How can we prevent demolition of Parrott Hall?
Date: July 2018
Dear Deans of the Graduate School,
Parrott Hall, a historic building in the Geneva Campus, is about to be demolished by the NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Department. This is the history of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station being taken down because Cornell University does not want to intervene.
Demolition would never be an option for ANY of the buildings on the main campus.
Demolition has been delayed for at least a day due to efforts from some of the faculty on campus, but is there any other option that you can think of to prevent this?
Dear History Buff,
Thanks very much for your Ask a Dean question. Demolition of older buildings on campus has occurred here in Ithaca, though perhaps not during your time on campus. Stone Hall was demolished in the 1980’s (about the time I arrived at Cornell) as was Roberts Hall and East Roberts a few years later, to make way for building the Kennedy Hall–Roberts Hall complex. Those actions were not without controversy.
Decisions about historic building preservation are notoriously challenging, requiring the balancing of historic preservation values with the costs of maintaining older buildings, and finding the appropriate sources of funds. You are likely aware of this already, but the Friends of Parrott Hall report that they are working with the Preservation League of NYS, the Landmark Society, the Geneva Historical Society, and the Ontario County Historical Society to develop a plan for the future of Parrott Hall, with demolition paused for some period of time.
Thanks again for your question, and your interest in the history of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.
Barbara A. Knuth
Dean of the Graduate School