Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Should this Historic Building Be Demolished?

I love old buildings.  They have character, craftmanship, and are a part of our history.

But sometimes, it s time for them to go.  Even if they "have a full market value of" 3.6 million dollars.  And, even if this was considered at one time for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

The old building I am about to talk about has been a part of my neighborhood for some 60 years. (Hmm, almost as old as I am.)  I've written about this building more than once. 

At one time it was one of the largest wood truss structures in the United States.  Yes, right here in my little neighborhood near Johnson City, New York.  When I moved to Westover, it was a GE facility.  It has gone through several defense tenants, starting with Remington in 1942.

It's been vacant since September of 2011. I've written about this building more than once. and since September 9, 2011, this building has experienced The Long Goodbye
Now, the weeds grow, including in the parking lot. 

The building is a lot bigger than it looks from its frontage on Main Street.  It lies on some 27 acres of land.  When I found a "History of AF Plant 59" online, I was amazed to find that there are actually six structures in what seems to be one "building".  The largest one, if I am reading this correctly, is some 612,000 square feet.  Some of it was built in what I found out was "Style Moderne".

Again, hard to see or to take pictures of, because going on the property itself would be trespassing.  I don't have a telephoto lens for my iPhone.

The three tall trees are Bradford Pears, so pretty in the spring. 

The part on Main Street.

Reading about beautiful maple flooring in the history document can almost make you cry, because this flooring, no doubt, was destroyed in our flood of September 2011. 

So, to go back to my title question, "Should this historic building be demolished?" Sadly, the answer is yes.  It can not be restored, and it has been sitting for over two years, to further deteriorate.

Now, after various required studies, the building will be scheduled for demolition.  There is asbestos in there, so it may be a slow process, but demolished it would be.  All we need is a date.

And replaced by what, we still don't know.  My understanding is, they will not be able to put buildings on the property, which is a shame. It would have been (with proper attention paid to the flood situation) a great place, right on a bus line, for a regional Farmers Market.  My guess is, it will be turned into a park.

Your long goodbye is almost over, BAE aka Air Force Plant 59.


  1. I love old historic buildings too. So sad that this one must go.

  2. Aww. It always makes me sad when historic old buildings have to be torn down. But I know that practical reasons sometimes rule the day.

  3. It's always sad to see part of our history crumble. Even worst for the authorities to sanction the removal of a building. Seems like pulling permanent teeth. The gap will remain forever.

  4. Oh no what a shame! Is there nothing that can be done to restore it?

  5. It's always sad when an old building can't be re-purposed. Especially when in such an established setting.


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