Friday, May 14, 2021

COVID Insight

Despite the fact that the CDC has declared it unnecessary for vaccinated people to wear masks anywhere, new cases of COVID-19 continue to be reported in Columbia County. There were twelve today. That's seven more than there were last year on this day. 

Although we are still far from herd immunity, one wonders about this persistent rate of new infections. Today's press release from Matt Murell, chair of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, sheds some light. Murell reports: "Also Friday, DOH Director Mabb said the Grand Rehabilitation & Nursing facility in Valatie is experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19. Currently, 11 residents and eight staff are infected with the virus."

A year ago, half the cases of COVID-19 in Columbia County were in nursing homes, and 76 percent of those cases were at The Grand at Barnwell.
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COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been twelve new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is seven more than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that five more county residents are now considered to be recovering from the virus. There are seven more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, and two more are hospitalized with the virus, although none is in the ICU. There has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since Tuesday, May 4.

The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 3.6 percent and a seven-day average of 2.2 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 1.1 percent and the seven-day average is 1.4 percent.   

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 5 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 333, and the number of active cases was 183. There were 151 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 11 were hospitalized, and 1 was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 24.

History Prevails

For those following the Great Window Debate of 2021, I won't keep you in suspense. Today, the Historic Preservation Commission denied a certificate of appropriateness to the proposal to replace all the windows at 400 State Street with nine over nine windows, a proposal that ignored the evidence provided by an 1830 engraving of the building which shows the window configuration to be twelve over twelve.

Voting against the proposal were Paul Barrett, the historian member of the HPC; Chip Bohl, the architect member; John Schobel; and Miranda Barry. Phil Forman, HPC chair, and Hugh Biber voted in favor.  

During the discussion that preceded the vote, Biber opined that, with the proposed windows, the building was "going in a very good direction . . . to make the building great again." Schobel responded, "If everything is a matter of style, what's the purpose of historic preservation." Responding to the idea, posited by Walter Chatham at previous HPC meetings, that the windows had been changed from nine over nine to twelve over twelve in 1830 when the building became the lunatic asylum, Barrett noted that they would not have gone from larger pane windows to smaller pane windows because, in the 19th century, proper light was considered to be important for the state of mind of mental patients. 

Barry spoke of the building's prominence in the city's historic architecture, saying that its early uses, first as an almshouse and then as a lunatic asylum, were important parts of the city's history. She said she was convinced by the window in the west gable, saying, "It belies the notion that the engraving might not be accurate." She recalled Schobel's statement at a previous meeting: "This is not the Aesthetics Committee; it's the Historic Preservation Commission." Barry concluded, "If we are going to do our job, we have to preserve our history." 

Of some interest is that, in supporting his case for nine over nine windows, Chatham, who said he'd been criticized for using far-flung examples, today produced an example very close to home: 211 Union Street, the birthplace of General William Jenkins Worth, a building he said "sums up what a stylish house in the 19th century would have looked like." What Chatham didn't bother to mention, if in fact he even knew, was that this house was restored by Eric Galloway ten years ago in a restoration project that returned the building to what it was believed it would have looked like during the eighteen years (1794-1812) when Worth lived there, based on no archival evidence. Gossips' account of the public hearing on that project can be found here.


At one point in the discussion, Chatham told the commission, "The owner doesn't want to put in twelve over twelve windows. If nine over nine isn't approve, he will put in windows that simply replace what is there." What is there, for the most part, are the windows that were installed in 1865, when the building was refitted to be the private residence of George H. Power. Forman characterized Chatham's position as "My way or the highway." Code enforcement officer Craig Haigh clarified that like for like replacement, which would not require review by the HPC, means identical in every way. Schobel elaborated, "If the owner cannot reproduce the windows exactly as they are now, it is not like for like."  

