Whitehall Organization Wins Technical Assistance Grant

Whitehall Skene Manor Preservation Project Secures $2,100

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Skene Manor in Whitehall.

ALBANY, NY (08/28/2013)(readMedia)-- The Preservation League of New York State has awarded a Technical Assistance Grant to a group directly engaged in the stewardship and public use of a historic building in Washington County. A $2,100 grant to Whitehall Skene Manor Preservation, Inc. will support the cost of an engineering structural analysis of Skene Manor, an 1874 mansion perched on a bluff overlooking the Village of Whitehall.

Built for U. S. Supreme Court Judge Joseph H. Potter, the mansion was designed by Philadelphia architect Isaac H. Hobbs, and constructed by local contractor A. C. Hopson. Construction took place from 1872 to 1874 at a cost of approximately $25,000. The building was constructed of gray sandstone quarried from Skene Mountain by stone cutters from Italy.

Listed on the National Register in 1974, the mansion had fallen into disrepair when it was purchased by a group of concerned local citizens. The not-for-profit Whitehall Skene Manor Preservation, Inc. operates the mansion as a house museum. TAG funds will support a structural analysis of the porte-cochère, which is pulling away from the main building. Structural engineering firm Ryan Biggs Associates of Clifton Park will complete the project.

"Whitehall Skene Manor Preservation is very grateful to receive this grant to study the architectural structure of the porte cochere at Skene Manor," said Catherin Manuele, the group's treasurer. "Our group is administered solely by volunteers, and all monies earned are restricted to building restoration. Since Skene Manor Preservation was established in 1995 our goal has been to restore this beautiful building to its original stature in the community. This study is vital to its restoration."

The Preservation League of New York State launched the Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) program in 2012 to support discrete projects that preserve New York State's cultural and historic resources. Grants of up to $3,000 are available to not-for-profit arts and cultural groups and municipalities managing historic sites, museums, arts facilities and other culturally important institutions that are located in historic buildings and structures open to the public.

"In a very competitive grant round, applicants sought funds for technical studies to be carried out by preservation and design professionals which included building conditions surveys, engineering and structural analyses, and feasibility and reuse studies," said Erin Tobin, the League's Regional Director of Technical and Grant Programs in eastern New York. "The Preservation League is delighted to help advance the efforts of the Whitehall Skene Manor Preservation Project with this grant."

Guidelines for application for the second of two grant rounds in 2013 are now available on the League's website. Applications must be received by September 16, 2013. A total of $11,553 is available statewide for the fall funding cycle, and funded work must be completed by the end of the calendar year. Each grant recipient must provide a $500 match and the cost of the project may not exceed $3,500.

The Preservation League of New York State is a private, not-for-profit organization that works to protect and enhance the Empire State's historic buildings, landscapes and neighborhoods. The Technical Assistance Grant Program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

"The TAG program builds on the record of excellence the League has established with the similarly NYSCA-funded Preserve New York Grant program," said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. "Our TAG program fills a significant funding gap. It is tailored to provide support to worthy projects in New York that are ineligible for grants from other sources, or may not have the scope or scale to compete at regional and national levels."

The following received TAG support in the first funding round of 2013: Montgomery County (2): Friends of Fort Plain; Mohawk Valley Collective; New York County: Lilac Preservation Project, New York; Niagara County (2): Heritage of Hope and Service, Inc., Niagara Falls; Tonawanda's Council for the Arts, North Tonawanda; Oneida County: Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, Utica; Ontario County: Victor Historical Society, Victor; Orleans County: Cobblestone Society, Albion; Saratoga County: Universal Preservation Hall, Saratoga Springs; Schoharie County: Town of Jefferson; Steuben County: Save the Lyon Commission, Inc., Bath, Suffolk County: Eastville Community Historical Society, Sag Harbor; Washington County: Whitehall Skene Manor Preservation, Inc., Whitehall.

For more information on the League's Technical Assistance Grant program, please call 518-462-5658 or visit the League's website at www.preservenys.org.