On his blog, Scott Baldinger weighs in on the project proposed for Union and First streets: "Between a Rock and a HardiPlank." Baldinger comes out strongly in favor of authentic materials, but the materials may not be the whole problem. Do the faux Greek Revival houses on Willard Place, which are sided with real wood, appear more authentic than the house at South Second Street and Cherry Alley, which is sided with Hardiplank?
The Historic Preservation Commission should definitely prohibit the use of faux grained Hardiplank in Hudson's historic districts, but the old-growth timber from which houses were built in the 18th and 19th centuries is no longer available, and the inferior quality of the wood marketed today has prompted no less than Julian Adams, Community Liaison and Certified Local Government Coordinator for the New York State Historic Preservation Office, to suggest, a few years ago in a lecture sponsored by Historic Hudson, that historic preservation commissions may need to reconsider the acceptability of new materials, among them Hardiplank, in historic districts.
What's odd though is that Kevin Walker, who used the inferiority of the wood available today to support using Hardiplank siding on the houses proposed for Union and First streets, never had any qualms about replacing old wood windows, made from old-growth timber, with new wood windows, made from the inferior wood available today.