HPP Students Show Support for Local African-American Landmark

HPP students

HPP students and faculty gather in front of 421 North Albany Street. photo / provided

October 1, 2015

On September 21, students and faculty from CRP's Historic Preservation Planning program (HPP) gathered at 421 North Albany Street, each holding a "This Place Matters" flag, to show support for the building in the National Trust for Historic Preservation's National Treasures program.

Located in downtown Ithaca, 421 North Albany Street was the original meeting place of the Cornell student study group that eventually became Alpha Phi Alpha, the first African-American, Greek-letter, intercollegiate fraternity in the U.S. Students began meeting at the house in 1905, and soon evolved into the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, formally established in 1906.

Today, the long-vacant, two-story frame house has fallen into disrepair and is condemned by the City of Ithaca. In 2014, Alpha Phi Alpha created the Jewels Heritage Project to protect two properties associated with the fraternity's formation: the house at 421 North Albany Street, and the site of the since demolished house at 411 East State, where the fraternity was officially established. The local landmark nomination for 421 North Albany Street, prepared by Historic Ithaca and sponsored by the Jewels Heritage Project, was approved in 2015. The house is now being considered for inclusion in the highly competitive National Trust for Historic Preservation's National Treasures program. If 421 North Albany Street is selected, the National Trust could play a significant role in saving the house by providing legal and planning assistance to the property owner.

From left to right, top row: Sean McGee (M.A. HPP '16) and John Southern (M.A. HPP '17); middle row: Professor and Director of the HPP Michael Tomlan, Jennifer Rowan (M.A. HPP '18), Associate Professor Jeffrey Chusid, Brian Cooley (M.A. HPP '18), Andrew Roblee (M.A. HPP '18), Erin Frederickson (M.A. HPP '17), and Molly Soffietti (M.A. HPP '17); bottom row: Jordan Cleek (M.A. HPP '17), Shannon Cilento (M.A. HPP '18), Olivia White (M.A. HPP '18), Abigail Lawton (M.A. HPP '18), and Ana Felisa Huckfeldt (M.A. HPP '19).

By Ana Felisa Huckfeldt

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