The Mental Health Association operates a group home, for ten residents, in this building at 900 Columbia Street.
They are proposing to construct a new building behind this one. When the new building is completed and the ten residents moved in, the existing house will be demolished and the space where it stood used for parking. Although the building has been renovated several times--most recently in 2005 and 2006--Carl Whitbeck, who, as counsel for the Mental Health Association, presented the project to the commission, said, "We've got to stop occupying this building." Commission member Samuels was enthusiastic about the plan, saying, "Taking down the building would be nice."
Whitbeck described the building as 19th century, as if that fact alone were justification for tearing it down. The design of the house suggests that it is very early 19th century or possibly late 18th century. With five bays and a center hall, the original building (the sixth bay at the right is an addition) is similar to several houses on lower Union Street: 117, 119-123, 211, 241--all built by Proprietors (the founders of Hudson) or sons of Proprietors. The location of the house, on the road to Claverack, also suggests its antiquity. A building where Martin Van Buren, eighth President of the United States, once had a law office stood across the street from this house, until a few years ago when it was demolished to expand a parking lot. Research may reveal that 900 Columbia Street also has important connections to local history, but whether it does or not, it's a part of Hudson's architectural heritage, and it should be preserved, not demolished for offstreet parking.