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Home » » Biennial list from the Preservation League of NYS highlights the most at-risk historic places across the state

Biennial list from the Preservation League of NYS highlights the most at-risk historic places across the state

Written By Editor on 5/17/22 | 5/17/22

Since 1999, the Preservation League has highlighted New York’s most endangered historic sites through its Seven to Save program. The League works closely with local advocates over the course of the two-year listing and beyond, raising visibility, assisting with advocacy, and providing extensive technical services.


“The individual sites included on this year’s Seven to Save list embody key preservation issues affecting places across New York State,” said Preservation League President Jay DiLorenzo. “From the negative environmental impact of senseless demolition to bringing little-known, but important, histories to light, the League is excited to work alongside on-the-ground advocates to save each of these seven at-risk places.”




Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church, Watertown, Jefferson County | Press Release

  • Built in 1909, this African American church, whose original congregation had ties to the Underground Railroad, has been without an active congregation since 2012. Working with local stakeholders to find a use that will best serve its community today, this modest building has the potential to educate and inspire in Watertown, throughout the North Country, and beyond.

Genesee Valley Park, Rochester, Monroe County | Press Release

  • The woodland buffer of Genesee Valley Park is an original aspect of the Frederick Law Olmsted’s design, but it is under threat by a proposed development plan. This Olmsted bicentennial year provides an opportunity to articulate a preservation ethic regarding under-valued historic landscapes, and the League will work with local stakeholders to advocate for proper stewardship of this important piece of Rochester’s historic park system.

Proposed South of Union Square Historic District, Manhattan, New York County | Press Release

  • While the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has cited the architectural and cultural variety of the area as a reason why the neighborhood shouldn't be landmarked, this variety and vibrancy are precisely what make the proposed South of Union Square Historic District such a vital resource to preserve. Our colleagues at Village Preservation have designed and led the campaign for landmark designation and the League is eager to join them in this work.

Penn Station Neighborhood, Manhattan, New York County | Press Release

  • New York State's Empire State Development Corporation’s proposed Pennsylvania Station Civic and Land Use Project (the "Penn Area Plan") would demolish multiple blocks of historic buildings in the vicinity of Penn Station. Thousands of people will be displaced, and the negative environmental impact of such senseless demolition would be astronomical. Empire Station Coalition, a group of concerned community organizations, banded together in 2020 to fight the proposed Plan. The League is eager to join them.

Downtown Oneonta Historic District, Oneonta, Otsego County | Press Release

  • Historic preservation can serve as an economic life raft for upstate cities like Oneonta, but the public perception of preservation is a challenge for community buy-in. The League is eager to work with the City of Oneonta to provide outreach that engages a broad audience to help clarify the benefits of preservation and their historic downtown.

Willard State Hospital, Romulus, Seneca County | Press Release

  • State hospital complexes like this one pose a particular set of challenges and can be seen mirrored at similar locations across the state. Considering the future of Willard now is vital to preserving an important part of New York State history before long-term vacancy causes the remaining buildings to deteriorate past the point of no return.

James Brooks / Charlotte Park Home & Studios, East Hampton, Suffolk County | Press Release

  • Artists James Brooks and Charlotte Park were at the forefront of the Abstract Expressionist art movement of the 1940s and 50s. Their home and studios in East Hampton are an important physical link to this history. Overdevelopment is a major issue on Long Island, and the preservation of this site provides a chance to not only save a vital part of local history connected to a groundbreaking American art movement, but also a pristine natural landscape. First listed by Preservation Long Island on their 2021 Endangered Historic Properties List, the League’s listing follows close behind the inclusion of Brooks-Park on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2022 11 Most Endangered List, underscoring the truly national importance of this site.


“Alleviating threats and in some cases outright saving these seven sites from demolition will make for challenging approaches,” said Preservation League Seven to Save Committee Chair Caroline Rob Zaleski. “The Preservation League staff are up to the task, as has been shown with the Seven to Save program’s remarkable 20-year track record in forming partnerships to help save and protect historic resources in New York State. Our selection committee chose to feature a diverse range of sites: a small African American church reflecting optimism and ingenuity; a Frederick Law Olmsted park during Olmsted’s bicentennial year; three urban districts – rife with history and varied important architecture; a recently closed 400-acre State hospital complex on Seneca Lake; and lastly a wooded site in Eastern Long Island, where the extant studios of two important Abstract Expressionist artists wait to be restored for public view.” 


The League collaborates with property owners, elected officials, and other stakeholders to craft preservation strategies and put these plans into action. Through partnerships with groups and individuals, threats to dozens of at-risk buildings, landscapes, downtowns, and neighborhoods have been reduced, and in many cases, eliminated by the Preservation League’s Seven to Save listing and subsequent actions. Click here for a complete list of every Seven to Save listing, from 1999-present.

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