BATAVIA – While preserving the historic integrity of a house built 140 years ago, the Genesee / Orléans Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction has advanced its mission of helping people in recovery by opening five permanent apartments.
And the members of the City of Batavia Historical Preservation Commission could not be happier.
“It’s wonderful that they made the effort to keep the original details of the house – the stained glass, wood paneling, woodwork and fireplaces,” said Sharon Burkel, President of City HPC. “Being able to bring him back to a useful part of the community and maintain the history of the house is exceptional.
Burkel and his City HPC colleagues Connie Boyd and Caroline Hosek recently visited the home at 434 E. Main St., which is part of the GCASA campus along this stretch of road. All three said they were delighted with the renovations.
“I am so impressed with the work that has been done, and especially happy to see the things that have been maintained that were original to the structure, such as the original moldings, mantels and hardwood floors. It’s just amazing work, ”Boyd said.
Hosek agreed, praising “the efforts that have been made to restore the building to its original glory and provide such a valuable service to families in need of support.”
GCASA Executive Director John Bennett said the agency had its work cut out for it when it took over the project, which will provide low-income housing under the supervision of case managers from its residential program. . Three apartments are on the first floor and two on the second floor.
“It was in really bad shape, really falling apart,” Bennett said. “The porch planks were literally falling off the ceiling and sagging. We redesigned the interior respecting the historic character of the building. We rebuilt the porch, installed new kitchens, restored the fireplace and had the house repainted.
Bennett said the goal was to be “good stewards” of the house.
The list of general construction tasks is important, including:
m scrape and repair all plaster walls, paint walls and trim;
m replacement of several kitchen cabinets and accessories and existing vinyl floors with new vinyl flooring;
m replace bathroom fixtures and vinyl flooring and deteriorated wood windows with double hung vinyl windows of the same size;
m finishing wood floors, installing new carpet or vinyl as needed;
m repair and maintenance of plaster curls on ceilings and smaller stained glass and stained glass windows, which have been re-glazed and painted;
m repair the porches, rebuild them to preserve the woodwork and historic woodwork;
m repair the exterior by pressure washing, scraping and painting with colors that match the existing color palette.
According to the Architectural Heritage of Genesee County, the property was apparently purchased in 1855 by Batavia brewer Eli H. Fish but – according to county tax records – the house was built in 1880. The house was significantly expanded when Charles Hough purchased the property of the Fish Estate.
For many years this was the home of his son, Arthur Hough, and his wife, Colleen. In 1957 it was bequeathed to the Genesee Community Chest and two years later that organization sold it to Lewis Root. In 1964, the Batavia Industrial Center became its owner and served as an office / apartment complex.
GCASA purchased the house in May 2019.
Due to its distinctive architectural styles, Queen Anne and colonial revival, and its contribution to a district of high historical significance, the house was designated a historic monument on December 6, 2000 by the Historic Preservation Commission of the City of Batavia.
Burkel, who has been involved with the City HPC since its inception in 1996, said a project like this is at the heart of the council’s mission.
“That’s what we are all about it,” she said. “We have nominated 46 properties and we meet as a committee whenever we need to sort out something with the properties, like giving them certificates of suitability for any work they wish to do on the property.”
She thanked GCASA for maintaining the architectural integrity of the entire block of houses, including its main office at 430 E. Main St. and other agency buildings.