Thursday, March 18, 2010

What to do if your Contractor died 100 years ago?

This past Monday (March 15th) we had our Spring gathering of Preservation boards and Commissions. It was an extremely successful event with attendance of over 70 people. We had people from six counties in Western New York. The participants list not only represented people from local preservation boards and commissions but also from Canandaigua's Planning board and a rural community Town of Bethany, south of Batavia. In addition to all the participants we were fortunate enough to have our colleagues from New York State Historic Preservation Office in Albany, Bob Englert and Chris Capella Peters.

Before the formal presentation, we had a mix and mingle hour, where attendees were presented with the opportunity to discuss the initiatives and activities of their boards and commissions with others. Followed by this was our formal presentation by Jerry Ludwig, architect, columnist, and our key speaker. He started his talk with a metal piece - a construction part with pipes and asked "what is it?" We got some interesting responses; it was basically a plumbing pipe for a house with a cistern from the late 19th century. He told the audience: don’t believe Lowe’s or Home Depot if they tell you that we don’t have this part. You won’t believe that even in today’s day and age we have specialized artists who use the right techniques and building parts to best suit your historic house. Jerry, along with input from architect Virginia Searl, talked about appropriate building materials and approaches, how preservation is most sustainable, and how you should never believe the myth behind the energy savings from vinyl windows.

Along with Jerry, we had six other craftspeople, including Steve Jordan- window repair specialist and contributing editor to Old House Journal, Kurt Catalano- slate roof and copper flashing specialist, Jim Turner- mill working specialist, Patt Clancy from Morse Sash and Door, Ken Wilson from Rochester Colonial, David Keefe from Green Mountain Window and Door Co. from Vermont. All these craftspeople bought wonderful samples of their works and products. In addition to all this, all the attendees received wealth of information in their packages focusing on the U.S. Secretary of Interior Guidelines and Preservation Briefs.

Overall it was a great evening with lots of information and new friends. We would like to thank the Town of Irondequoit for our wonderful venue, with special thanks to their newly appointed Town Supervisor Mary Joyce D’Aurrizio, who shared the significance of historic preservation, her passion for historic architecture and how she enjoys living in her family home from mid-19th century. Last but not the least, we would like to thank all our attendees for their time and making this evening a success.

We hope to see you again in our Fall gathering.

Posted by Nimisha Thakur, Preservation Associate