Community rallied to keep Old Stone Store in Clarendon
Many people feel historic preservation is just too difficult, especially when the building you are trying to save has suffered neglect and abuse. I hope that by relating this story about the Clarendon Stone Store, others will be encouraged to save more of our historic properties.
The 177-year-old building is now listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. It has been vacant since 2007. Plans had been made for its demolition. But community members told the Town Board that they didn’t want to lose the iconic building that holds many memories. The Board listened and sanctioned a volunteer organization known as the Old Stone Store Preservation Committee.
The committee raised funds through donations, removed debris from the property, made necessary structural repairs, publicized that the property was available and documented the building and its history, which led to the listing on the Registers of Historic Places.
They worked with the Landmark Society of Western New York to raise awareness of the potential of the site. They conducted many tours for prospective buyers and kept the building in the public eye through various media outlets. None of this required any financial support from the Town.
The committee identified Joe and Sue Fertitta of Hilton as the best potential new owners to bring the building back to life. They have a strong reputation as rehabbers of distressed properties. The Town Board agreed with their plans to make a large two bedroom apartment on the second floor and have commercial or office space on the first floor. They also plan to restore the front porch based on historic photos.
The Town had taken ownership of the property and planned to demolish it to avoid the cost of repair and upkeep. By selling it to the Fertittas for $1, the cost of demolition will be avoided, the property will contribute to the tax base and Clarendon retains a historic building that will once again be an attractive part of the hamlet.
The committee thanks everyone who showed their support for saving this building. This is a great example of what a community can achieve when they work together.