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Parrott Hall called one of ‘Seven to Save’ in New York on historic list

List will serve as opportunity to bolster fundraising efforts, and find potential use for historic site

By Josh Durso

Parrott Hall is getting a boost of statewide recognition to help with fundraising and potential work at the historic site.

The Preservation of New York announced its biennial ‘Seven to Save’ list, which includes two projects in the Finger Lakes.

The New York State Barge Canal System and Parrott Hall have been highlighted, as part of the Preservation League’s most at-risk.

“These Seven to Save selections bring attention to fascinating diverse aspects of The Empire State’s rich, eclectic built history,” said Preservation League Seven to Save Committee Chair Caroline Rob Zaleski. “Each threatened site represents a particular approach to engineering and architecture, as well as specific public purpose and sociology.”

Parrott Hall is listed on the National Register and was constructed in the 1850s as the home of Nehemiah and Louisa A. Denton. In 1882, New York State bought the house and converted it into the first NYS Agricultural Experiment Station. The NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation acquired the building in 1974 to create a state historic site celebrating our state’s agricultural legacy. After decades of vacancy, Parrott Hall has areas of deterioration and needs capital investment, while it remains in remarkably good condition.

In early-2018, the Preservation League joined with local and regional partners to form the Parrott Hall Coalition, which includes the Landmark Society of Western New York, Friends of Parrott Hall, City of Geneva, to advocate and fundraise for this important building. This Seven to Save designation will call attention to the building’s statewide significance as a key part of New York’s agricultural heritage.

The distinction is a big deal, according to Bruce Reisch, who serves as Chairman of Friends of Parrott Hall. “The Friends of Parrott Hall are thrilled to hear of Parrott Hall’s recognition on the Preservation League’s Seven to Save list,” he said. “This is an unparalleled opportunity to raise awareness of our historic treasure, and we look forward to continuing efforts to restore Parrott Hall with the help of the League, NYS Parks and the rest of our Coalition.”

“Our 2020-21 Seven to Save list helps tell the story of the many people who made our state unique,” said Preservation League President Jay DiLorenzo. “A sacred burial ground, a vulnerable lighthouse, a reimagined high school, a susceptible beachside enclave, an iconic canal system, a para-architectural installation, an imperiled research center; each site speaks to what makes our state special.”

Erin Tobin, Vice President for Policy and Preservation with the Preservation League, said the most-recent designation builds off of previous recognition by the Landmark Society of Western New York. She called that a regional designation, and the most-recent recognition allows for greater awareness to be raised about the property in Geneva.

“The City of Geneva and Friends of Parrott Hall have made progress with fundraising and a grant from New York State,” Tobin said. “But there is much fundraising left to do. This designation will call attention to the statewide significance of the site and help with visibility and fundraising.”

Tobin says that a potential user of the facility could be found with this recognition.