Although Chatham declared he was willing to "go to the mat" for what he called "a question of style," and Forman asked him why he was taking "such a hard line" with this proposal, things ended fairly amicably. Chatham told the members of the HPC, "Even if we disagree about the occasional windows, we all agree that the city is an architectural treasure, and many believe the entire city should be under the HPC."
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Thursday, May 13, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been eight new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is two fewer than yesterday, from which it can it inferred that ten more county residents are now considered to be recovering from the virus. There are nine more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, but the number hospitalized with the virus remains the same. There has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since Tuesday, May 4. 

The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 1.2 percent and a seven-day average of 2.1 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 1.0 percent and the seven-day average is 1.5 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported no new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 328, and the active cases was 184. There were 159 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 8 were hospitalized, and none was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 24.

For Want of a Nail . . .

We hear regularly about the housing crisis in Hudson. There are at least three projects being discussed to address that situation: the Galvan Foundation's Depot District, the adaptive reuse of John L. Edwards School, and Hudson Housing Authority's as yet undefined plans for development, not to mention the Affordable Housing Development Plan, work on which started a month or so ago. None of these efforts, however, will result in new housing units being available anytime soon. 

Meanwhile, the Hudson Housing Authority (HHA) has twenty apartments that are offline: fourteen in Bliss Towers and another six in the low-rise buildings. Several of these apartments are the coveted three- and four-bedroom apartments sought by families.

At first, lack of funding was what was keeping the apartments unavailable. Now the funding is in place, but the work to rehabilitate the apartments has not begun. Last night, at the HHA Board of Commissioners meeting, executive director Tim Mattice explained why. He can't find people to do the work. 

The situation inspired the board to talk about developing their own trades program. Rebecca Wolff suggested there might be an on-the-job training program for the work needed on the offline apartments. The Construction Technology Program at Columbia-Greene Community College was mentioned as a possible source of assistance. Mattice said he had spoken with C-GCC and reported that C-GCC does not have program currently in place to address HHA's needs, but they are willing to work with HHA to develop one. Getting local contractors to do training was also discussed, and it was decided the Rebecca Borrer would contact local contractors to propose the notion having them do training in the areas of general construction, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical. A report on the success of this effort will be presented at the board's next meeting, which will take place on June 9.
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School Budget Vote Next Week

Last week, signs like this one started appearing all over town. Fortunately, most of the signs, unlike this one, actually tell you the date of the budget vote and the school board election: Tuesday, May 18

The first line of the sign--"Your vote matters!"--strikes me as particularly cynical. The 2021-2022 budget is $52,244,404, an increase of $1,559,666 over last year. It is the biggest HCSD budget ever. If the voters were to reject the proposed budget, things will just revert to the contingency budget, which is $1,425,135 more than last year and still the biggest HCSD budget ever. 

Regarding the school board vote, there are three openings on the school board and only one candidate running: Lucy Segar, wife of Nick Zachos, who is just ending his tenure as director of the Hudson Youth Department.

This year as last year, Ken Steffer, who watches the HCSD Board of Education far more closely than Gossips can manage, has shared his views about the state of the Hudson City School District and its proposed budget in an opinion piece, and Gossips is grateful for the opportunity to publish it: "COVID and the Students and Teachers and the Missed Opportunity to Create a Real 'Community' for the HCSD." It is recommended reading before Tuesday.

The polling place for Hudson voters this year is the Central Fire Station at 71 North Seventh Street. The polls are open from noon to 9 p.m.
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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been twelve new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is nine more than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that three more county residents are now considered to be recovering from the virus. There are four more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday. The number hospitalized remains the same. There has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since Tuesday, May 4.

The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 3.5 percent and a seven-day average of 2.3 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 2.3 percent and the seven-day average is 1.4 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported two new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths. The total number of cases was 328, and the number of active cases was 192. There were 177 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 7 were hospitalized, and 1 was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 24.

The Status of the Ferry Street Bridge

In October, it will be seven years since the Ferry Street Bridge was closed to vehicular traffic. 

In April 2016, Mayor Tiffany Martin announced that funds had been secured to rebuild the bridge through the NYS Department of Transportation's Region 8 office. In October 2018, a public meeting was held by Mayor Rick Rector to present the preliminary design for the new bridge. At that time, it was believed that the new bridge was only two years away. But alas, October 2020 came and went, and there is no new bridge.

