Tomorrow the Saratoga Springs Design Review Commission will review the demolition application for the historic Winans-Crippen House, 66 Franklin Street. The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation continues to oppose its demolition.

The Foundation recently learned that the July/August 2009 issue of Preservation Magazine, a national publication of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is featuring the 1871 Winans-Crippen House as a “threatened” building. The magazine will hit readers’ mailboxes this Saturday. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a private nonprofit, was created by the federal government in 1949 to lead the nation’s preservation movement by protecting the nation’s historic places. It has the strong support of 283,000 members nationwide, including over 32,000 in the state of New York.

Featuring the Winans-Crippen House in a national publication confirms the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation’s position that this important building is of national, as well as local, significance and should not be demolished. 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.

Not only has the National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized the Winans-Crippen House by featuring it in its magazine, it has written a letter urging the Design Review Commission to evaluate the application with “due weight accorded the great value of this historic asset and the irretrievability of demolition.” The letter also states “it would be a dire loss…the Winans-Crippen House is a significant historic building, and its destruction would have a significant negative impact on the Franklin Square-West Side Historic District.”

The Preservation League of New York State also wrote a letter supporting the local preservation efforts of the Winans-Crippen House. “We hope that the Design Review Commission does not diminish the character and significance of an important historic district in Saratoga, by allowing a property owner to demolish a contributing building within that district.”

James Warren, Historic Sites Restoration Coordinator with the New York State Historic Preservation Office also voiced his concern in a letter to the Foundation, “Although in some distress, the Winans-Crippen House is part of a critical visual buffer necessary to maintain the character of the historic district. In its own right, it also represents the sustained prosperity of the locale and the desirability of a ‘Franklin Square’ address as evidenced by the stylistic continuity of the district from the Greek Revival period through the Second Empire/Mansard style and beyond. Demolition of this property should be carefully weighed and not be for reasons of convenience or financial gain.”

The Design Review Commission will review that application at tomorrow’s (Wednesday) meeting at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall. The Foundation has urged those who wish to see this building preserve to come out and voice their support.

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