Thanks to the diligence of Rick Rector, chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, we know in advance what will be coming before the HPC tomorrow morning. As Gossips reported earlier, the elevator tower at the Hudson Opera House is on the HPC agenda for tomorrow. Another agenda item--actually two--involves the demolition of what is perhaps Hudson's most quirky and intriguing architectural element: the surviving wall of a Dutch vernacular house that was here when the Proprietors arrived in 1783.
Gossips told the story of this wall a year ago: a damaging fire; the valiant attempt by Bill Ebel and Jeremiah Rusconi to salvage the house; the tragic realization that the house could not to saved; the discovery that the house next door was truly "infill" and its side walls were the walls of the adjacent older houses.
When the 18th-century house was reluctantly demolished in 1993, the west wall of the house had to be left standing. A family owned the little infill house and lived there, and they couldn't do without one of their house's side walls. Today, however, the infill house, 124 Union Street, is vacant and owned by the same person who owns 122 Union Street, the house that provides the infill house's west wall.
The current owner 0f 124 Union wants to demolish it, and with it the surviving wall of the ancient house must go. The consideration of these applications for certificates of appropriateness--one for the demolition of the infill house, the other for the demolition of the ancient wall--will prove an interesting task for the Historic Preservation Commission and one that should probably involve input from the community in a public hearing.