Preservationists to Pursue Landmarking of 238 Carlton
January 10, 2018
Contact: Olivia Cammisa-Frost; 852-3300
WHO: Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Task Force, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, members of the community
WHEN: January 10, 2018; 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: 238 Carlton Street (corner of Locust)
The Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Task Force and Preservation Buffalo Niagara invite members of the media to learn about efforts currently underway to preserve 238 Carlton Street and all of the historic architecture of the Fruit Belt for future generations.
In 2016, the Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Task Force was awarded a grant from the Preservation League of New York State to undertake the first ever Cultural Resource Survey of the neighborhood. Funds were matched by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus who is also acting as the fiscal agent for the grant. Preservation Studios was hired in the summer of 2016 to oversee this work, and the Survey is expected to be completed this summer. Results of the survey will be used to identify and protect important resources within the community. In addition, the Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Task Force has been working to ensure that no needless demolitions are undertaken. Recent successes include working with Roswell Park Cancer Institute on efforts to save 907 Michigan Street, and passage of the High Street Historic District, protecting three buildings at the intersection of High and Carlton Street.
238 Carlton Street parallels the development of the Fruit Belt, built circa 1876 by Peter Knapp at the height of the building boom in the neighborhood. Mr. Knapp, who was then residing with his family (who had emigrated from Germany to Buffalo in 1834) around the corner at 200 Locust Street, built the building as a grocery store and residence, and it continued to operate as a grocery store and deli for 93 years. 238 Carlton Street is a fine example of a subset of Italianate Style architecture, which finds Italianate detailing added to the simple front-gabled rectangular box popularized by the Greek Revival Style. While this style is popular here in Buffalo, it accounts for only about 10% of surviving examples of Italianate stylings nationwide. 238 Carlton Street is accented by its cast-iron storefront columns and other character defining features such as a wide overhanging eave, many of its original full-arched 2:2 windows, and its original unique decorative stepped frieze with fleur running trim.
The property became vacant in approximately 2000, and the current owner, Borderland Advantage purchased it in 2017, just after a fire damaged the rear portion of the building. Despite repeated assurances that the building would be repaired, stabilization work has not commenced and the building may be headed for an emergency demolition by the City of Buffalo if not repaired immediately.
Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Housing Task Force leader Veronica Hemphill-Nichols stated: “We have been working for a number of years to preserve and protect the Fruit Belt community for future generations. Outside property owners should not be allowed to drain assets from the community and simply walk away. We are calling on the owners of this building to make the necessary repairs and prevent this building from becoming yet another vacant lot in the Fruit Belt.”
Sydney Brown of Buffalo’s Black Chamber of Commerce says: “What a shame that the charm and character that Buffalo is known for is to be demolished in this fashion. The materials of 238 Carlton, like so many other properties in Buffalo are more durable, the technique to assemble and construct this property and others are of a higher quality than what is being built today and should be preserved. Today's buildings will not last 100 years and many won't make it to 50 years. We want a community that, like so many other Buffalo communities, capitalizes on its unique character and interesting architecture. We don't want cookie cutter neighborhoods with just a different color paint.”
Jessie Fisher, Executive Director of Preservation Buffalo Niagara stated: “PBN believes that all communities and neighborhoods deserve to have their historic resources protected. We are committed to providing encouragement and support to all organizations and individuals to identify, evaluate, and protect their resources. The preservation of community fabric is not just about interesting architecture, it is about creating strong, healthy neighborhoods. According to recent research by the Preservation Green Lab, Buffalo neighborhoods with a higher percentage of older, smaller, character-filled buildings are more diverse, are younger and more dense, and support 70% more minority and women owned businesses than neighborhoods filled with larger, newer buildings. We have been working with the Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Task Force for nearly three years to support preservation of the Fruit Belt neighborhood. The loss of any more buildings in this neighborhood is likely to mean that we cannot get National Register status for the Fruit Belt, so this demolition doesn’t just effect outcomes for that particular corner, it affects our ability to create a district that would allow homeowners and small business owners access to additional resources to build community, self-determination, and wealth.”
Paul McDonnell, Chairman of the City of Buffalo Preservation Board stated: “I am pleased to announce that the Preservation Board will be considering 238 Carlton Street as a Local Landmark as part of our ongoing work to ensure that important resources are protected and neighborhood character retained in all of our City’s unique neighborhoods. We are looking forward to working with the owner of the building to ensure that the building is restored.”
Prominent local attorney Richard Lippes confirmed that he had been retained by the Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Task Force and Preservation Buffalo Niagara to explore any and all legal avenues to ensuring that the building is protected for future use and development. “It is clear that this building is worthy of landmark protection, and I will be assisting the community to ensure that we don’t end up with one more needless vacant lot in the Fruit Belt.”
For more information, please call Olivia Cammisa-Frost at 852-3300 or email her at email@example.com