Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Preservation Watch: 123 Union Street

In March, 123 Union Street was granted a certificate of appropriateness for a new roof and work on the cornice to eliminate molding added in the late 20th century and restore the original profile. There was no mention of work on the front door. So when the outer door and the door surround disappeared recently, it attracted attention.

It appears that the original door surround is being replaced by a newly fabricated reproduction of what was there. That's reassuring, but it raises the question of whether architectural elements with age and authenticity can simply be removed and replaced with newly fabricated replicas without any oversight from the Historic Preservation Commission?


  1. Perry Cooney submitted this comment:

    Why does he do this? Just restore what is appropriate and in keeping with the magnificence of this building. Incidentally the ground floor of this house is insulated underneath with white clay, now gray--only time I've seen this.

  2. He lives in Hudson under his own rules without fear of retribution ... because he can.

  3. So right Vincent, so sadly right.

  4. A Gossips reader submitted this comment:

    The replacement of the door system of 123 Union is one of the worst violations, to my mind, of Eric Galloway, and I find it inexplicable. 123 Union is a rare and very fine federal house, and one of its glories was the door system, which was well preserved, and merely needed to be stripped and repainted, and perhaps some repair, and have the columns that originally would have flanked the door put back. Instead, the entire original woodwork has been removed and they are putting in a new door system, which even if it duplicates accurately the original one, is not the same. And I doubt very much that they will duplicate the original one exactly, rather it will be an ersatz Greek Revival invention.

    I think that many people don't understand the importance of these door systems, which were made by the finest carpenters and equal the fine furniture of the time in the quality and design that went into them. It was the one place that ornament and resources were lavished in otherwise relatively austere facades. The whole point of 123 Union is that it was a very high quality Federal house that preserved its many original details, and the door system was one of them. While the interior was much changed, it still preserved its original elegant staircase, but that is not part of the public view.

    People have been upset with Eric Galloway for years, making much of things that actually weren't of grave concern to me. I wish a different approach had been taken to the General Worth house for example, but it was in poor condition, and it has been restored to a Federal appearance. The Armory houses were tear downs to most people, and he is restoring one of them, the other will be rebuilt, and function as a home for people again. I think that 123 Union is a different category, and gives a lie to Eric as a preservationist, and to Hudson having a historic Preservation ordinance. He had a chance to restore something fine, and he threw it away. And the city has failed to enforce its own laws.

    It's a shame.

    1. Wow, unknown comment writer.
      Your last three lines ,says it all.

    2. He does not restore, he renovates