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Thanks largely to the efforts of a School of Architecture graduate program, the memorable signal building in downtown Troy recently was placed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The 1920 structure on State Street, officially known as the Fire Alarm Telegraph and Police Signaling Building, was used by dispatchers to monitor city and emergency calls. The building, now owned by Rensselaer County, has been vacant since the 1960s.
The effort to include the building on the federal list began two years ago when the county legislature contacted Fred Cawley, director of Rensselaers Master of Science in Building Conservation Program. Cawley launched an initiative to study ways in which the building might be preserved and provide useful space. Graduate students in the Recording Historic Structures class began by recording the dimensions and other details of the historical building.
In fall 2001, Rensselaer instructor Peter Shaver offered the building as a research project for the same class. Architecture graduate student Karen Roths final paper provided the documentation for the federal register application process that Shaver completed. Shaver is program analyst for the state Historic Preservation Office that nominates properties to the state and national registers of historic places.
The historic listing makes the county eligible for federal funding. The goal is to eventually use the building as office and storage space.
As a result of the Building Conservation Program that Cawley launched in 1998, several other structures have been added to the federal list. Among them is the Osgood Steamer Company, listed in the register in 2000. The building in South Troy is still used today as a firehouse.
Through the program, graduate student Elisabeth Bakker-Johnson is working on two more projects in hopes they will be added to the register.
|Rensselaer Magazine: June 2003|
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