Message - ArchitectureWeek - 2002.0911

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Posted by  Jeanne Casatelli on September 11, 2002 at 20:35:27:

Dear Editor of ArchitectureWeek

We are writing to your respected magazine because we badly need a media spotlight on our situation as our local press never bucks the status quo and the done deal-why bother attitude that is erasing our region's assets instead of incorporating them in new development for true progress. We are also trying to find a lawyer or a preservation minded business person or politician who will help negotiate a win-win outcome for the developer and our community at large.

Can you help by doing a story on our grassroots effort to save our heritage? We promise you we have a good case and a vitally important story that would unmask the hypocrisy of our state leaders and hopefully end the terrible waste of our resources.

Please advise if you are interested and I will send you more information perhaps after a conversation? For now we share the following:

The site threatened is called the DeFreest-Church House. Renovated in 1995, it is currently used for offices, but the original structure, built circa 1830-1840, maintains a degree of historical and architectural integrity and is eligible, as mentioned, for inclusion on the State and National Registers of Historic Places due to its "association with events that have made a significant contribution to broad patterns of history, i.e., the Anti-Rent Riots which led to the end of the feudal tenant system in New York State and its association with lives of significant persons, i.e., Colonel Walter S. Church and the DeFreest family, a prominent family in the history of Rensselaer County."

In addition, architecturally, the town historian has confirmed this site is a "very intact, rare, surviving example of a mid-nineteenth century, mixed use, Greek Revival style home" and "one of very few documented examples of its type to survive."

Our plan would make it adorn the entrance to Target and continue its existence as a rentable, taxpaying, useful space that would also draw tourists and potential customers for the store. With your help, this could be a very historic turning point in New York - putting this state in the forefront of community building in the nation.

Thank you very much for your time and kind attention.


Jeanne Casatelli
member Community Action Network

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