Various delays and a global pandemic have prevented the original schedule from being met, but progress on the bridge continues. In his monthly report to the Common Council on Monday, Rob Perry, DPW superintendent, provided an update on the bridge. The Advanced Detail Plan will be submitted to the DOT by the engineer next week. Perry commented that when that happens we will be 60 to 75 percent through the process. The next step is the final design, which will involve more public engagement.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health was released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been seven new cases of COVID-19. There are ten fewer active cases being reported today than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that seventeen more county residents are now considered to be recovering from the virus. There are four more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, and one fewer is hospitalized with the virus. No one is in the ICU, and there has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since Tuesday, May 4.

The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday, strangely, of 0.0 percent and a seven-day average of 2.3 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 2.4 percent and the seven-day average is 1.4 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported no new cases of COVID-19 but two deaths. The total number of cases was 326, and the number of active cases was 193. There were 180 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 4 were hospitalized, and 1 was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 22.

Dissent Over the Docks

Last night, the Common Council held a special meeting the sole purpose of which was to authorize Mayor Kamal Johnson to enter into a license agreement with Hudson Cruises for the use of the docks at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. Council president Tom DePietro scheduled the meeting to take place just fifteen minutes before the informal meeting of the Council was to begin because, as he said a good twenty-five minutes into the meeting, he thought it would be a "pro forma meeting." It was no such thing.

In introducing the resolution, mayor's aide Michael Chameides said Hudson Cruises was offering a higher amount of funding for the City--$3,400--and would assist in installing and removing the seasonal docks. He also said they were offering a reduced cost for programming and free rides to the lighthouse during Waterfront Wednesdays. 

Alderman John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward) commented, "We've had problems with this operator before," mentioning that Hudson Cruises "caused trouble" and "used the dock as if it were their private dock." He then asked Chameides, "Why this [proposal] and not one submitted by the Sloop Club?"

In responding, Chameides cited the highest cash amount, the most programming, the option of providing lower cost programming, and a different set of programming and a variety of programming (Hudson Cruises has three different boats). By comparison, the Hudson Sloop Club offered $2,000 in cash and offered to function as an "events coordinator."

Alderman Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward) pointed out that last year Hudson Cruises had received a $1,200 grant from the Tourism Board to pay its docking fee to the City. Alderman Rebecca Wolff (First Ward) observed, "It sounds like the Sloop Club is offering more community programming." Alderman Malachi Walker (Fourth Ward) expressed the desire for a plan that incorporated both Hudson Cruises and the Sloop Club." Chameides responded, "Sounds like a good idea, but I wasn't able to make it work in the time allowed."

After the meeting had run almost twice as long as intended, Alderman Tiffany Garriga moved to go forward with the vote. There were five votes against approving the resolution (Garriga, Rosenthal, Jane Trombley, Wolff, DePietro) and six votes in favor (Eileen Halloran, Calvin Lewis, Merante, Dewan Sarowar, Malachi Walker, Shershah Mizan). The resolution was approved, but that was not the end of it.

Three hours later, at the end of the informal meeting, Wolff brought up the issue again, arguing that the Council didn't have adequate time, and the Council not the mayor's office should have made the decision about who would use the docks. She also said she wanted to revisit the concept of a shared dock. Peter Bujanow, commissioner of Public Works, explained that the selection had been made in a formal RFP (request for proposal) process, and "anything you do has to be in the context of the RPF." Collaboration, he said, was not in the RFP. Jeff Baker, counsel to the Council, noted that this was a license agreement not a lease agreement, so the Council did not have to be the body making the decision. 

Chameides advised, "If the Council wants to take longer and look at the two proposals, it will just be longer before the docks are in the water." 

DePietro asked a couple of times, "Who would change their vote?" Merante seemed to intimate he might when he complained about the "time crunch" and suggested, "Hudson Cruises can offer more money because they got Tourism Board money last year."

