Vauxwatch is a regularly updated list of endangered architectural and landscape design work created by Calvert Vaux and his contemporaries. CVPA will use Vauxwatch to highlight these significant sites in order to help insure their preservation for future generations to appreciate.
Nominations to Vauxwatch will be accepted all year – round. Nominations from organizations or individuals are welcome. In order to nominate a site for consideration, a brief history of the site and a description of its current plight along with at least one recent and one historic jpeg image should be provided via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org – please allow up to 60 days for a response. Be sure to provide complete contact information of the nominating organization or individual.
Newburgh City Club (Culbert House) – Newburgh, NY
The Newburgh City Club, originally the Culbert House, is a rare 1851 – 52 design by the tragically short lived partnership between Vaux and A.J. Downing. The house was designed for a prominent Newburgh doctor, William A.M. Culbert (design #22 entitled “Suburban House With Curved Roof” in Vaux’s book, Villas and Cottages), and was expanded after the Newburgh City Club acquired it in 1904. The building was restored in 1975 – 76 only to have its interior gutted by a suspicious fire in 1981. The Newburgh City Club still sits today in front of the south end of the Newburgh Free Library. The exquisite concave roof is completely gone, as are the majority of the building’s exterior design elements, yet its basic structure appears to be sound and restorable. CVPA would love to see this contributing building to Newburgh’s Montgomery – Grand – Liberty Streets Historic District fully restored and an adaptive reuse found that will benefit the City of Newburgh community and its struggling economy.
Dutch Reformed Church – Newburgh, NY
Newburgh’s Dutch Reformed Church is an outstanding example of Greek Revival architecture designed by A.J. Davis in 1835. It is an imposing structure that faces southward down the Hudson from the north end of the lot that also contains Vaux’s Newburgh City Club.
Unused as a church since 1967, the structure’s exterior has suffered severely, although the interior remains largely intact. The building was given National Historic Landmark Status in 2001 (see David Schuyler’s ceremonial remarks in the Historical Documents section of www.calvertvaux.org). The Newburgh Preservation Association delivered the Historic Structure Report on the building in 2003 and proceeded to execute numerous repairs, particularly to the foundation and drainage system. In 2005 the building was also named by the World Monument Fund to their worldwide list of “100 Most Endangered Sites.” In addition, the main sections of the church’s Ionic columns have been restored and an exterior lighting system added for nighttime illumination.
Currently, a first priority should be the repair of the collapsed interior ceiling, which has been laying on the floor of the church for more than 2 years. This has been a disgraceful way to treat A.J. Davis’ masterpiece on the Hudson.
The City of Newburgh could base an entire, thriving economy on its extraordinary historic heritage, which prominently features its treasure trove of architecture….
Hudson River State Hospital – Poughkeepsie, NY
Designed by Frederick Clarke Withers and completed in 1871 with accompanying landscape by Vaux and Olmsted (plans designed in 1867), the Hospital’s central structure, known as the Kirkbride Building, was, according to Architectural Historian Francis Kowsky, “the first significant example in the United States of the application of High Victorian Gothic design to hospital construction.” It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1989 and sustained a devastating fire to its south wing in 2007. The building has been listed as “threatened” by the National Park Service. After numerous delays and at least 2 owners, our understanding is that the current owner is proceeding with plans to develop the site for multiple residential, commercial and retail uses. CVPA’s intention is that the remaining portions of the original Withers design is preserved and that the integrity of the Vaux and Olmsted grounds plan remain intact.