Friends of Historic Kingston announce the installation of four column capitals saved from the demolition of a beloved landmark building. The project began in 2011 with an email to FHK’s Executive Director Jane Kellar from Elizabeth and Andrew White:
On behalf of the Estate of the late Donald Edward White Jr, I, as Executor, am delighted to donate 4 concrete pillar tops that were originally a part of the old Kingston Post Office. Uncle Donald was extremely fond of history and I know that he would be delighted that your organization, the Friends of Historic Kingston, are interested and able to make a new home for these 4 concrete pillar tops. Regards, Andrew C. White Sr. and Elizabeth A. White
FHK board members William B. Rhoads , Avery Leete Smith and Haynes Llewellyn made a reconnaissance trip and were elated to authenticate the building fragments. A second visit was made by Sue Cahill, Kyla Haber and Mark DeDea, City of Kingston, along with Gary Arold of Arold Construction, who made the generous offer to bring these 1600 pounds of local history back to Kingston to rest at Sharp Burying Ground on Albany Avenue until a proper site could be found to honor the building.
The crew from Arold Construction -Tim Maloney, Barry Kaiser and Tom Van Buren – transported the four capitals with great care from Woodstock to Kingston. ( Photo attached)
FHK consulted with the City of Kingston and other community leaders for a site to honor the building. After many meetings and field trips, the location at the main gates of Montrepose Cemetery, 75 Montrepose Avenue, was selected as the final resting place for these architectural fragments. The board of the cemetery has been enthusiastic and helpful, especially Lou Kirschner, Dennis Larios and caretaker Bill Reynolds.
FHK reached out to Scott Dutton, Architect who generously drew a design plan that appropriately honors the Post Office, each capital resting on a steel base in a semi-circle in front of an American flagpole with interpretive signage.
Financial donations to offset some of the costs have come forth, particularly from City Historian Edwin M. Ford and Susan D. Hummel. FHK also thanks Scott Dutton, Gary Arold of Arold Construction, Arnold Jacobsen of Universal Metal Fabricators and Paul Beichert of Timely Signs for their outstanding contributions.
The transfer and installation is scheduled to begin July 2nd at the site. A dedication ceremony will follow at a later date.
FHK Board President, Peter Roberts said, “As a volunteer organization FHK relies on the support of the best in our community and this project has been particularly powerful and moving! Kingston lost the building, but these capitals remind us of what once was there…. ”
Text as it will appear on signage at the site:
Friends of Historic Kingston
Preservation of the Column Capitals of the Kingston Post Office
The four classical capitals mounted nearby are relics of the Kingston Post Office (erected 1904-08) that was a distinguished landmark on Broadway at Prince Street until its demolition in 1969-70. The capitals, with curving scroll patterns of the Ionic order, graced the semi-circular facade of the Post Office, designed by James Knox Taylor of Washington, D.C.
The destruction of the Post Office and its replacement by a fast-food restaurant helped galvanize public opinion in Kingston and the region against the thoughtless destruction of our architectural heritage.
The capitals were donated to the Friends of Historic Kingston by the Family of Donald Edward White, Jr., and placed here at the entrance to Montrepose Cemetery in 2015.