Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Galloway Gallery: Exhibit 6

This is 202-204 Warren Street, the first on the list of properties owned by Eric Galloway's "Historic Preservation Group."

This building was built as an apartment building around the end of the 19th century. Etched in the surviving glass transom over one of the entrances is the name "Brousseau Bldg."

The building was designed by architect Michael J. O'Connor, who came to Hudson in 1879 and worked here, designing houses and public buildings, for the next fifty years. His work includes several private residences in the neighborhood of the courthouse and throughout the city and many public buildings, including the Allen Street School and the original Firemen's Home, which was demolished decades ago. The Brousseau building was designed to have six apartments, two on each of the three floors. There are two entrances to the building, each with two doors: one door accessed the ground-floor apartment; the other door opened to the staircase that led to the apartments on the upper floors.

Galloway has owned 202-204 Warren Street for a number of years--possibly as many as seven. One of the first things he did after purchasing the building--even before he had evicted all the tenants--was to remove the porticos at the two entrances, which were supported by rather delicate and unusual Corinthian columns. (Of course, it's been a while since I've seen them.) Those who expressed outrage when the porticos were removed were assured by Galloway apologists at the time that (1) the porticos had been removed for public safety reasons and (2) the columns were in storage, presumably to be returned to the building at some future time.

A few years ago, Galloway had a plan to convert this apartment building into two enormous townhouses, with commercial or professional space on the ground floor and living space on the two floors above. The plan involved changing the doorways, installing porticos with columns that were not the originals, and enlarging the windows on the ground floor. I also seem to recall a decorative ballustrade above the cornice--an element that was never part of the original design.

The Historic Preservation Commission spent a lot of time reviewing the plans, suggesting changes, and reviewing them again. After several months, they may actually have gotten to the point of approving the design, but Galloway abandoned the project. I recall the reason given at the time was that there wasn't a market for such townhouses.

Meanwhile, the building's six apartments remain empty, and the ground-floor windows along the west facade are boarded up.


  1. Actually, the HPC explicitly rejected Galloway's plan to disfigure the Brousseau building with columns and oversized, off-center windows on the ground floor. This bold decision, made in the face of lawsuit threats, was one of the best moments of the Hudson HPC's early years.

    It saddens me to see that the HPC's role in saving the Brousseau building has been forgotten.

    - Andrew Rieser

  2. The missing porticos are probably viewable in the Lynn Davis photo series of Warren Street. I always found these porticos exceptional and took great delight in them as yet another wonderful architectural embellishment in Hudsons rich heritage. I was shocked that day when I saw Kevin Walker dismantling them - he said they were going to be restored. Then he explained that they weren't original to the building anyway. Based on a pen & ink aerial drawing of Hudson 202-204 Warren had a commercial space on the first floor. The lintels over the two doorways was proof of a previous window. To a architectural novice this made absolutely no sense - the lintels were for the doors - obviously! Later I learned the drawing they were relying on showed a building at that location decades before the present structure was built.
    So Eric was unable to prove this had a commercial first floor - his weird reasoning backfired - the porticos disappeared probably forever - so the building stands vacant.

  3. Andrew--Please don't assume that I have forgotten the good work done by the HPC in reviewing the plans for 202-204 Warren Street. The story I'm telling is that after taking up enormous amounts of the HPC's time and the HPC working hard to advise the applicant and nurture the plans to a point where they could be granted a certificate of appropriateness, Galloway abandoned the project. It's not the only time he's done something like that.

    Vince--You're right. There are wonderful pictures of the porticos in Lynn Davis's Warren Street Project. Unfortunately, it's hard to get access to those photographs. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have the images digitized?!

    Thanks for telling the story about using a drawing of a building that predated this one to justify inappropriate changes. There's so much lore to share!