FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2023
City of Kingston Releases Architectural Report for Wilbur and Ponckhockie Neighborhoods
Survey is First Step in National Register of Historic Places Listing
KINGSTON, NY – Mayor Steven T. Noble is pleased to announce that a draft architectural and archeological sensitivity report is now available for the Wilbur and Ponckhockie neighborhoods. The report is an intensive level, historic, cultural and, as needed archeological site survey and analysis that represents the first step in potentially listing the two areas, or individual properties, on the State and National Register of Historic Places.
In July 2021, the City of Kingston’s Planning Department received a grant from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to conduct surveys of the Wilbur and Ponckhockie neighborhoods. The CLG Intensive Level Survey Work for Wilbur and Ponckhockie, which was prepared by Archaeology & Historic Resource Services, LLC (AHRS) in conjunction with a Project Advisory Committee, will serve as the basis for developing an asset preservation plan for these historic areas.
Mayor Noble said, “The often-overlooked neighborhoods of Wilbur and Ponckhockie played key roles in Kingston’s storied history. Each of these neighborhoods possess assets that need to be protected, preserved, and recognized. We are happy to make this first step toward having these neighborhoods identified as historic districts and I thank the City Planning Office for all their hard work in moving this effort forward.”
The draft architectural report builds on previous individual National Historic Register/State Registries and local listings in the area and the Historic Buildings Inventory identified in the 1987 Urban Cultural Park Plan. The report includes an inventory of the historic assets in Wilbur and Ponckhockie along with a detailed history. This information will also be used to nominate eligible individual properties located in these two neighborhoods.
City staff and consultants will host two neighborhood meetings to discuss the findings:
July 18 Wilbur Neighborhood Meeting at Blackbird Infoshop & Café, 6:00pm
July 25 Ponckhockie Neighborhood Meeting, location tbd, 6:00pm
Alderwoman Michele Hirsch (Ward 9) said, “I am incredibly excited that this historic, cultural, and archeological site survey is the first step in what will hopefully result in the former Hamlet of Wilbur, or individual properties, receiving placement on the State and National Register of Historic Places. When you visit Wilbur, it feels like a step back in time due to its geographical constraints and unique architecture that hugs along the once industrious Rondout Creek that helped build Kingston and New York State. In the 1850s, Wilbur became a center of activity for shipping bluestone and quarrying limestone for natural cement. The canyon was quarried, and limestone was processed in the lime kilns that remain along Wilbur Avenue. It’s long beyond time that Wilbur is officially designated for its deserved place in history!”
Alderman Steve Schabot (Ward 8) said, “As the Alderman representing Ponckhockie, and one whose family history has roots in the local industries, I am proud to see this work recognize and celebrate the heritage of a neighborhood which grew out of the brick manufacturing, cement, and lime industries, along with tourism brought from Hudson River travel. I am encouraged that we are moving to protect and enhance our neighborhoods with thoughtfulness and balance.”
The Project Advisory Committee is made up of neighborhood residents, a Friends of Historic Kingston representative, the Council Members representing these neighborhoods, the City of Kingston Historian, and a representative from the both the Historic Landmark Preservation and Heritage Area Commissions.
The City of Kingston currently has four historic districts: the Stockade District, the Fair Street District, the Rondout-West Strand District, and the Chestnut Street District.
Funding for the surveys was provided by a grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) Sub-Grant/Certified Local Government (CLG).
For more information, please visit: www.engagekingston.com/historic-survey.