For Immediate Release
Contact: Lynn Kopka 518-274-6434
TROY, NY (07/19/2010) — Neighborhood activists have restored one of the Capital Region’s most historic streets to a pristine stretch of granite block pavers.
“Washington Place is one of the few streets in the Capital Region that is still surfaced with its original pavers. It’s beautiful,” said Lynn Kopka, president of the Washington Park Association. “Once streets like this are gone, they’re gone. They disappear under the asphalt.”
Washington Place is a 310-foot-long street that borders the southern end of Troy’s Washington Park. It is a rare example of an intact 19th century Belgian block paved street.
But years of neglect and major potholes eventually made Washington Place unsafe to drive on and impassable at parts. When neighborhood residents realized the city might have to replace the antique street with modern pavement, they raised the funds needed to save the treasured landmark, which is part of the Washington Park National Register Historic District.
To preserve the original street, each of its 35,000 Belgian block pavers had to be removed and stored so that the roadbed could be leveled and the correct subfill added. Workers then painstakingly reinstalled the pavers by hand, one stone at a time. Often confused with round cobblestones, used in earlier road construction, Belgian block pavers are uniform in size and rectangular or square.
Friends of Washington Park initiated the $200,000 restoration project and coordinated the work efforts. The group also secured private funding and a state grant for the preservation of the historic pavers.
Professional services were contributed by Ryan & Biggs, PC; Architecture+; and Bob Talham, Inc. The City of Albany donated more than 8,000 blocks to replace the missing stones. The Friends also coordinated with the City of Troy Department of Public Utilities and National Grid to replace and upgrade the utility lines under the roadbed.
On Aug. 3, at 2 p.m. Friends of Washington Park will host a ribbon cutting ceremony and reception to recognize the street’s reopening and to thank the contributors who made it possible.
“Very few neighborhoods would attempt to re-build a road using 1800’s pavers. But we wanted to preserve this small piece of Troy’s heritage,” said Kopka. “That street has been there since the late 1800’s, which is a testament to the structure and longevity of a road built like that. We’re hoping it will last another century.”
The street restoration is the second capital project undertaken by Friends of Washington Park in collaboration with the City of Troy and TAP, Inc. The first was the stabilization of a collapsed 19th century rowhouse at 8 Washington Place, one of 10 monumental buildings that were designed together to represent a massive Greek Temple spanning the entire block. That effort saved the whole row and spurred the rehabilitation of other threatened historic buildings at 3,4,5 and 7 Washington Place, 207 Second Street and 222 Third Street.
ABOUT WASHINGTON PARK:
The Washington Park neighborhood is modeled after the private residential green squares of 19th Century London. It is often compared to New York City’s famous Gramercy Park. Washington Park and Gramercy Park are the only two privately owned and maintained parks of their kind in the state.
For information, contact: Lynn Kopka at 518-274-6434.
For images of the work in progress, visit: http://duncancrary.com/clients/washington_place.html.
Media coverage resulting from this press release:
Historic Troy street gets ribbon cutting renovation
WRGB Ch. 6, Aug. 3, 2010
Troy’s Washington Place – Cobblestone Street Raised From Ruin
Albany.com, Aug. 3, 2010
Neighbors partner to preserve historic Troy street
The Record, Aug. 4, 2010
Troy paves way to its past
Times Union, Aug. 4, 2010
Mayor Harry Tutunjian: Troy’s eclectic, historic neighborhoods
The Record, Aug. 16, 2010
Troy community restores 1840 street
The Associated Press, Aug. 3, 2010.
Stone-paved street restored to 1840s condition
WNYT, Aug. 3, 2010
Block by block, Washington Place is back together
All Over Albany, July 19, 2010
A Trip Off The Old Block
TU Blog: Don Rittner, July 20, 2010
Troy reopens its charming road
TU Blog: Places and Spaces, Aug. 3, 2010
Historic Stone Street in Troy Gets Extreme Makeover
Upper Hudson Valley EcoLocalLiving Magazine, July 19, 2010
Transitions, Restored: Washington Place
Preservation magazine, November/December 2010
A Piece of Historic Americana Revived
Landscape Architect and Specifier News, Sept. 2010, Vol. 26, No. 09, pp 214