Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Guy Lotus Blog: State Historic Preservation Office Never Contacted About Underground Railroad Houses

Here's a posting on Guy Lotus Blog dated today, but based on news that came out a few months ago. The NYC Economic Development Corporation hired a firm called AKRF to study the connections between Duffield Street and the Underground Railroad. AKRF reported back that there was insufficient evidence at this time of Underground Railroad activity, in part because of a NY State Historic Preservation Office determination. But according to State Historic Preservation Office Never Contacted About Underground Railroad Houses:

The New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) had never made a determination on the eligibility of the Duffield Street Houses to the National Register of Historic Places, the country’s official list of historic properties. Not only has the agency not issued an official determination (according to their records), but agency staff was never consulted about the possibility of the buildings being eligible nor did it seem that the agency was ever consulted about the larger Downtown Brooklyn Plan…

“This is a major omission on the part of the City and their consultants. The basis of the Research Report is that these buildings should not be protected because they are not eligible for any kind of historic recognition - a point that the majority of the peer reviewers disputed. That the government agency who is tasked to make this exact determination was not even consulted seems negligent at best,” said Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council.