The Common Council unanimously approved the application for the Larkin Historic District this afternoon. Read the approved application here: Larkin Historic District.
Howard Zemsky, the developer whose brainchild is the revitalization of the Larkin District, likely shared the most eloquent remarks at last Tuesday's public hearing before the Common Council. Here's an excerpt:
The extraordinarily rich architectural, economic, and cultural history of the proposed Larkin Historic District has been thoroughly outlined in the application and I won’t attempt to recount it here. What I can add with a strong sense of pride is that my partners and I reclaimed many key elements of this district twelve years ago, complete with all of the blight, abandonment, and deterioration of the buildings, which was only matched by the neglect of the public infrastructure particularly along Seneca Street. Without any customers or prospects at the time, without any public subsidy, and frankly without anyone else thinking that what we were doing made any sense, we set out to rehabilitate a building, then buildings and then a district. Today, there are more people working in the former Larkin Company buildings than were working at the peak of employment of the Larkin Company itself.
We have watched one tenant after another be drawn to the unique character of these historic buildings and to the unique history that they represent. Every one of these buildings without exception contribute to the rich history and to the compelling and inspiring aesthetic that you feel when you are standing among them. Don’t ever underestimate the pride that people feel in actively participating in the renaissance of the Larkin District and by extension the city of Buffalo, by virtue of working there. The rapidly increasing popularity of the district as a place to work, as a place to live, and as a place for entertainment speaks volumes for the benefit of these historic buildings and for the environment that they help create.
We all stand on the shoulders of others who came before us and dared to pursue their dreams. These buildings and the people therein represent an extraordinarily significant time in our city and region and the country. The Larkin District is at the epicenter of Wright’s works in Buffalo, of the genius of Larkin, Martin, and Hubbard, and the innovations they brought to American Industry, including lasting changes for the better in the relationship between employer and employee. Let’s not turn a blind eye to the countless untold stories of the people who built the Larkin Company, and who played such a significant role in building Buffalo.
Sadly, not everyone sees these buildings in a historic context and not everyone sees themselves as stewards of the history that they represent, and not everyone feels a responsibility to the people that they represent. We lost one of Wright’s most significant works when the Larkin Administration Building was demolished in 1950. Even with the constant reminder of that tragedy literally staring us in the face on a daily basis, there are those who bring a cavalier attitude toward the buildings and their history, those who propose demolishing them. Please designate landmark status to the Larkin District which will help assure the future of this district and the future of these buildings. Please help preserve the inspirational legacy of the Larkin Company and of the many thousands of people who helped to build it.
Congrats to all involved! The Power House is saved!