Maybe someone from the State Historic Preser- vation Office can explain why the Hubbard House in Brooklyn (seen in before and after photos here) was deemed eligible for National Register status despite having been drastically altered, yet St. Saviour's Church in Queens, which basically suffered limited fire damage and was later clad in aluminum siding, was rejected for not being "intact" enough. Waiting with bated breath....
Photos from Brooklyn Museum
That is because, old boy, they are a sham. I cannot think of any other right we have that must first be approved by a local politician like community preservation.
What is next? Our voting rights? Free speech rights? Of course not, you say!
Really? You take one right, and have it contingent upon a politician (who in your case has no background or even appreciation of the topic) then just where do you draw the line?
If they state law is capriciously applied, like the city law, then it should suffer the expected fate of the city law: a process should start, as is happening for the city law, to overturn it too.
The SHPO is full of SH-- !
(They've got the first two letters right at least) !
If (grossly altered and recreated) Fraunces Tavern or Onderdonk House (in Queens) can be rebuilt AND LANDMARKED after they burned down.....so can St. Saviour's be restored (or rebuilt from scratch if necessary)!
Having worked in a SHPO office, it looks pretty altered to me... which would put it out of the running for eligibility here. However, it is possible the building isn't eligible for architecture but for its associations with significant people or events. These are points that aren't as readily visible as eligibility for architecture alone.
By the way, folks who work in SHPO offices aren't politicians - they're not elected officials, they're hired. You might want to actually ask them about why this place is eligible. It might have a fascinating and locally important story to tell!
Reconstructed properties can be listed in the National Register if they meet particular and rather stringent criteria.
Finally, regarding voting and free speech rights being endangered - have you been reading the news lately?!? Wake up!
Maybe someone from queenscrap can explain why it's necessary to belittle the efforts to save one historic building in order to save another. Talk about hypocrisy...
--John Antonides, Hubbard House owner
Dear Mr. Antonides,
No one here is belittling your effort to designate the Hubbard House. We are in support of it and commend you for it. Rather, we are criticizing the process by which SHPO & LPC designate sites. What is good for one site is not good for another, it's subject to their whim and not a set of real standards. It all has to do with whether or not there is developer money attached to the site flowing into the coffers of your local elected officials. In your case, it wasn't, and that's a good thing.
As another poster commented, SHPO and the National Park Service do follow a set of standards when they make their designations, and those standards do not have to do with exterior appearance alone - THAT would really be subjective.
Here's a link to a page showing the standards: http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/listing.htm
There probably are very interesting reasons why this building was designated - while I don't know the details myself, from the photo it appears to be a rare survivor from a very early period and that would mean SHPO can be a bit more flexible about the alterations.
Right, but those same standards were thrown out the window when it came to St. Saviour's. This is the point being made here.
The SHPO follows the marching orders of politicians even if they themselves aren't in the politico business directly.
They can be ON THE TAKE (just like the LPC) when the situation demands it !
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