Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Is Time Running Out?

Early in 2019, the building at the corner of State and North Seventh streets was demolished. As the original home of the Hudson Orphan Asylum, the building was of great local historic significance.

The building had been owned by Eric Galloway or the Galvan Initiatives Foundation since 2006, and it figured in plans for transitional housing and "entry level" affordable housing floated in 2012 and 2014 respectively. The development of which this building was to be a part was dubbed "Galvan Quarters."

Although a portion of the building was demolished in 2010, without a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission, and a new roof was put on the building, similarly without a certificate of appropriateness, at some point between 2012 and 2014, plans for restoring the building were never pursued, and in March 2019, it was demolished. Dan Kent of the Galvan Foundation made this statement at the time:
We are saddened to announce the need to deconstruct our building at 620 State Street in Hudson because of public safety concerns. We began taking down the building today.
Before making this difficult decision we commissioned extensive reviews from engineers to confirm the building cannot be saved. The engineers concluded that the building is unable to be rehabilitated without posing extensive risks to construction workers and the general public. Unfortunately, the structural issues are beyond repair despite our significant investments in stabilizing the building.
Now there's another building in the Galvan inventory that time and gravity may be claiming: 22-24 Warren Street.  

This building, which at one point was two buildings, is located on one of the few blocks deemed to be of historic significance during urban renewal back in the 1970s. Galvan acquired the building in 2012 from its previous owner, Shiloh Baptist Church.

In March 2018, this house was among five proposals made by Galvan for DRI funding. The promise was that it would be developed for affordable housing. Also in March 2018, 22-24 Warren Street was one of the buildings included in Galvan's commitment to creating 29 units of affordable housing in the next two or three years. It's included in the list of properties to be developed for affordable housing that appears in Hudson's Strategic Housing Action Plan

In July 2018, the HPC granted a certificate of appropriateness to the plan for restoring the building, which reimagined it as a house of textbook Federal design.

In July 2019, Dan Kent told Gossips in an email that work on the restoration of 22-24 Warren Street would begin "in the fall," but that didn't happen.

It appears that 22-24 Warren Street may be moving up on Galvan's to-do list. In November, Walter Chatham appeared before the HPC on behalf of Galvan seeking a new certificate of appropriateness for the proposed restoration. (The previous one had expired.) Although it is not known when work on the house is expected to begin, it is possible it may have been put off for too long. Yesterday, a reader sent Gossips this picture of the rear of the house, taken from Prison Alley, and shared the opinion that the house may now have passed the point of restoration.



  1. If this house gets demolished, neighbors should prepare for a conspicuous mess left behind just as Galvan did at the orphan asylum nearly two years ago. What's there now? Several concrete barriers supporting a tall chain link fence along both sidewalks, and large piles of bricks where the building once stood. Passers by see it as the trash dump it is and add to it. It's so charming, and such a boost for the neighborhood -- I hope it never goes away. But who will tell Galvan that leaving demolition debris behind is a violation of code 97-3 G? Not Craig Haigh, our head of Code Enforcement ("Galvan plans on using the bricks," he told me in 2019 when I filed a complaint), nor my alderman, Calvin Lewis, who apparently works for Galvan and who, in person, I showed the violation to long ago.
    This kind of community-killing negligence only occurs in cities that have become dysfunctional and are resigned to that fact. When the decay sets in, ignoring quality of life issues become becomes acceptable and THE NORM at City Hall. On the bright side, the blight seen at 7th and State isn't as likely to be accepted on Warren Street, even on its first block. But that is another sign of dysfunction at City Hall -- the on/off Warren dichotomy -- fit for a future posting.

  2. What is the fine for action taken without a certificate of appropriateness?

    1. Nothing. Look at the corner of 4th and Warren. the 'proposed' hotel standing there for 10 years. On either side buildings were taken down without Historic Preservation approval leaving a gaping hole on Warren and another on 4th Street. That one was so dangerous with leftover debris that the City did have to get the owner to cap the mess, but the sidewalk was rubble for years.

  3. when i had a compromised old house in Kinderhook, i called Woodford Brothers to fix the whole building. there motto in those days, "if its still Standing, we can fix it".
    for my job, a 3500 sq foot house, they prepared a clear estimate. they came with a carpentry shop in a semi trailer truck, and did the job in a week.

    this building can be saved, if someone really wants to do it. the point is to preserve these unique and rare buildings. that is what makes Hudson the town it is today.

    here is their website.

    1. And the orphanage on 7th Street could have been saved too, as could the very old house on upper Columbia Street near the hospital.