Sadly 69 Liberty has been marked for demolition after the tornado in May. The owners of Calabash, Ruddy and Debbie, really built up this corner to be something special. It was particularly exciting because this building had been in disrepair and empty for years. With a bad roof and a distant landlord, the tornado was the cherry on top. I’m not an engineer, but if renovation was possible at 2 Liberty Street, why not this building?
There’s an empty lot across the street where a factory used to be. It is now used as a parking lot. Hopefully, this corner lot doesn’t become just another empty space, we have so many of those already.
If you are interested in renovating your own property in the City of Newburgh, definitely attend this meeting!
New York’s Historic TaxCredits can help people provide safer and healthier homes for their families, and protect business investments for generations to come. Plus, the taxcredit is an effective economic development tool – providing an incentive to invest in older structures, stabilizing neighborhoods and creating local jobs for skilled workers.
If you have ever visited Washington’s Headquarters, you might have passed the historic AME Zion Church on Washington Street right in front of the municipal parking lot. An article and video published in the Times Herald-Record on May 28, 2018, announced that the local congregation is considering tearing down the church, and the adjacent structure to take advantage of two empty side lots they have purchased to build 50 affordable apartments.
When examining this area contextually, there has been much loss of historic buildings. In the last decade alone, half of East Parmenter Street and other surrounding buildings have been demolished due to deterioration from neglect, and the municipal parking lot wasn’t always an empty space, it used to be a factory. It should also be of note, that just steps away at 135-137 Washington is a men’s shelter. The Clinton Hotel isn’t far behind from completely collapsing – all of this steps away from one of Newburgh’s richest assets, Washington’s Headquarters.
Orange County Historian, Johanna Yaun, wrote about the historical significance of the building in her newsletter:
In 2020 Newburgh will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’s jubilee march along Washington Street. The leaders of the AME Zion Church used his appearance to mark the passing of the 15th Amendment, which granted voting rights to African American men. By 1870 the church had already become a symbol of liberty, nicknamed “the freedom church” thanks to its associations with the Underground Railroad.
Although the 1905 structure that stands now is not the modest house of worship built by the congregation’s founders, and not the same walls that reverberated the booming voice of Frederick Douglass from the pulpit that’s still used today, this building is a symbol of the grand strides of the African-American community in Newburgh as they passed on the flame of civil advocacy for centuries.
In an age when the American public is making an effort to remove monuments of oppression and contextualize historical symbols in our society, why are we not looking to preserve and elevate the symbols of the struggle for equality? This church would have been an incredible source of pride and progress at a time when “separate but equal” was the law of the land. As a monument, this building combats offensive cultural symbols from the past. It doesn’t put any one person on a pedestal, recognizing that true progress comes from the strength of the right to assembly. Also, it gets away from isolating one date or accomplishment, acknowledging that the struggle for equality has been sustained through generations.
The Newburgh Community Land Bank is trying to save the shell on 33 Lander Street. They are accepting feasible proposals completed along with this form. Basically, you should view this as their last plea to save the structure before it would probably need to be demolished. For all your preservationists out there, spread the word before this ends up like 290 Liberty Street!
According to the RFP:
“Newburgh Community Land Bank took ownership of 33 Lander Street in December 2014. Since that time, we have had numerous engineers and contractors review the property but have not been able to identify a feasible plan to restore it. Our formal engineering report recommends the removal of the building. The building is completely collapsed on the interior, the roof is collapsed, and the brick is deteriorated from the weather. That report is attached to this RFP.
Prior to proceeding with any plan to salvage materials and make redevelopment plans, NCLB is soliciting proposals for any person or entity with an implementable, fundable proposal to preserve the existing shell and bring the property back to productive use. Any proposal to restore the property will need to be accompanied by evidence of available funds. It is NCLB’s estimate, based upon experience working with similar buildings (deteriorated shells etc), that the costs to remove the material and restore the building will exceed $700,000. Any successful proposal would have a timeline shorter than 24 months or proposed timeline and justification for additional time.”
The white house that was on the corner of Fullerton Avenue and South Street is no more. Tax records confirm rumors that Central Hudson bought the property to build some sort of control station. The purchase price was $35,000 in December 2015. Last week while driving by it was striking to see the house being torn down, floor by floor. An old Zillow listing shows the house was vacant with boarded windows and peeling paint. The listing details that water removal was likely needed in the basement.
It’s still yet to be determined what the replacement structure will be. However, look at the comparison of what was there, and what we are left with. Corner properties are gateway entrances into neighborhoods. Instead of seeing a quaint white house (granted in need of repairs) with a large tree, what you will see is a barren lot, probably to be replaced with a cold concrete structure with a chain link fence.
The days are numbered for 68 Campbell (map). At the recent city council meeting, it was announced that this building will be demolished as soon as the city receives a variance and has chosen a contractor.
This really does not come as much of a surprise. I photographed the building in 2010 as a Rescue Me property. Then in 2012, I found it on eBay listed at $15,000. Fast forward to today, 2017 it appears there was a fire that was started possibly from 4th of July fireworks. Upon further inspection, the city found that most of the bluestone lintels on the building had been stolen. Their removal compromises the building as it holds floor joists and supporting elements of the building together. DPW, the fire department, and the city engineer all determined that the building must be demolished to protect the public. Till then, the sidewalks of Campbell and Johnston have been blocked off to pedestrians. The City of Newburgh is the property owner.