Project Examples
Larson Fisher Associates

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WRIGHT REIS HOMESTEAD
HISTORIC STRUCTURE REPORT

Somers, Westchester County, New York

Team: Neil Larson with Walter R. Wheeler, architect
Client: Town of Somers
Date: July 2007

Built in the c. 1853, the Wright Reis Homestead has been owned by the Town of Somers since 1972 when the last member of the family died.  The house is an intact and distinctive example of Greek Revival farmhouse architecture in the region retaining many of its original interior finishes and all the family furnishings.  Operated by the Somers Historical Society as a historic house museum, there has been a growing need to improve the documentation of the house and farm buildings so that formal preservation measures can be implemented.  LFA is working with the town on a multi-phase project to accomplish this task.  Funding for the first phase, focusing on the house, has been helped by a Preserve New York grant from the Preservation League of New York State.

Contact: Terry Ariano, Curator, Somers Historical Society, Town of Somers, NY;   914-277-3323
tariano@somersny.com


KENT-VON DER BOSCH HOUSE DOCUMENTATION
330 South Street, Peekskill, Westchester County, New York

Client: City of Peekskill, Community Development Agency
Team:  Jill Fisher & Neil Larson
Date: March 2007

The City of Peekskill began a major riverfront improvement and redevelopment effort in 2006.  As a result, several older buildings faced demolition.  One of the oldest, located at 330 South Street, was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.  As mitigation, the City was requested to document the property to Historic American Building Survey  (HABS) Level II standards, and LFA was contracted for this work.  LFA’s research established that the original section of the house dated to c. 1800 with Jeremiah Kent, a shoemaker, as tenant.  Subsequent owners were also identified, including merchant William Lyons and his family in 1860 and Oscar W. Von der Bosch, a civil engineer, by 1890.  It was the latter who was responsible for the major two-story addition in 1903.  Along with this historical background, floor plans were drawn to illustrate the evolution of the house, and digital photography documented extant historic building fabric as well as the condition of the building prior to demolition.


Period I (c. 1800 – 1829)


Period II (1829 – 1896)


Period III (1896 – 1946)


Period IV (1946 – present)

 

Contact:  Jean Friedman, Planner, Department of Planning & Development, City of Peekskill, NY;  
914-734-4218;  JeanF@cityofpeekskill.com


SCENIC & HISTORIC ROADS STUDY
Town of Cortlandt, Westchester County, New York

Client: Town of Cortlandt
Team: Jill Fisher
Date: January 2007

The Town of Cortlandt, located along the northern border of Westchester County, is experiencing suburban sprawl in areas rich with historic resources.  As a result, the town, in its 2003 Comprehensive Master Plan, established the goal of understanding the impact this could have on historic resources, including historic and scenic roads.  With a grant from the Preservation League of New York State, the town hired LFA to survey its historic roads.  Working with an advisory group, a total of 13 roads were selected for study.  The methodological framework chosen for this study was set forth in the America’s Byways publication, From Milestones to Mile-markers—Understanding Historic Roads.  This approach assured a thorough and objective documentation of the discrete qualities and overall integrity of Cortlandt’s roads.  For each of the 13 roads, LFA recorded distinguishing features with digital photography and detailed notes on tax parcel maps; assessed historic and scenic character; and made recommendations concerning their protection and designation.

Contact:  Chris Kehoe, Senior Assistant Planner, Planning Division - Department of Technical Services
Town of Cortlandt, NY;  914-734-1082;   ChrisK@townofcortlandt.com


TOWN-WIDE RECONAISSANCE SURVEY
Town Of Greenburgh, Westchester County, New York

Team: Jill Fisher & Neil Larson
Client: Town of Greenburgh
Date: January 2007

Greenburgh is a southern Westchester County town with a significant suburban history.  Only a few 18th century buildings remain, though many more 19th century resources exist, which illustrate the spread of residential development outside of New York City.  Country estates, numerous country clubs, and cemeteries were established in the late 1800s, including the renowned Hartsdale Canine Cemetery.  The early 20th century suburban developments that located along commuter rail lines and the Bronx River Parkway were posh addresses.  Later post-World War II housing tracts were developed in the remaining open areas.  At least one, Parkway Gardens, has a significant African American history.  This neighborhood, along with several others, was recommended for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places and local designation.

Contact: Mark Stellato, Commissioner of Community Development & Conservation, Town of Greenburgh, Greenburgh, NY;  914-993-1532;  mstellato@greenburghny.com


TOWN-WIDE RECONAISSANCE SURVEY
Town Of Yorktown, Westchester County, New York

Team: Jill Fisher & Neil Larson
Client: Town of Yorktown
Date: September 2006       

The 2005 Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Yorktown identified a town-wide survey and assessment of historic resources as an action item.  The town obtained a Certified Local Government grant to conduct this work and hired LFA to assist.  Among the over 500 properties recorded were Revolutionary War-related resources notable rural landscapes, high style modern corporate architecture, and as well as mid-20th century housing developments, the significance of which had yet to be assessed.  The survey identified several notable neighborhoods, including the Hunterbrook-Baptist Church Road area, as being likely candidates for both the National Register of Historic Places and local historic designation.  In addition, numerous intact post-World War II housing developments were recommended for designation as Neighborhood Conservation Districts to protect their emerging historic status. 

