Preservation Foundation Executive Director Samantha Bosshart said: “While this unique structure has suffered from a lack of maintenance over the years, it can be saved and continue to contribute to the remarkable group of buildings that make up Saratoga’s Franklin Square Historic District.”
The Preservation Foundation recently hired Donald Friedman P.E., Adjunct Assistant Professor of Historic Structures at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Principal of Old Structures Engineering PC to evaluate the building. He concluded that while the building has been damaged by weathering and improper interior demolition, it is not currently unsafe and can reasonably be repaired.
The Winans-Crippen House at 66 Franklin Street, built in 1871, is a contributing structure in the Franklin Square Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Franklin Square area contains a collection of 19th Century structures whose architecture documents the growth of Saratoga Springs as one of America’s most important resorts.
The Winans-Crippen House, built for David Winans, a local merchant, and subsequently owned by George Crippen, owner of a dry goods business and later a women’s dress manufacturer, is a unique example of a Second Empire style townhouse built on a narrow city lot. The house was designed by prominent Saratoga Springs architect John D. Stevens, who also designed the now lost United States and Grand Central Hotels on Broadway. It is one of a handful of structures designed by Stevens remaining in Saratoga Springs. The demolition of the Winans-Crippen House would seriously diminish the integrity of the West Side – Franklin Square Historic District.
Since the building is not in danger of collapse, Bosshart said that the Preservation Foundation had asked Mr. Boff to delay his application for demolition for at least six months. During this period, the Foundation offered to assist him in seeking alternative uses for the building that will preserve its architectural integrity. These activities could include seeking another buyer for the structure; identifying uses for the structure other than a single-family house; and development of the adjacent lot in conjunction with preservation of the Winans-Crippen House. Unfortunately, Mr. Boff was unwilling to delay consideration of his application and the Preservation Foundation was unable to reach an agreement with him.
Noting that the City’s Design Review Commission is charged with preventing the destruction of significant structures in historic districts, Saratoga resident Douglas Kerr, President of the Preservation Foundation said, “The Winans-Crippen House has survived two world wars, the great depression, urban renewal and a proposed arterial highway through the middle of Franklin Square. Surely it can survive the Design Review Commission, the very body created to protect it.”