ALBANY, NY (07/12/2017) (readMedia)-- The Preservation League of New York State will present an $8,900 grant to the City of Amsterdam at 10:00 a.m., July 13, at the Mohasco Power House. The grant will support the cost of an analysis of the structure, also known as the McCleary, Wallin and Crouse Power House. Built in 1903, it is one of the few buildings to survive from the city's once-flourishing carpet manufacturing industry.
Since 1836 when William K. Greene opened his first Amsterdam carpet mill, names like Stephen Sanford and Sons, McCleary Wallin & Crouse, and the Shuttleworth Brothers Company were synonymous with high-quality woven carpets. These mills used the North Chuctanunda Creek to power their machinery. In 1920, a merger led to the creation of Mohawk Carpet Mills, and three decades later, Mohasco Industries was formed. By the late 1960s, however, the company had moved to Georgia, and the power house sat vacant for many decades. It is now owned by the City of Amsterdam.
The City of Amsterdam sought grant funding as part of an effort to establish a walking trail along the North Chuctanunda Creek celebrating Amsterdam's industrial history and natural beauty. A previous grant from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor produced wayside signage connecting the North Chuctanunda Creek Trail with the Mohawk Valley Pedestrian Bridge and Erie Canalway Trail.
Before they could integrate the power house with the walking trail, the City would need to fund a conditions assessment and code analysis of the power house, prioritize a list of recommended repairs to the bridge and power house exterior, and determine a preliminary construction cost. Such a study would allow the city to determine the best use for the power house and offer guidance on staging the stabilization and restoration.
With an $8,900 grant from the League's Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund, the City has retained Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson Architecture and Preservation LLP of Albany to complete the analysis, including the bridge, rooms between the south entrance and bridge entrance, and the condition of the power house's southern and eastern exterior walls. The City of Amsterdam will provide a $500 retainer for Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson.
"We are thrilled to receive this funding and appreciate the support from the Preservation League as part of our ongoing efforts to enhance the Chuctanunda Creek Trail and our City's rich history," said Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa. "This powerhouse building, more than a century old, reminds us of the workers that built Amsterdam. If we are fortunate enough to restore this historic piece of property, it will provide a significant point of interest and a look back to the city's manufacturing and industrial heritage."
The grant is the sixth made from the Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund of the Preservation League of New York State.
"The League is New York's only statewide organization providing comprehensive – and predominantly pro-bono – services to New Yorkers seeking to identify, preserve, protect, reuse, and promote historic resources as community assets," said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. "The goal of the City of Amsterdam – to merge the natural landscape with industrial heritage to leverage community revitalization – is a perfect match for our Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund. We're so pleased to be able to help them realize their goals."
The Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund was established in 2010 and is funded through a permanently endowed charitable contribution from Thomas J. Schwarz. The primary goals of the Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund are to fund professional services for important preservation projects that: illustrate the benefits of the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program, leverage other public and private investments, and enable the League to react quickly to preservation opportunities with financial resources. Previous recipients include the Dnipro Ukrainian Cultural Center in Buffalo; CiviCure in Hoosick Falls; Friends of Fort Plain in Montgomery County; Adirondack Architectural Heritage in Keeseville, Clinton and Essex Counties; and GARNER Arts Center in Rockland County.
As a metal fabricator in Long Island City, Donald Stephen Gratz worked with modern architects, industrial designers, sculptors and furniture designers from Mies Van der Rohe to I.M.Pei to Barnett Newman and Bill Katavalos. But he always had a soft spot for historic preservation and enthusiastically supported the work of his wife, Roberta Brandes Gratz, a longtime Preservation League Trustee. He loved attending League events.
Thomas J. Schwarz, who endowed the fund, is a member of the Preservation League's Trustees Council. He serves as President of Purchase College, SUNY, and is a board member and alumnus of Hamilton College with great affection for upstate New York.
For more information on the Preservation League, please call 518-462-5658 or visit the League's website at www.preservenys.org.