In the end, it was decided that Wolff would lead a study to reassess the proposals submitted.
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The Council's Choice

Two resolutions were introduced at the informal Common Council meeting last night. The first resolution would accept $100,000 from the Galvan Foundation for a feasibility study on relocating City Hall to 400 State Street. The second resolution would authorize the issuance of bonds not to exceed $475,000 for alterations to 520 Warren Street, the current City Hall, to achieve universal access. Both resolutions were motivated by the City's need to demonstrate progress in satisfying the terms of its settlement agreement with the Department of Justice.

It will be remembered that the Galvan Foundation has offered to give 400 State Street to the City for use as City Hall. Along with the gift of the building itself, Galvan offered $100,000 for the feasibility study and another $1.4 million toward the renovation of the building. The resolution now before the Council would accept the $100,000 for the feasibility study but would not obligate the City to pursue the project.


Regarding the second resolution, in October 2019, the architectural firm of Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson presented four plans to make 520 Warren Street ADA compliant. The plan the City has chosen to pursue is Plan 3, the least expensive one, which Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson estimated would cost $131,000. Sadly, the City is not considering pursuing the most expensive and most desirable of the four plans for 520 Warren Street--the one that would expose the building's glorious stained glass laylight. The estimated cost of that plan is less than what it would cost to renovate 400 State Street for use as City Hall.

   
In the discussion about the two resolutions, Alderman John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward) expressed the opinion that, given the need to move quickly, "the $475,000 bonding seems like a no-brainer." He said he had been told that the Galvan Foundation had received New Markets Tax Credits for 400 State Street, and the NMTC program mandates that they do renovations to the building before it is transferred to anyone. He opined that 400 State Street would be a "massive undertaking and incredibly expensive for the City to do." This picture, which Gossips took yesterday of the back of the building suggests how massive an undertaking it might be.

Rosenthal suggested that Galvan use the $100,000 to provide rent relief for people who are rent distressed or use it for Galvan Housing Resources "rather than wasting it on a study for us about a building that we won't be able to afford to move into."

Both resolutions were introduced. It will be decided which one the Council will proceed with at its meeting next Tuesday.
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Addendum: Since this post was published, Dan Kent, of the Galvan Foundation, contacted me to provide this information: "Your post today regarding 400 State Street contained a factually incorrect statement from John Rosenthal. Galvan has not received any financing from the New Market Tax Credit program, or any other development financing, for 400 State Street."

Monday, May 10, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since Saturday, there have been eight new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is fourteen fewer than on Saturday, from which it can be inferred that since Saturday, 22 more county residents are now considered to be recovering from the virus. There are fifteen fewer county residents in mandatory quarantine today, but there are three more hospitalized with the virus. None of those hospitalized is in the ICU. There has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since Tuesday, May 4.

The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 2.7 percent and a seven-day average of 2.7 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 2.0 percent and the seven-day average is 1.5 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 6 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 326, and the number of active cases was 199. There were 182 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 6 were hospitalized, and 1 was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 20.

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

As we learned last week, this week sees the commencement of work on the renovation of the entrance to Promenade Hill. 


