FEBRUARY 26, 2007

The Riverside Club and Freihofer Bakery stand on the bank of the Hudson in Troy's Lansingburgh section, the oldest village in America and onetime home of Herman Melville.

The bakery, built in 1913, employed generations of Trojans. Built in 1895, the shingle-style Riverside Club was once the scene of bowling and boating parties.

TheTroy History Action Network has waged a seven year crusade to preserve the bakery and club. Preservationists seemed to suffer a crushing defeat on May 13, 2005, when the Troy Planning Commission declined to recommend that the City Council recognize the buildings to be landmarks. On the next day, the buildings' owner, a subsidiary of the George Weston Company, filed for a demolition

ABOVE: The Freihofer Bakery and Riverside Club in 2004.

BELOW: The Bakery and Club circa 1915

However, Judge James Canfield granted preservationists a stay and eventually ruled that, because demolitions potentially have environmental effects, they must have public hearings and state environmental quality reviews so that environmental impacts can be avoided or mitigated. A year of legal proceedings followed.

In December 2006 the New York State Appellate Court ruled that the Troy City Code in effect at the time of the application did not require demolition permit applicants to undertake a state environmental quality review that considered historic significance. Ironically, Troy had subsequently revised its code to require environmental review. However, the court ruled that the new requirement did not apply retroactively and reinstated the demolition permit, with the result that the buildings could be demolished with 60 days .

The New York State Preservation League has filed an appeal on behalf of the Troy preservationists and obtained a stay pending a decision about whether to hear the case. A proposal to purchase and reuse both buildings has also been submitted.


Contact the History Action Network at


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