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Village of Hammondsport up for historic designation by Board for Historic Preservation

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the New York State Board for Historic Preservation has recommended adding sixteen properties to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The nominations include a Puerto Rican casita in New York City, a historic firehouse on Long Island, a Catskills summer camp for Black children from Harlem, the Lake Champlain home of a film industry pioneer, and a new historic district featuring the Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna.

“These nominations showcase the New York spirit of innovation, adaptation, and community building that has existed for generations and continues to inspire us today,” Governor Hochul said. “Adding these sites to our historic registers broadens our understanding of New York history and encourages us to learn more about our diverse, collective past.”

State and National Register listing can assist owners in revitalizing properties, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and incentives, such as matching State grants and federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits.

The only local nomination was the Village of Hammondsport Historic District, which is a cohesive collection of almost 450 architecturally intact resources spanning from 1823 to 1975, including residential properties reflecting Victorian, Queen Anne, Classical Revival, and Craftsman styles, as well as kit homes with American Foursquare design.

The history of the village, which is located on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes region, is deeply connected with the history of the Erie Canal and the historic wine industry, both with roots to the 1820s. There is a common visual theme of wine and grape motifs referencing the area’s history of wine production and reflecting the village’s tourism industry, which continues today. The village was also the manufacturing site for Hammondsport native Glenn H. Curtiss’s refinement and production of aircraft.

Curtiss is credited with developing and successfully testing the first seaplane in 1911. The Curtiss Aircraft Corporation held test flights for its aircraft on Lake Keuka from 1910-1916, and a flight school was established locally to train test pilots. Both the wine and aviation industries in this village had an enormous impact on New York’s economy and made significant contributions to American cultivation, industrial, and military history.