“Listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated a city landmark, the old Federal Building is considered a fine example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. No one’s particularly interested in using it, however, because inside it’s dark, gloomy, usually uncomfortable and just plain ramshackle. Blow it up. It’s an ugly thing…and not particularly interesting inside or out…It should be demolished. A modern, tax-producing building would be a better use for the site and would give more new life to that section of downtown…”
Those were some of the thoughts printed in a series of newspaper editorials from 1969-1972. When the new Federal Building was built on State Street, the old building was left behind – seemingly without a good reason to live…
Luckily, good sense prevailed. The following is an account from Rochester History: Rochester’s City Halls of how the old Federal Building became Rochester’s new City Hall:
Update On Zoning & Preservation Code Changes…
And in an update to a related story, you might remember that Mayor Richards had been seeking to change Rochester’s zoning and preservation laws to make easier for buildings to be demolished. After those documents were leaked on RochesterSubway.com, neighborhood leaders across the city voiced their disapproval and the administration has backed down – for now.
According to the Landmark Society, changes to the preservation code have been tabled for at least six months (possibly a year). Minor changes may be made to the zoning code but any changes in the future will be vetted through the preservation community first. And any future changes will continue to allow for a 3rd-party landmark nomination; something the City had tried to do away with in a previously “leaked” draft. The Mayor’s office and the Zoning Director did not return my requests for comment.
Tags: Church Street, demolition, Federal Building, Fitzhugh Street, Landmark Society of Western New York, National Register of Historic Places, preservation, preservation code, Richard Margolis, Richardsonian, Rick U., Rochester, Rochester City Hall, Rochester history, Rochester NY, Romanesque, State Street, Times-Union, zoning code
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