Monday, May 7, 2012

News from the Galvan Initiatives Foundation

The Galvan Initiatives Foundation issued a press release earlier today, which appears on the foundation's blog, announcing plans to move two historic Hudson houses to new locations. The first is 900 Columbia Street, which Galvan proposes to move to three contiguous vacant lots in the 200 block of Union Street. 

The second is the Robert Taylor House, now located on the continuation of South Second Street, at the head of Tanners Lane. Galvan is proposing to move this house to the side yard at 25 Union Street, which was clearcut last summer.

Moving 900 Columbia Street would be a good thing. The Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties, which owns the house, is determined to demolish it. All efforts to dissuade the decision makers in that organization have been unsuccessful. Granted a great part of the historic significance of the house is its location, but moving the house seems to be the only way to save it. The proposed new location would at least put the house in proximity to other houses of the same era--211 and 243 Union Street. 

Moving the Robert Taylor House, on the other hand, makes no sense at all. This house is generally recognized to be the oldest surviving house in Hudson, predating the arrival of the Proprietors. Its location, at the head of Tanners Lane and along the shore of what was once South Bay, is an enormous part of its historic significance. In the press release, the Galvan Initiatives Foundation justifies moving the house in this way: "On its current site the house is somewhat lost, and looks out over warehouses, when originally it looked out over the South Bay towards Mt. Merino, the river and the Catskills beyond." Those warehouses now belong to the City of Hudson, or rather to the Hudson Development Corporation, and the plan, when they were acquired, was to demolish them. When that happens, the house will again look out "over the South Bay towards Mt. Merino, the river and the Catskills beyond." In messing with Hudson's architectural heritage, moving the Robert Taylor House is surely a bridge too far.  


  1. Moving 900 Columbia is and absolutely heroic enterprise by GalVan

    I would also , a bit prematurely, like to compliment GalVan on what is shaping up as a seriously professional repair and restoration of the Evans Brewery House mansard roof on Warren.

    Moving the Robert Taylor House does come across as unnecessary and inappropriate. In this instance location is as critically important as its architecture to Hudsons founding.

    Hopefully this move will be reconsidered.

  2. The curious thing about the Taylor house is that it was already moved from its location over a century ago - or rather, its location was moved from it.

    An entire bay that once stood across the street was all but erased, completely stranding the structure in a sea of concrete. So total was the transformation that not even a hint of its original location, which was indeed critical to its history, could ever be restored.

    In the Bugs Bunny episode, "No Parking Hare," Bugs wakes to find his hole suddenly surrounded by freeway construction. In that instance Bugs chose to remain despite the new location. (Ultimately a compromise was reached with the unnamed city.)

  3. Who would pay for the demolishment of the warehouses by the Taylor House? The city? Or GalVan? What are they intending to do with the property?

  4. Unknown--When the City first talked about acquiring the old Kaz warehouses, the plan, as Rick Scalera explained it to me, was to demolish them and use the concrete floors as a parking lot, to expand the Amtrak lot and get more parking for riverfront events. At that time, he thought the guy who demolished the Hudson River Knitting Mill buildings on North Front Street would demolish the warehouses for the salvage rights, which is how he did those mill buildings. But that guy is apparently the same guy who walked away from the Foster's Refrigeration demolition, leaving it unfinished, so I think the idea that he's going to demolish the Kaz warehouses is off the table.

    I have no idea what anyone's plans for the Kaz property are. I wish I did.