Thursday, April 25, 2019

Nine Not to Ignore: No. 1

Since 1999, the Preservation League of New York State has published its list of Seven to Save to bring attention to the most at-risk historic buildings and places throughout the state. In the beginning, the list was published annually; since 2010, it has been a biennial listing.

Inspired by the recent loss of two historic buildings in Hudson--211 Warren Street and 620 State Street--and in admiring imitation of the Preservation League, Gossips today begins publishing its own list of at-risk historic buildings in Hudson. There are more than seven buildings on the list; there are nine. So, retaining the alliteration of the League's title but falling short of its catchiness, Gossips is calling the list Nine Not to Ignore. Unlike the League, which reveals all seven sites at once, Gossips will roll out the Nine Not to Ignore list one property at a time, beginning today. 

1 The Robert Taylor House

Generally considered to be the oldest surviving house in Hudson, the original owner of the house, Robert Taylor, was a tanner. His tannery was across the way, at the edge of South Bay, and for this reason the path that ran between his house and the tannery was named "Tanners Lane."

In the early 2000s, there was a fire in the house. After the fire, the owner decamped to live with family in Albany, leaving the house vacant. The family put the house on the market, but having been told it was a unique and very old house, they set a very high asking price and rejected a few offers from people who might have restored it. Finally, in 2011, the house was sold to Galvan Partners LLC for $132,000--less than an offer they were rumored to have rejected several years earlier.

In 2012, Galvan had a plan to move the house from its historic setting at the head of Tanners Lane to Union Street, just below First Street. The Historic Preservation Commission refused to grant a certificate of appropriateness for the move. (That was a very good thing, since another building Galvan said it was going to move at about the same time--900 Columbia Street--ended up being demolished.)

In 2014, repairs were made to the roof, which eliminated the two shed dormers at the back of the house. The work was done without a building permit or a certificate of appropriateness from the HPC.

In 2018, a plan to convert the Robert Taylor House into a tavern was one of five projects involving Galvan properties submitted for DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) funding. The project brought hope for the building's future, but in response to public outcry, all Galvan projects were eliminated from consideration for DRI funds.

Today, the house continues to stand vacant and neglected, as it has for more nearly two decades. The photos below, which show the south wall, the upper right-hand corner of the facade, and the north wall, were taken this morning.

One wonders how much longer the building can stand before the owner is "saddened to announce," as happened with the original Hudson Orphan Asylum at 620 State Street, that engineers have confirmed the building has structural issues that are beyond repair and it is to be "deconstructed" in the interest of public safety. 


  1. Carole, as much as I appreciate your efforts on behalf of historic preservation, I sometimes think you are alone in your efforts. The recent broad daylight massacre of a historic building on State Street shows how feeble our city Historic Preservation Commission has become. It no longer respects -- or follows -- the law that established it and now spends most of its time bothering little guys trying to do good while looking the other way while the fat cats continue their strut with their silly "beyond repair" smirks. I hope our newly invigorated Common Council, as soon as it's freed from assessment purgatory, can look at the HPC. The Taylor House can't wait.

    1. As a Hudson native with appreciation for the architecture and history of the city and structures, I have strong feelings for preservation. As I have written on here in the past, the alleys of Hudson take me back to the early 1900's stories told by my grandfather. And...Partition St is my absolute favorite area. Much history was lost during Urban Renewal when Front and Chapel Sts were eliminated. Let us not allow the massacre to continue.

  2. Why is no one holding this miscreant's feet to the fire? If he has no intention of maintaining this structure, then he should sell it to someone who will care for it and restore it properly. He sold the old library, so he can sell this. Too many people are in Galvan's pocket, and it's got to stop!

    1. If by "the old library" you mean 400 State Street, Galvan hasn't sold that. The only properties Galvan has sold, to my knowledge, are the Allen Street School, now known as River House, and 6 West Court Street.

  3. If he can't get his way he ignores it.

  4. If we avoid the obvious--the Historic Preservation Commission is not doing its job--then we might as well hang up the preservation towel. The People Have Spoken: Do Nothing!

  5. Our Mayor dines regularly with Timothy Eric Galloway, I wonder if he ever has the courage to address the slow demolition of the Robert Taylor House?

    In case you were wondering about the tens of millions of dollars T Eric Galloway has sheltered behind his ruse of "public charity", here are two tax filings:

    Galvan Housing

    Galvan Civic

  6. The current Mayor was once the head of the Historic Preservation Commission. It was he who began the demolition of the HPC by promoting the fiction that the Code Enforcement Officer was the "gatekeeper" for the HPC, which is a fiction and completely contrary to the words and intent of the HPC code. The HPC is supposed to do nothing but decide (with its Certificates of Appropriateness) on the historic merit of a building. The law specifically forbids the Code Enforcement Officer from getting involved in that process.