Burger-Matthews House, Kingston

It’s not too often we get to report good news, but here’s a developing story out of Kingston, New York.

The City of Kingston Planning Board granted Transart Services permission to operate an African-American cultural museum at the c. 1873 Burger-Matthews House on Henry Street.

The house, vacant since the late 1990s, appears to be a local landmark. Until the project moves forward, TransArt has enlisted local youths to create murals which are being installed on fencing surrounding the house.

Looking through my files today, I am surprised that I don’t have more than a few views of the house. (These photographs were taken on July 16, 2005.) There is all sorts of awesomeness going on here, between the architecture of the house and the ruinishness of its present-day appearance. The Queen Anne style house features one dominant gable facing Henry Street, two interesting turrets at one corner of the house, fish-scale shingles, and a rear section, perhaps an addition, with a mansard roof and a porch with intact arch details. The facades are a hodge-podge of boarded up windows, exposed windows, and windowless frames. The Burger-Matthews House is certainly one of the most visually spectacular abandoned houses in the Hudson Valley. Perhaps I’ll get a few more photos of it in its current condition, but I wish TransArt all the best in restoring the house. It’s the kind of place that easily could have burned or been demolished by now, and surely it has been considered by some to be an eyesore and a hazard. But this slideshow of the house shows that it has a lot of integrity and detail worthy of preservation, and that it should be brought forth as a beacon of changing fortunes in Kingston.

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On the flip side, school boards are at it again. A few months after the Yorktown Central School District demolished the Strang-Melbourne House, the Rye Neck School District plans to demolish the Gedney farmhouse, built in 1790. The school board will schedule the demolition of the home at a meeting on December 7. The house is located on Boston Post Road at North Barry Avenue in Mamaroneck.

It seems to be the start of a trend whereby perfectly usable buildings are vacated, left to sit empty for some time, and then deemed too expensive to rehabilitate, when they shouldn’t have been vacated in the first place.

This entry was posted in Demolition Alert, Historic Preservation, Ulster County. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Burger-Matthews House, Kingston

  1. Jean says:

    Hey Rob. In the slideshow there’s an interior picture of a chimney with a curve. Is that supposed to be like that, or did it happen over time? It looks crazy. The white chimney on the other side also has a funny angle. Awesome house.

    Jean from Rhode Island

    • HV-Rob says:

      Hi Jean,

      good question, which I don’t know the answer to for sure. I’ve never been inside there. The construction of the chimney looks intentional to me, odd as it may be. A crazy, cool, house indeed.

      -Rob

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