Contact:  John Tegeder, Director, Planning Department, Town of Yorktown, NY;  914-962-6565;  jtegeder@yorktownny.org


VAN CORTLANDT HOUSE MUSEUM ARCHITECTURAL CONTEXT FOR HISTORIC STRUCTURE REPORT
The Bronx, Bronx County, New York

Client: Historic House Trust of New York City
Team: Larson Fisher Associates for Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, NYC
Date: September 2006

The Van Cortlandt House was constructed in 1748 and survives virtually intact as a rare example of elite architecture in 18th-century New York.  Built for Frederick Van Cortlandt on a plantation known as Lower Yonkers it is an amalgam of English and Dutch construction methods and decorative tastes that exemplifies the cultural blending occurring at the highest levels of Colonial society.  A historic house museum since 1896, this is the first HSR to be prepared for the house.  LFA provided a detailed analysis of the architectural and historical background of this important house.

Contact: Michael Devonshire, Director of Conservation, JHPA, Inc.;   212-759-6462; devonshire@jhpokorny.com


INTENSIVE HISTORIC RESOURCE SURVEY OF THE DULUTH EAST END NEIGHBORHOOD
Duluth, St. Louis County, Minnesota

Team:   Jill Fisher & Maryanne Norton
Client:  City of Duluth
Date:     August 2007

Duluth Heritage Preservation Commission (DHPC) member Maryanne Norton had been collecting information about properties within the “Mansion District” in Duluth for many years but had not formalized it into a standardized form.  The DHPC obtained a Certified Local Government grant and raised the matching funds to contract for an Intensive Survey of the historic resources in the area.  LFA was hired because of Fisher’s familiarity with the city and its architectural heritage.  Working together Fisher and Norton expanded the background research into the first owners and residents of the over 200 properties within the delineated survey area—looking at obituaries, census data and other biographical information.  New information was discovered that enriched the community’s understanding of the historical significance of the neighborhood, complementing what was already known about its architectural importance.  This background will enable the DHPC to nominate the neighborhood to the National Register of Historic Places.

Contact: Robert Bruce, Planning Director, City of Duluth, MN;   218-730-5904;bbruce@ci.duluth.mn.us


DOWNTOWN PEEKSKILL HISTORIC DISTRICT
Peekskill, Westchester County, New York

Team: Neil Larson & Jill Fisher
Client: City of Peekskill
Date: September 2003

The City of Peekskill had already established a local historic district and design guidelines for its central business district but determined that designation of the area as a National Register Historic District would be beneficial. The nomination documented the Hudson River town's importance as an early hub of land transportation routes and showed how this shaped the downtown in the 19th century. The nomination also identified important mid-20th century Art Moderne structures that were previously undervalued for their contribution to the district's architectural significance.

Contact: Jean Friedman, Planner, City of Peekskill, New York, 914-734-4218


HISTORIC DOCUMENTATION OF THE HOFFMAN - DENEGAR HOUSE
Tivoli, Red Hook, Dutchess County, New York

Team: Neil Larson
Client: Donna Brown and Elliott Bristol
Date: January 2003

This historic documentation project was a real sleuthing job involving extensive deed research to determine the date of construction and the builders of this historic home. Concealed beneath a Craftsman's Cottage exterior was an early 18th century Dutch stone house associated with the Hoffman family. Members of this prominent family were key players in the early development of Red Hook, which added to the historic significance of the house. A conditions assessment was an additional component of the report, which provides guidance to the owners for future restoration and rehabilitation projects.

Contact: Donna Brown or Elliott Bristol, 845-757-2233.


MENDON NORTH AVENUE RURAL NATIONAL REGISTER HISTORIC DISTRICT & MENDON CENTER NATIONAL REGISTER HISTORIC DISTRICT
Mendon, Worcester County, Massachusetts

Team: Neil Larson & Jill Fisher (LFA)
Client: Mendon Historical Commission
Date: March 2003

These are two distinct but related nominations to the National Register of Historic Places that were successfully listed in early 2003. Mendon is in the unusual situation of having retained much of its surrounding rural landscapes essentially intact, including eight historic farms extending along North Avenue that provide a pastoral gateway to the village center. The town's proximity to Boston and the increasing development pressure this has engendered suggested that measures needed to be taken to protect these old and rare landscapes. The National Register listings document that these areas are not simply visual amenities or desirable environmental conservation areas, but also have significant historic value based on the 300-year history of their agricultural use.

In addition to its open space, Mendon Center retains the landscape patterns of the 17th century village from which it originated. Yet its most visible significance is as a remarkably intact Federal Period New England village. Between the two nominations, a comprehensive understanding of the community's rich heritage was achieved. Local leaders are actively using this information to ensure that future development respects these irreplaceable historic resources.

Contact: Colleen Conley, Chair, Mendon Historical Commission, Town of Mendon, MA 508-482-9569


CENTRAL STREET HISTORIC DISTRICT NATIONAL REGISTER NOMINATION
Town of Millville, Worcester County, Massachusetts

Team: Neil Larson and Jill Fisher (LFA)
Client: Millville Historical Commission
Date: December 2002

Central Street was the principal avenue of Millville's once thriving industrial community located in the Black Stone River Valley in southern Massachusetts. The industries are gone but evidence of the intermingling and interaction of owners, managers and workers is richly portrayed in the district's many distinctive residences. The project involved documenting over 100 contributing features, constituting about half of the old village. The success of the nomination has strengthened the community's commitment to preserving its industrial-era heritage and led to second survey and district nomination.

Contact: Margaret Carroll, Chair, Millville Historical Commission, Town of Millville, MA Home: 508-883-7079 Town Hall: 508-883-8433 ext. 3

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