Community activist, artist, historian, and preservationist, Dana Saylor, is working on a new project that she says will digitize the City of Buffalo’s collection of crumbling historic blueprints. Apparently, there’s a great need to preserve these important documents, and no one has stepped up to lead the directive… until now. In order to move forward with this daunting task, Dana is hoping to enlist the help of others. She is doing this by bringing her “Buffalo Blueprint Project” to the Tri-Main lobby (2495 Main Street), Tuesday January 30, from 10am to 1pm.
At the event, Dana will be exhibiting imagery of significant historic Buffalo blueprints, which are part of the city’s collective heritage. The project is still in its infancy, but the plan is to create a comprehensive archive of blueprints that will help to tell the story of this city’s incredible building stock. Hopefully, this project can lead to an effort that would see the restoration and organization of significant blueprints that are crucial to preserving Buffalo’s architectural legacy.
So how is Dana going about doing all of this?
“The City’s collection (in their on-site vault and one offsite storage location) consists of blueprints that were submitted to the department of permits and inspection over the years (1890s-present) by homeowners, commercial owners and architects for all kinds of structures,” she says. “It definitely includes demolished structures but also those that still stand. Only a few trusted researchers and architects are allowed access to the collection in person because there have been thefts and damage.
“What you have is a disorganized, damaged, and non-conserved collection that desperately needs attention. When some of them were taken offsite (I believe in the 90s) and put in climate controlled storage they still weren’t flattened and placed in proper boxes. PLUS the bin storage numbers don’t match those in the ledgers at City Hall, so, much of the time they can’t even retrieve what they have. It’s incredibly frustrating and I intend to correct it, starting with the oldest and most fragile, which are the most challenging to digitize of course – because they will probably require photography rather than scanning. Over the past six months, I’ve been meeting and taking with experts, taking workshops, recruiting interns, and forging partnerships. I’ve toured scanning companies through the vault and talked to potential funders.”
What a great project! And one that should be duly supported. To learn more about how you can help with this charge, consider attending Dana’s upcoming event. The Facebook event page can be found here.