Saturday, November 7, 2020

Friday Morning with the HPC

Phil Forman, who chairs the Historic Preservation Commission, began yesterday's meeting by observing, "With so much going on in the world that is complicated, confusing, and, in the case of the virus, kind of terrifying, the good news is that Hudson keeps on trucking. We've got eleven applications before us." Gossips will report on the most interesting of those.

Back in the 1970s, during Urban Renewal, the center house in this trio of identical houses was "remuddled." It's not entirely clear what the changes were meant to accomplish, other than trying to make the house appear more "modern," but the plan is now to put the house back the way it was, using the houses on either side as a guide.

What is proposed is restoring the original fenestration of the second floor and the bay. It was also agreed that the bay would be returned to its original three-sided configuration not the five-sided configuration introduced when the picture window was added. The applicant said the intention was to retain the vinyl siding now on the house, but HPC member John Schobel noted that much of the vinyl siding would have to be removed to do the work proposed and asked the applicant to consider removing it all and repairing what's underneath.

It appears from the elevation drawing submitted with the application, that the window hoods, still present on 109 Union but absent on 105, will also be replicated. Chip Bohl, architect member of the HPC, called the proposed restoration "honorable and considerable" and declared, "Hallelujah!" 

Coincidentally, since it was one of the Galvan properties featured in a recent Gossips post, 22-24 Warren Street was on the HPC's agenda this morning. The HPC had granted a certificate of appropriateness to the proposed facade alterations to the building in 2018, but, since the work was not done in a timely fashion, a new certificate of appropriateness is needed.  

Although the HPC had granted a certificate of appropriateness to the facade alterations in the past, there was significant discussion about the proposal to center the door and make the facade more symmetrical. Prior to Urban Renewal, there were two buildings on the site.

The house was one of the buildings included in the facade easement program undertaken during Urban Renewal. Paul Barrett, historian member of the HPC, told his colleagues that a report by historic preservationists involved in that 1970s program indicated it had been determined at that time the building had originally been one building. For that reason, it had been reimagined as one building in the 1970s and labeled "Federal Period Architecture." The date of its construction was estimated to be 1795, ten years after the City of Hudson was incorporated. 


The HPC agreed to grant a new certificate of appropriateness on the condition that detailed specs for the proposed six over six double hung windows be provided.

Another Galvan property before the HPC this morning was 25 Union Street, a house that has stood vacant for close to twenty years and has been owned by Galvan since 2011. 

Walter Chatham, who was presenting the project on behalf of Galvan, posited that this was a very old house, "almost medieval," and its original design was inspired by architecture in Nantucket. Based on this premise, the proposal was to strip off the Italianate door and window ornamentation, likely added in the mid-19th century, and redesign the doorway based on something seen in a book on Nantucket architecture--to make it, in the words of Chatham, "what a harbor house in early Hudson would have been."

The HPC wisely rejected that proposal. Bohl called the details proposed to be removed "all characteristic of Hudson, if not characteristic of Nantucket" and added, "That doesn't apply here." Schobel recommended, "Rather than redesign what may have been, restore as much as possible." 

In the end, it was decided that the application was incomplete. During the review of the proposal, it was revealed that the house, when last occupied, had been a two-family house. It is being restored to be a single family residence.

Another project of interest on the agenda was 432 Warren Street, a building that made Gossips' list of "Nine Not to Ignore" last year. 

Photo: Zillow
The building is to get a fourth floor, set back so that it is not visible from the street, a re-created storefront, guided by an 1888 photograph of the building, and a complete restoration.

When the restoration is complete, the building will contain retail space and seven apartments. 

Needless to say, the HPC was enthusiastic about what was proposed and granted the project a certificate of appropriateness.

The HPC meeting also yielded a bit of interesting intel. A new sign was approved for 136 Warren Street, where Vico used to be. A new restaurant will be opening there soon, specializing in "classic Arabian food reimagined": Bistro Mashriq.

Click here to view the entire HPC Zoom meeting on YouTube.

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