As we begin a New Year filled with the usual promises of weight-loss, exercise routines, new careers or whatever goals we all set for ourselves; it is prudent that we remain focused on old, unfinished business as well.
If not already obvious from the attached photograph, I am referring to 102 Johnson Park.
Unfortunately, and much to my own dismay, the very mention of this property seems to provoke a form of electronic Treats' Syndrome and if we possessed audible links to our readers there would be a cacophony of shrieks-of-anguish, gnashing-of-teeth and frenzied double-clicking on to the next, less tiresome, editorial.
Yes, I am beating the proverbial dead horse to death. However, perhaps if someone had played the role of the protagonist over White's Livery Stable we would not be looking at a pile of rubble and listening to promises of a rebuilt facsimile of a building that is more than fifty-percent demolished due to greed and deferred maintenance.
I know there are many other examples throughout the City of Buffalo and the list is endless. I happened to mention on an Artvoice blog two-years ago that the bell tower of St Mary's on the Hill appeared precarious at best and could remain standing for another decade or collapse within a few days. Ironically, the bell tower collapsed a week later.
94 Northampton is a classic example of a Victorian Stick where David Torke of Fix Buffalo was able to secure vintage photographs of the house taken in 1906 and the building was truly exquisite. Unfortunately, the building is dangerously close to imploding into its own first floor and should be turned over to Michael Gainer of Buffalo Reuse for deconstruction before it is too late to reclaim any of the architectural salvage that may be worth saving.
16 Harwood Place, which is known as Lyth Cottage, in reference to the clay tile manufacturing company that once occupied the site and supplied the material for building this unique home is yet another example. This petite building has been granted a slight reprieve as a previous attempt to renovate entailed basic roof repairs. Unfortunately, for reasons that I do not know, the project was never completed.
Harwood Place is a dead-end street that runs perpendicular to Jefferson Avenue and there are three other homes directly across the street from Lyth Cottage. One is a classic mission-style bungalow that was probably purchased from the Sears & Roebuck Company back at the turn of the last century.
I did have the opportunity to present this building to Habitat for Humanity as a potential candidate for rehabilitation but the organization was deterred by the Masten Districts building codes requiring exterior renovations to be architecturally correct to the original specifications.
However, it is Johnson Park that remains one of the most intact 19th Century neighborhoods within the City of Buffalo and the loss of even one such building as 102 Johnson Park would tear a hole into the fabric of this neighborhood unlike any other.
It is paradoxical that a city, which requires a permit to install a new hot water tank, cannot enforce basic housing code violations.
This lack of logic screams our beginning editorial cliché: "What is wrong with this picture?"