Elmira College Awarded A “Preserve New York” Grant

ALBANY, NY, 07/27/21 — Elmira College is one of this year’s Preserve New York (PNY) grantees. Their grant of $10,000 will fund a Historic Landscape Report of Quarry Farm, an area significant for its association with Mark Twain. The Preservation League of NYS and their program partners at the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) are thrilled to help fund this important work.

For over twenty consecutive summers throughout the last quarter of the 19th century, Samuel Clemens and his family gathered in the summertime at Quarry Farm on the outskirts of Elmira, NY. In a tiny octagonal study built especially for the author by his sister-in-law, Clemens – better known as Mark Twain – imagined and penned his most iconic works: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889), and many more. A 2018 Preserve New York grant helped fund a Historic Structure Report of the Study, and this year, a $10,000 grant from the Preservation League will enable Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies to hire Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture, LLC, to conduct a Historic Landscape Report for Quarry Farm to allow remediation of drainage issues around the main house while restoring and preserving the historic integrity of the bucolic surroundings.

“This is an important and exciting project,” said Joseph Lemak, director of the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies. “It’s essential for us to preserve and restore the environment in which Twain was inspired to pen works that remain relevant hallmarks of the American experience. The recommendations we will receive from Martha Lyon thanks to this grant will help us improve the drainage around the main house of Quarry Farm. This is a priority in our preservation efforts, especially as precipitation levels become more erratic in this era of climate change.”

At its 2021 meeting, an independent grant panel selected 32 applicants in 25 counties to receive support totaling $297,995. Each grant supports important arts and cultural initiatives, as well as economic development related to our state’s arts and cultural heritage. Many of these grants will lead to historic district designation or expansion, telling the stories of communities throughout the state and allowing property owners to take advantage of the New York State and Federal Historic Tax Credits. This is even more valuable now, with the NYS Commercial Historic Tax Credit recently expanded for small projects, granting property owners a 30% credit. With the announcement of the 2021 awards, support provided by Preserve New York since its launch in 1993 totals more than $3.3 million to 489 projects statewide.

The Preserve New York program is a regrant partnership between the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the Preservation League, made possible with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation has generously provided additional funds to support nonprofit projects in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Since 1993, Preserve New York has been providing funds to municipalities and nonprofit organizations that need technical, professional assistance to guide a variety of preservation projects. The historic structure reports, building condition reports, cultural landscape reports, and cultural resource surveys funded through this program lead to positive outcomes across New York’s 62 counties.

2021 PNY Grant Recipients:

Albany County: Village of Voorheesville/Town of New Scotland – $10,000; City of Cohoes – $16,500 | Broome County: Tri-Cities Opera Company, Inc. – $6,000 | Chautauqua County: City of Jamestown – $10,000 | Chemung County: Elmira College – $10,000 | Chenango County: Earlville Opera House Inc. – $8,000 | Dutchess County: Van Wyck Council on the Arts and Culture, Inc., dba Howland Cultural Center – $10,000; Wassaic Project – $8,160 | Erie County: University Heights Collaborative, Inc. – $9,120; Western New York Minority Media Professionals, Inc. – $10,000 | Franklin County: Malone Revitalization Foundation, Inc. – $9,150 | Greene County: Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society – $10,000 | Monroe County: Highland Park Conservancy – $15,000; Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Historical Society – $8,000 | Montgomery County: Village of Fort Plain – $9,150 | Nassau County: Science Museum of Long Island – $10,000 | New York County: Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation – $12,000 | Ontario County: Town of Canandaigua – $15,000 | Orange County: Chester Historical Society – $5,200 | Orleans County: Medina Railroad Museum – $8,000 | Otsego County: Otsego 2000 – $12,500 | Putnam County: Town of Southeast Cultural Arts Coalition – $9,600; Town of Carmel – $6,200 | Rensselaer County: City of Troy – $9,100 | Saratoga County: Village of Round Lake – $8,000 | Steuben County: Steuben County Historical Society – $10,000 | Suffolk County: Town of East Hampton – $5,600; Rocky Point Historical Society – $6,685 | Tompkins County: Friends of Stewart Park – $6,640 | Ulster County: Jewish Federation of Ulster County – $9,440; Woodstock Guild of Craftsmen, Inc. – $5,750 | Warren County: Hyde Collection – $9,500

“We are proud to continue our partnership with the Preservation League of New York State to support projects that foster community, and celebrate our State’s rich history,” said Mara Manus, NYSCA Executive Director. “NYSCA remains dedicated to preserving New York State’s cultural footprint and we look forward to seeing these vital preservation projects realized. Congratulations to all!”

“Navigating the difficulties and hardships of the past year has been a challenge for nonprofits and municipalities across the state,” said Erin Tobin, Vice President for Policy and Preservation and the Preservation League. “The League is grateful to our program partners at NYSCA and the Gardiner Foundation for continuing to support Preserve New York, which will grant much-needed dollars to so many worthwhile preservation projects this year.”

About the Preservation League of New York State – Since its founding in 1974, the Preservation League has built a reputation for action and effectiveness. Our goal has been to preserve our historic buildings, districts, and landscapes and to build a better New York, one community at a time. The Preservation League of New York State invests in people and projects that champion the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth and the protection of our historic buildings and landscapes. We lead advocacy, economic development, and education programs across the state.

Connect with us at preservenys.org, facebook.com/preservenys, twitter.com/preservenys, and instagram.com/preservenys.

About the Center for Mark Twain Studies – The Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies was founded on December 31,1982 with the gift of Quarry Farm to Elmira College by the Langdon family, Mark Twain’s in-laws. The Center offers distinctive programs to foster and support Mark Twain scholarship and to strengthen the teaching of Mark Twain at all academic levels. The Center serves the Elmira College community and regional, national, and international students and scholars of Mark Twain. Learn more: https://marktwainstudies.com/