Newburgh’s East End Historic District
Posted in Historical Newburgh
Puff of Smoke, by Gifford Beal, hangs at the Art Institute of Chicago. It depicts Newburgh with a view east to the Hudson River
Beal’s family had a country home in Newburgh, known as Wilellyn, where he and his brother, Reynolds Beal spent time. Gifford was a student of William Merritt Chase, and one of his classmates was Edward Hopper.
Note the background buildings along the Hudson River waterfront which were destroyed in the 1960’s by Urban Renewal. Fortunately, the Nomination of The East End Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places helps guard against future loss by encouraging active preservation.
Newburgh, N.Y., the historic Hudson River city located about 60 miles due north of Manhattan, like Manhattan, is defined both by its location on one of the world’s great rivers and its own smaller (by comparison) but also significant role in American history.
Both cities share the prestige of having served as headquarters for General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Both cities also share New York state’s top historic district designation.
Manhattan is easily in first place with nearly 5,000 designated buildings (including thousands in Park Slope, in Brooklyn) and Newburgh is eligible to stake a claim to second place with 2,217 buildings, including Washington’s Headquarters.
Jonathan Hasbrouck House; Newburgh’s oldest building and site of Washington’s Headquarters
In Manhattan, General Washington negotiated terms which brought the 18th century war between the Colonial Army and the British to a close, this happening in December of 1783 at the legendary Fraunces Tavern.
Birdseye View Lower Manhattan Kimmel & Forster 1865; Fraunces Tavern location
The year prior, 1782, saw Washington stationed in Newburgh, a safe spot up river from Fraunces Tavern’s promontory on Manhattan’s upper bay, where British Navy ships posed a constant threat.
Birdseye view of Newburgh, N.Y. T.J. Hughes
Since that time until today, Newburgh has seen numerous boom and bust economic periods from which she has always recovered, and, usually, gracefully. The city derives its shape and architectural development from these times during which Newburghers left their mark on her as well as on American culture in general.
Pioneering artists like Andrew Jackson Downing, changed the way we designed homes and gardens. Artists, like the musicians and dancers of the Alsdorf Family, influenced the way we performed music and danced to the music being played.
Through these boom and bust times, Newburgh, like Blanche Dubois, increasingly relied on the kindness of strangers to maintain her beautiful buildings, parks, and public spaces. Especially, in the last sixty years, as shifts in the economy produced cracks in the infrastructure and edifices.
Appreciative newcomers and long time residents valued the varied historic architecture found throughout nearly all of the city, with the area of most dense concentration in the East End Historic District.
Spanning 445 acres, this East End Historic District of Newburgh has been a part of the National Register of Historic Places since 1985.
In fact, this area is home to the city’s oldest building: Jonathan Hasbrouck’s 1750 stone house the site of the aforementioned Washington Headquarters. Hasbrouck House is the first publicly-owned historic site. Located on Liberty Street (in Washington’s Day, King’s Highway) near the Hudson River, it is open to the public year-round for tours.
Do you perhaps have an interest in Pre-War real estate? How about Pre Civil War? Many of the buildings in the East End have been standing since at least the mid 19th century
Federal style home near Downing Park
Two and three story townhouses abound in areas on or near Liberty Street and Grand Street. In the southeast region of the district, the scenery opens up, and properties offer beautiful views of the Hudson River. In this area you’re sure to see some larger Victorian style houses circa the late 1800s mixed in with Craftsman style bungalows and Italianate villas.
Craftsman Bungalow amidst victorians and italianate villas on one of Newburgh’s streets in the East End District Photo Credit: John Leighton
Residential buildings, though, are not the only properties of architectural significance. The East End District is home to hundreds of local businesses. Broadway historically is Newburgh’s main drag for restaurants, markets, and family-owned, small businesses. We recently detailed a successful retail business on Liberty, Cream, and an old firehouse building on Broadway that has a yet to be decided future on Broadway.
