TODAY OUR CITY IS FACED WITH A NEW CHALLENGE!
How do we protect the Baldwin-Buss Merino House and property, one of our most historic and endangered assets?
Watercolor by Lowell Ellsworth Smith.
The Baldwin-Buss House Foundation approached Hudson Heritage Association in January of 2019 to provide seed money for the acquisition and preservation of the property. Because of pressures for development on the historic cornerstone of Hudson's Village Green, as well as the home's deteriorated and neglected condition, there was no question that the structure and its prominent location must be saved and returned to its original glory. Because of its importance both historically and architecturally, the HHA Board of Directors voted unanimously in favor of support and provided $15,000 as seed money to assist BBHF in the acquisition and preservation of the property. Our thanks and gratitude are extended to Hudson Heritage Association's early support.
Downtown Hudson stands out among our neighboring cities precisely because so many of them have lost their historic town centers or compromised them with insensitive development. What has happened elsewhere could easily happen here. The Baldwin-Buss-Merino House, one of the most prominent properties that defines Hudson's Village Green, is at risk and must be saved.
Please join the Baldwin-Buss House Foundation in its work to restore the beauty and purpose of this prime location on Hudson's renowned green so that it can be enjoyed by Hudson residents now and for generations to come. Below are answers to frequently asked questions:
WHO is the Baldwin-Buss House Foundation?
The Baldwin-Buss House Foundation (BBHF) is a newly formed nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation in the State of Ohio and is an independent entity, separate from Hudson Heritage Association. The Foundation's mission is to acquire, restore, redevelop and maintain the historically significant Baldwin-Buss House. In this endeavor, the Foundation will conserve, protect and maintain the house in a manner that leaves it enhanced and unimpaired for future generations. Its goal is also to educate individuals and organizations of the historical and architectural importance of the Baldwin-Buss House and promote a communal passion for history and culture.
WHERE is the Baldwin-Buss-Merino property?
The Baldwin-Buss-Merino property consists of five parcels of land bounded by Park Lane to the north, First Street to the west, West Streetsboro Street to the south and the Village Green to the east. The property includes the historic house, a retail building, and a mixed-use commercial building. Adjacent property on the north and east is part of the Village Green and is owned by the City of Hudson. The combined acreage of all five parcels is .92 acres.
WHY save the Baldwin-Buss-Merino House?
The Baldwin-Buss-Merino House is one of Hudson's most architecturally significant and historic homes. The two-story house was built in 1825 by one of the Western Reserve's leading master builders/architects, Lemuel Porter. He is the same builder whose skill and ingenuity produced the Congregational Church in Tallmadge, Presidents House on Western Reserve Academy's campus and the Whedon Farwell House located at 30 Aurora Street. All are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are regarded as fine examples of early Western Reserve architecture. The home's architectural significance is further corroborated by its inclusion in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) whose drawings and photographs are archived in the Library of Congress. Western Reserve Architect in 1929 described the house as follows: "The Ionic pilasters, the pedimented gable and the classical moldings have been executed in such delicate and refined lines that it presents a pleasing appearance . . ." I.T. Frary in his book Early Homes of Ohio (1936) went further and described it as "one of the finest houses of Hudson". Fortunately, most of the home's original architectural features are intact though obscured by unsympathetic additions and its deteriorated condition.
The house is endangered not only by neglect but by the continued onslaught of development. Preliminary development plans submitted to the City of Hudson in 2015 called for the house to be moved from its original location 50 feet south because its "location prohibits our ability to maximize the potential of the site." The historic home was then to be surrounded by two-story mixed-use buildings to maximize the density of the property. This development proposal was found to be "in substantial compliance" by the Hudson City Community Development Office. Nine large shade trees were to be removed as part of the project, further compromising the aesthetic of the Village Green. The threat remains from future developers and would forever destroy the aesthetic of Hudson's historic Village Green.
Proposed massing submitted to the City of Hudson for the
Merino Development project in 2015.
Furthermore, restoration of the house and grounds will increase economic vitality to a prominent section of the Village Green that has become blighted. The gateway to Hudson's business district will be enhanced and used to support community events, educational initiatives and to promote an appreciation for our cultural and architectural heritage.
Hudson has a long legacy of historic preservation. Beginning with James Ellsworth in the early 20th century, the town's historic aesthetic and legacy has been fought for, and most battles have been won. Today many homes are individually listed on the National Register, and Hudson can boast three National Register Historic Districts with additional expansions contemplated. Acquisition of the Baldwin-Buss-Merino House property and its subsequent restoration will serve as a very public reminder of Hudson's rich past. THIS IS WHAT MAKES HUDSON DIFFERENT!
HOW does BBHF plan to save the Baldwin-Buss-Merino House and property?
The Baldwin-Buss House Foundation has entered into a partnership with the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, known more familiarly as Peg's Foundation. Peg's Foundation is currently completing its due diligence to purchase the entire property which includes the two commercial buildings and the historic house. Upon closing, the Baldwin-Buss House Foundation will facilitate the restoration of the historic house in accordance with the highest preservation standards. Monies originally planned for the acquisition of the property by BBHF will now be redirected to facilitate the restoration commencing in 2020 with a target completion date of 2021. To date, over $960,000 has been raised in the form of donation commitments and cash donations thanks to the generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses. Any funds raised in excess of those needed for the restoration, will be used for operating expenses and to establish an endowment fund to sustain the foundation in the future.
The Baldwin-Buss House Foundation has entered into a designated fund agreement with the Hudson Community Foundation. In this capacity Hudson Community Foundation serves as BBHF's fiscal sponsor during its infancy The Baldwin-Buss House Foundation is a 501(c) (3) tax exempt charitable organization.
How can YOU help? DONATE to the RestorationCampaign!
The Restoration Campaign is the effort underway to raise $1.2 million for the preservation and rehabilitation of the Baldwin-Buss House and to create a small operating fund. Success of the project is based on recognition, by people like you, that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save an important part of Hudson's architectural legacy and to impact the aesthetic of the Village Green. Donate today at BBHFoundation.org/donate.
THE BALDWIN-BUSS HOUSE TODAY
Baldwin-House Today / East Elevation
South Elevation West Elevation North Elevation
AND WHAT IT COULD BE . . . IMAGINE the POSSIBILITIES!
The Peter Allen house was built in 1821 and underwent a major restoration in 2017. The similarities to the Baldwin-Buss Merino house are striking.
Today, it stands as a ‘role model’ for the future transformation of the Baldwin-Buss House in Hudson on the Village Green.
We hope you will join us in supporting the Baldwin-Buss House Foundation and be part of the legacy of those who have fought to maintain a connection between Hudson's historic roots and its bright future. Please consider a donation that will help preserve and protect the Baldwin-Buss House for generations to come.