Lagusta’s, SUNY win historic preservation nod

(Left): SUNY representatives Michelle Halstead and John McEnrue. (Right): Lagusta Yearwood. (photos by Lauren Thomas)

(Left): SUNY representatives Michelle Halstead and John McEnrue. (Right): Lagusta Yearwood. (photos by Lauren Thomas)

Do-gooders of the historically conscious sort received some praise from the Village of New Paltz last week. On Feb. 12, the village’s Historic Preservation Commission awarded local chocolatier Lagusta Yearwood and SUNY New Paltz their “Partners in Preservation” awards. “Some familiar names from the past are some of our better citizens in terms of keeping up their buildings,” said Thomas Olsen, the commission’s chairman.

P&G’s Restaurant, Isabella’s Treasures, Isabella’s on Main, Cafeteria New Paltz, Horsefeathers antiques and Westwood Metes & Bounds Realty have previously gotten recognized for their work to rehab old buildings in keeping with the past.


Lagusta’s Luscious and the college — for its Old Main Building restoration project — got recognition for their work to preserve old buildings this year.

Olsen noted that none of these properties have historic landmark status. Work done to keep up the retro architecture was a labor of love, he said.

“It’s our distinct pleasure to honor and recognize people who do that,” Olsen said. “We recognize that sometimes doing the right thing for a structure bites more deeply into the pocketbook and might take a little longer.”

Olsen noted that prior to becoming Lagusta’s Luscious, the artisanal chocolate, pastries and sweets shop, the 25 North Front Street building didn’t have a lot going for it.

“Let’s face it, this was a very distressed piece of property,” the chairman said. “It now looks like a wonderful, thriving business.”

Yearwood said they restored the building a very simple way. “While we still have some more work to do on the building, we really just took off siding,” she said.

SUNY New Paltz got the nod for its renovation of Old Main, which Olsen called “sensible.” Built in 1907, Old Main is the oldest building at SUNY New Paltz. A $32 million renovation project helped upgrade the building and was mostly completed in 2012.

Indoors, the college took care to make sure that lighting fixtures and architectural features echoed what would have been found there in the past — even if the building is energy-efficient, green and modern.

“Years ago, it was not doing very well — inside or out. The college made the decision to spend more money and be more cautious and more careful with the building. The result is beautiful,” he said.

Historic Preservation Commission members also recognized the college for its work to revamp the historic Old Main Quad as well.

John McEnrue, SUNY New Paltz’s director of facilities design and construction, and Michelle Halstead, the college’s vice president of administration and finance, accepted the certificate on behalf of the college at large.