Here's what else is happening this week in city government.
  • On Monday, May 10, the Tourism Board holds a special meeting at 5:00 p.m. At the board's last meeting, it was announced that Ivy Dane, the board's newest member, would be making a report on the board's financial situation--that is, how much money is left for them to dispense. Click here to join the Zoom meeting.
  • At 5:45 p.m. on Monday, May 10, the Common Council holds a special meeting to consider a resolution to authorize a contract for the docks at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. The resolution is not yet available on the City of Hudson website, so the entity named in the contract is not as yet known. Click here to join the Zoom meeting.
  • Also on Monday, May 10, the Common Council holds its monthly informal meeting at 6:00 p.m. No agenda for the meeting has yet been published, but the link to the Zoom meeting has. Click here to access the meeting.
  • On Tuesday, May 11, Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA) meets at noon. No agenda for the meeting has been published. Click here to join the Zoom meeting. 
  • At 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 11, the Planning Board holds its regular monthly meeting. On the agenda is the continuation of the public hearings on Verizon's proposal to site communications antennas on 119 Columbia Street and the Galvan Foundation's proposal to construct two apartment buildings on North Seventh Street. There will also be a public hearing on the proposal to subdivide the property at 522 Union Street, separating the accessory building on Cherry Alley from the rest of the parcel. New on the agenda is a proposal from PBF Hudson LLC (PBF stands for Pocketbook Factory) for a "mixed-use redevelopment project including a 40-room hotel, retail, office, and gallery spaces." Click here to join the Zoom meeting.
  • On Wednesday, May 12, the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners meets at 6:00 p.m. An update on the board's progress in drafting an RFQ (request for qualifications) for new development HHA plans to undertake is expected at this meeting, as well as a report on the results from a tenants' survey about redevelopment conducted in collaboration with the Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition. For the link to the meeting, go to the HHA website and scroll down to "HHA Board Meeting Times."
  • On Thursday, May 13, there are no meetings, and the weather forecast predicts the day will be "mostly sunny." Take advantage of the night off and the good weather, and dine out.
  • On Friday, May 14, the Historic Preservation Commission meets at 10:00 a.m. Before the HPC is the proposal from the Galvan Foundation to replace the windows at 400 State Street, a subject Gossips posted about most recently here. To join the Zoom meeting, click here.
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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Considering Historic House Museums

Next Monday, May 17, the Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution presents a talk by Patricia West McKay, eminent historian, museum curator, and author, about house museums. What kinds of stories do they tell? What stories do they leave out?


Nineteenth-century museums were typically the creation of women. Those created in the early 20th century were more likely founded by male politicians, corporations, and museum professionals. All of these museum founders were establishing "monuments steeped in the issues of their times." McKay's book Domesticating History: The Political Origins of America's House Museums explored the role of gender and race in American house museums and became an "instant classic." McKay is well known for her groundbreaking work to bring to the fore the lives and labors of domestic servants in historic houses that are now house museums.

McKay is the recently retired curator/historian of the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in Kinderhook. She is co-director of the University at Albany's Center for Applied Historical Research, which works to facilitate broad, democratic access to historical resources and knowledge.

The Zoom event takes place at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, March 17. For more information and to register for the event, click here.

Research Your Home from the Comfort of Home

In February, Gossips reported that the History Room at the Hudson Area Library was digitizing its collection of city directories. That process continues. In February, there were six directories available online. Now, there are nine. The even better news, which we share today, is that the directories are now not just browsable but searchable. The obvious benefit of that is you can find out who lived in your house in any given year in the past or find out what business was located in any building on Warren Street. 

To use the search function, go to the city directories, which can be found here. Select the directory. They are organized by decade. Use "Control" and "F" to open the search box, and then type in what you're looking for. 


If you are searching for addresses, remember that between 1888 and 1889 the addresses on all east-west streets changed to introduce 100 blocks. The best place to find out what a building's address was before 1888 is still the Water Tap Book, which records when every building was hooked up to the City water supply and notes its pre-1888 and post-1889 address. That invaluable resource, which was digitized several years ago and is available on the City of Hudson website, can be accessed here.
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Could Hudson Use a Writers' Room?

Charles and Alexander Karelis, both themselves writers, who in 2012 founded the writers' space in Washington, D.C., now known as DC Writers Room, are exploring opening a writers' space here in Hudson. They are currently seeking input from writers in Hudson and nearby communities to gauge the enthusiasm for "a comfortable, affordable, well-designed writers' space" right here. 

Alexander and Charles Karelis    Photo: The Rogovoy Report

To learn more about the amenities and benefits of what's being proposed and to share your thoughts, click here.

Splendor in the Streets

Yesterday saw the return to Hudson of the Mad Hatters' Parade. Lance Wheeler was there to capture the artful zaniness and graciously shared these images with Gossips. Wheeler's video of the event can be viewed here.





Saturday, May 8, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been fifteen new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases reported today is fourteen more than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that only one more county resident is considered to be recovering from the virus. There are twenty more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, and there is one hospitalized with the virus. No one is in the ICU, and there has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since Tuesday, May 4.