Most of the buildings on Broadway are perfect candidates for the kind of retail experience described in the Liberty Street story about Cream. They are also perfect for mixed use, especially in light of Newburgh’s recent zoning changes, with its emphasis on Live Work. Many are available to rent or buy
Typical Commercial Retail Space on Broadway in Newburgh
Newburgh’s Architectural Review Commission (ARC) is dedicated to maintaining the historical integrity of these older buildings. In their own words, the East End is a “Virtual open air museum of outstanding examples of architectural styles that date back to the 1850s.”
The commission even has a handy guide for residents advising how they may play a role in preserving classic architecture. ARC is a certified agent of New York’s State Office of Historic Preservation (SHPO) in charge of protecting and promoting the enhancement Newburgh’s wealth of culturally significant architecture and public spaces.
First and Foremost ARC emphasizes repairs not replacements when working on homes or commercial buildings. By keeping the original materials, the commission contends, you preserve the original character of the homes as well its aesthetics.
Historic commercial real estate is found throughout Newburgh. This building pictured below feels like it’s in the middle of the English Countryside. In reality this classic, historic commercial real estate building faces the Hudson River and is in the thick of the city. It’s home to the Newburgh Brewing Company, a popular purveyor of ales and beers.
Th Newburgh Brewing Company. Newburgh Has Dozens of Similar Commercial Spaces
Financial incentives: preservation in Newburgh
According to ARC’s website guide “Beyond the personal pride of completing a beautiful improvement and contributing to the revitalization of your neighborhood, New York State now offers a 20% tax credit (up to a maximum of $25,000) for historically appropriate rehabilitation of certain residential properties. Most but not all properties in the East End Historic District will qualify. Projects must meet the following criteria: the house must be owner occupied; at least $5000 must be spent on the project. The plans must be approved by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as well as the ARC. In addition, both residential and income producing properties located in the City’s East End Historic district may be eligible for a 20% federal income tax credit for the substantial rehabilitation (both interior and exterior) of historic properties. For income producing properties, the final dollar amount is based on the cost of the rehabilitation; in effect, 20% of the rehab costs will be borne by the federal government. The credit for rehabilitation work on historic residential structures will cover 20% of qualified rehabilitation costs of structures, up to a credit value of $50,000.00. Houses must be owner-occupied. At least $5,000.00 must be expended on qualifying work, and at least 5% of the total project must be spent on the exterior of the building. For both income producing and residential structures, the work performed must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, and be approved by the Newburgh Architectural Review Commission.”For more information, click here for the NY State Historic Preservation Office
This building received tax credit and financial incentives and conformed to the ARC’s specifications regarding historic restoration and renovation. Read about it here
East End District preservation efforts 2018
Currently, the city and state are making efforts to preserve and rejuvenate the historic architecture of the East End. The history of the East End District is not only significant to locals, but to the nation. In recognizing that, the City of Newburgh is making strides to preserve its cultural significance while offering housing opportunity to middle income families, artists, and veterans.The most recent effort is the Newburgh Core Revitalization Project from development non-profit, RUPCO. This program will turn 15 vacant East End buildings into 45 apartments for rent. “People are moving here, there’s interest again here and all of the river cities in the Hudson Valley have to come back,” RUPCO CEO, Kevin O’Connor, told Spectrum News. “Anytime we have the opportunity to re-purpose abandoned buildings, to treat things with historic respect, to create affordable mixed housing, then that’s our mission.”
The Newburgh Waterfront Bustles In Summer, Is Quiet In Winter
Affordable apartment units in East End Historic District available in February 2018
RUPCO’s website says the units are beginning to rent now: “The first series of apartments are coming online February 1 in Newburgh’s historic East End. Be the first to live in these newly renovated rentals in a five-block radius. They are just off Broadway on Lander, First, South Miller, Dubois and Johnson. We’re bring 44 apartments to life and Safe Harbors is managing the resident end on our behalf. Complete your application through Safe Harbors of the Hudson’s website here or call (845) 562-6940 ext. 141 for more information. You can also stop by their offices at 111 Broadway, Newburgh and fill out the paper application right there. Apartments include a space for every sized household.”