Saturday, July 20, 2013

Documenting Hudson Architecture

Back in January, the Historic Preservation Commission was reviewing an application for a certificate of appropriateness to install new windows in the oriel at 721 Warren Street--the Animalkind building. The architect working on the project at that time described the windows at the front of the oriel as "two super ugly holes" and wanted to replace them with windows with muntons.

At the time, Gossips made an appeal to readers for a historic picture of the building, which could guide the decision about what windows would be appropriate for the building by establishing what the original windows looked like. Nothing came of that appeal, and the HPC ended up approving a configuration for the new windows based on a not-too-clear photograph of the building taken in 1985 when all the buildings in the Hudson Historic District were being inventoried for National Register designation. 

That picture was not shared with the public, and it was never quite clear, even to the most diligent and devoted observer, exactly what window configuration the HPC had approved. Gossips got the impression, however, that the windows approved for the front of the oriel had a single mullion, dividing the windows vertically in a manner similar to what is found on the oriel of the building next door.

Today, remarkably, Gossips received a response to the appeal made six months ago. Walter Ritchie sent a detail, taken with his cell phone, from a photograph he discovered recently in the History Room of the Hudson Area Library. The original is a "panoramic" photograph of the 700 block of Warren Street taken at the beginning of the 20th century (1900-1910).  

The hundred-year-old picture shows quite clearly that the front facing windows in the oriel at 721 Warren Street were always large single plates of glass. (There are white shades in the windows; the upper one fully drawn, the lower one partially drawn.) The windows at the sides were double hung sash, also without division. The picture shows, too, that the top window at the side of the oriel was originally arched, like the front window, but that detail has been lost over time.


  1. Wow, what a great find.
    Thank you, Walter Ritchie.
    In Gossip's first photo above ,you can still see the arch on the side top window of oriel,
    although filled in and painted pink. This is what I love the most about Gossips. Great job.

  2. Wonderful
    This shows us, we can guess but we can't know.
    Aren't we lucky to have photos and thank you Gossips and Mr. Richie