem keeping the pillars straight. They tended to lean slightly in different directions. The problem was eventually solved, but now the pillars are so well anchored that it’s been reported that extreme attempts to remove them have failed. This is unfortunate since the iron fence that the pillars were meant to hold was never installed.

One winter during the time Galloway owned it, the house was not properly prepared for cold weather. Pipes froze, causing extensive damage throughout the house, which had to be repaired by the current owners.

The worst of the bad things Galloway did, in the opinion of many, was to subdivide the property, separating the main house from the carriage house and making the back third of the lot, where once there had been a tennis court, a lawn, and a path leading to a pergola and an overlook, into two building lots. The chronicle of the subdivision of 317 Allen Street and the introduction of two additional houses into the historic fabric of Willard Place is a long story best reserved for Part II of this account.

Note: The illustration above is a photograph of a photocopy of the plan for the grounds of the Morgan Jones House by landscape architects Townsend & Fleming of Buffalo, dated September 1904, which is preserved at the Albany Museum of History & Art.

8 comments:

  1. Even with history things do change...for the better.
    The building is remarkably beautiful and has one of
    Hudson's most thriving small businesses and is a delight
    to many visitors who come to our fair city.
    I sense very little would ever get done around here adhering to
    some people's personal visions of what should be. Everyone is a designer....unfortunately (or fortunately) some don't have the means to do it. Seems more of a personal agenda against a specific man with vision who has been attempting to salvage some of Hudson's neglected buildings. Plenty more out there....go for it!

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  2. Vision ?

    More like someone with too much money playing 3rd rate architect without a license or respect for architecture. Subdivisions is a sign of greed, not one of salvaging Hudsons' historic 'neglected buildings.'

    If you actually looked around town you would see many buildings carefully attended to. You make it sound as if Galloway is the only act in town. He is the only act in town creating a stir from his vast holdings of empty properties. His 'vision' for the corner of Warren & 5th is absolutely stunning. Bare florescent lit bulbs, ripped plastic window coverings, all set behind an abandoned parking lot right in the middle of town.

    The NW corner of 3rd and Warren is a Galloway dump.
    The NE corner of 3rd and Warren WAS a Galloway dump until he sold it to someone who actually did a remarkable gift for Hudson.

    Go back to your fantasy world.

    This issue is too complicated for you.

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  3. Ah! Glad to know there are more pious folks around who seem to grasp the complexities of change and movement in a community for us poor and unenlightened observers.
    Talk about a fantasy world!

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  4. And now the end is near and he did it----Gallowaaaaay. Just love that Sinatra tune.

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  5. Galloway ruined Willard Place with his subdivision and it is the current owners who saved the house. His psuedo-classical houses perched toward the end of Willard Place facing in the wrong direction totally spoils the architectural empathy of the street. For that alone, he will go down in Hudson's history of the infamous. The skullduggery involved in the placement of the houses and the Zoning Board's decision was another black mark for Hudson.

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  6. Jennifer's comments all subjective.
    Everyone wants to be a designer...

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  7. "I Did It My Way"
    Excellent choice of lyrics.
    Praises the glories of the unconscious dysfunctional egoic mind gone unchecked.

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  8. Everyone wants to be a designer? Huh? Anon, reprobates such as yourself should fancy themselves lucky to see the hand of restoration shepherd our buildings into the 21st century. What Galloway prefers to do is shepherd his interpretation (or neglect) onto his buildings, and Our architectural legacy. Subdividing part of the original lot and building two wedding cakes on site is about as frustratingly fanciful & fake as you can get. Jennifers point is not only correct, its a laudable take on this particular Gallo-way-outta-here reconfiguration. Those eggs on Willard are monies scrambled attempt at historical relevance. This is a continuing lesson in why cities like Hudson Need to have an effective Board of Architectural Review that can step in, when Ignorance steps up. Is it shocking to you that what Hudson has is Unique and Rare, and therefore worthy of professional protection? Get out more.

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