Two Elmira Properties Recommended For Addition To Register Of Historic Places

June 20, 2022

ALBANY – Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced that the state Board for Historic Preservation has recommended adding 23 properties to the State and National Registers of Historic Places and making one crucial amendment to the documentation of another. 

The nominated properties include two Buffalo schools where a local Black Power organization developed its own curriculum, a Catskill retreat for Jewish elites, and the facility of a Western New York Prohibition-era bootlegging company. The state Board has also recommended adding documentation of the slaveholding activities of the Revolutionary War general, U.S. Senator, and prominent regional landholder Philip J. Schuyler to the designation of his Albany home and state historic site, Schuyler Mansion.

Here in the Southern Tier, recommended properties include  the Goff, Way, and Brand Leaf Tobacco Warehouse, located in Elmira.  The building was designed by noted architect Joseph Considine, who trained in the office of well-known regional architects Pierce and Bickford. Built in 1908, the three-story brick and timber-framed structure served as a processing warehouse for a prominent tobacco packing company until 1928 and has remained largely unaltered as a visible reminder of the Southern Tier’s once thriving tobacco industry.

Also recommended was the Abel Stowell House, also located in Elmira. This ca.1850 wood-frame home is an intact, well-preserved example of transitional Greek Revival/Italianate residential architecture reflecting historic styles once popular, but now rare, in this Elmra neighborhood. According to the registration application, the builder of the home is unknown, but may have been built by Stowell himself. Abel Stowell and his wife, Elizabeth, lived there with their daughter and six sons. When Stowell died in 1886, the house was bequeathed to his daughter, Rachel, and son-in- law, John E. Larkin, who was a prominent photographer at the time. Since then, the building has served as a law firm, a beauty parlor and more, as well as a private home. 

State and National Registers listing can assist owners in revitalizing properties, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. Over the last decade, the state has approved the use of rehabilitation commercial tax credits for more than 1,000 historic properties, driving more than $12 billion in private investment.

Once recommendations are approved by the Commissioner, who serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer, the properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register.

“In New York, our diversity is our strength and I am very excited to see New Yorkers across the state are so actively engaged in preserving our heritage,” said Governor Hochul. ”These diverse additions to the historic registers will help ensure resources are available to protect historic sites so that the past can continue to inspire us today — and into the future.”