Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not to Be Missed

W. T. Eckert has a long article in today's Register-Star about T. Eric Galloway, his partner Henry van Ameringen, and their plans for Hudson: "Galloway seeks to have impact on city." Many would argue that Galloway has already had an impact on Hudson, although it is not generally agreed that the impact has been good.

The article reveals some interesting bits of information: 
  • Galloway and van Ameringen are establishing a foundation dedicated to Hudson, which will be headquartered in 400 State Street, now the Hudson Area Library.
  • General Worth's birthplace (211 Union Street), the Robert Taylor House (which the article refers to as the "Dutch House"), and 400 State Street "will be among the buildings held by Galloway and Van Ameringen's Foundation"--in perpetuity--although it is not clear, except for 400 State Street, for what purpose. 
  • Galvan Partners recently bought the Little League baseball field on Hudson Street for $60,000 from the Hudson Elks Club, "which was in need of resources to operate their organization," and made a commitment to fund the operation of the field for the next ten years.
  • Galloway and van Ameringen see their work in Hudson as having three parts, which Galloway describes in the article in this way: "We know it is going to have the historic buildings or the social and architecturally significant buildings, which we will keep in perpetuity for the benefit of Hudson. [So far, those are General Worth's birthplace, the Robert Taylor House, and 400 State Street.] And we know that we will continue to develop or improve properties that will have a positive impact on the vibrancy of the streets and neighborhoods of Hudson. The third element is to contribute and support local organizations who provide services to the residents of Hudson and that will be through direct contributions though [sic] non-profit organizations."
One sentence in the article stops abruptedly, with one or more words missing at the end: "Galloway and Van Ameringen both recognized the controversy surrounding them for their work and their use of the word restoration regarding their work, but they were pessimistic about  ."

Exactly what, one wonders, are they pessimistic about? 


  1. Just when it was getting interesting...

  2. And just why exactly is the impact of keeping our housing stock from falling apart not good?
    While everyone would love everything to be restored to perfection, unless you can explain who is going to do that, or where the money is going to come from, there is no need to criticize developers that are doing the best they can to both revitalize Hudson AND restore things to the best of their ability and resources. They've done the work that nobody else has been willing or able to, they should be commended for that. It's time we start supporting those who are helping the community instead of throwing stones, or we will all go down together.

  3. Many people renovate their houses and protect the housing stock here without controversy. And on far smaller budgets than those to which Galvan apparently has access.

    Single home owners may not get it perfect, but their contributions to Hudson's fabric are generally respectful, or at least individualistic and limited to just one or two properties.

    The more legitimate concerns one hears about the Galvan projects are that:

    (A) their historicism often seems rather ersatz -- passable to the untrained eye, but actually often mistaken or even bastardizing of the forms they imitate;

    (B) sometimes insensitive to neighbors and unfeeling for the community; and

    (C) that whatever else a developer does, Hudson's uniqueness has been built house-by-house, slowly, and organically, so any single entity who imposes their vision on dozens of properties (whether Eric Galloway or Phil Gellert or some of the speculators of the past) generally is viewed with a gimlet eye.

    I would add to that that Galvan has been involved with demolitions and warehousing of certain properties that don't exactly strengthen the argument that it is enhancing the housing stock.

    To me the greatness of Hudson's infrastructure (which so clearly captivates many people on the very first visit) is that it has passed through many hands, many generations, and many individuals. Very little of what has survived the test of time comes via developers or master planners. Indeed, many of the biggest, most regretted blunders have been made by those who overreached.

    --Sam P.

  4. A thought for all: Had the structures in question been maintained properly, their original historic fabric preserved correctly, there would be no controversy today. But they were not.

    In fact these treasures were neglected, many to the brink of total loss. Where were the naysayers and detractors then? Certainly not buying up this precious stock and caring for it. Certainly not.