The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 1.6 percent and a seven-day average of 2.2 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 1.1 percent and the seven-day average is 1.3 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported no new cases of COVID-19 but there was one death from the virus. The total number of cases was 317, and the number of active cases was 195. There were 189 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 10 were hospitalized, and 3 were in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 18.

More About the Almshouse Windows

One of the benefits of having a blog like The Gossips of Rivertown is that I have a bully pulpit, and I have no qualms about using it when the cause is one I'm passionate about. Preserving the historic integrity of 400 State Street, a building that has survived for more than two centuries seemingly against all odds, is such a cause.

The building was originally constructed in 1818 as the Hudson Almshouse. The term almshouse sounds charitable and kind, but Wikipedia has this to say about almshouses: "Throughout the 19th century almshouses were a last resort for those who were poor, disabled, and elderly. Residents experienced mistreatment, destitution, and inhumanity."

Except for a period of sixteen years, from 1865 to 1881, when the building was the home of George H. Power, one of the wealthiest men in Hudson in his time, the building always had an institutional use--an almshouse, a lunatic asylum, an academy for young women, an orphanage, a public library. The building, which is individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is now owned by the Galvan Foundation. Galvan seems to be a rather unwilling steward of the historic structure. In January, they offered to give the building to the City of Hudson for use as City Hall.

Last month, Walter Chatham, representing Galvan, appeared before the Historic Preservation Commission seeking a certificate of appropriateness to replace all the windows in the building with windows having a nine over nine configuration. In selecting that window figuration, Chatham rejected the evidence provided by an early engraving of the building, published in Rural Respository during the period that the building was the Hudson Lunatic Asylum (1830-1850). The engraving shows the window configuration to be twelve over twelve--twelve panes, or lights, in the upper sash, and twelve panes in the lower sash, arranged four across and three down, except for the windows on the third floor, which are shorter and each sash is four across and two down.

In presenting his case to the HPC, Chatham argued that windows as they appear in the engraving are not the original windows, theorizing that the original windows were replaced when the building became the lunatic asylum. He has also described the window configuration that appears in the engraving as "grim," "prisonlike," and "frighteningly institutional." Gossips has written two posts challenging Chatham's assumptions. Those posts can be found here and here. Since publishing the second post, I was reminded by a reader that the William Henry Ludlow House in Claverack, built in 1786, has twelve over twelve windows.

Photo: John S. Hirth|Wikipedia
Another reader sent me this photograph of a house currently for sale in Kinderhook. Not only does the original Colonial style clapboard house have twelve over twelve windows, but so does the 1995 fieldstone addition.

Photo: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Blake, Realtors

So much for the argument that the twelve over twelve windows are "grim," "prisonlike," and "frighteningly institutional." 

Since my last post about the windows proposed for 400 State Street, I had a conversation by email with a very knowledgeable architectural historian who told me that nine over nine windows, the configuration being proposed, are "not typical at all for New York State." What is typical for New York are twelve over twelve or six over six. Nine over nine windows are typical in the south, in particular, in Charleston. (It will be remembered that one of Chatham's examples of nine over nine windows was a house in West Virginia.)

My architectural historian source acknowledged that, because of the Charleston-Hudson Steamship Line, some nine over nine windows, manufactured in the Charleston area, made their way to our area. One example is 7 Union Street, which has nine over nine windows and "major connections to Charleston."

Although it is not completely outside the realm of possibility that the original windows at 400 State Street might have been nine over nine, it seems very unlikely. The opinion of my architectural historian source is: "I buy the evidence of the engraving. They did not just make it up, the 12/12."
 
This morning, while driving from the dog park to the farmers' market, I saw something I must admit I had never noticed before. In the west gable of the central part of the building there is an attic window, very likely the only window in the building that has never been replaced in the two centuries the building has stood there. The configuration of the window, which is shorter than most of the windows in the building, is eight over eight--each sash is four panes across and two down, just like the third story windows seen in the engraving. 

The building is offering its own evidence that the original window configuration was twelve over twelve.
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