It’s a common question usually preceded by an “Um, excuse me, where did you say you worked?” By now we’re used to the reaction and have a rapid-fire explanation down to a science:
“Oh yes – no problem, common reaction – the building is a historical armory, built in 1897, listed on both the NYS and National historic registries that was purchased privately in 2004 and has since been restored into a beautiful events and conference center in an effort to recapture the 38,000 sq. ft. building’s early 20th century grandeur.”
It’s a mouthful, we know. But the thing is you need a decent sized mouthful of words to describe this truly unique historical gem and exactly what we do here. Sure, we host lovely events – weddings, conferences, black tie galas and so on. We are expert coordinators and suburb multi-taskers (and pretty darn handy with a screwdriver and/or bucket, even in stilettos).
But there’s another element of our job that flies under the radar. We call ourselves “Unofficial Armory Promoters.” We’re very aware that we acquired an important piece of national history five years ago, and with that comes an additional responsibility to do our best to preserve its legacy. And, boy, are we trying. We’re a small staff, but, as one local official told us, we’re “very persistent.” We write letters and press releases, do our best to “lobby,” make lots of phone calls and attend seminars. We’re not always successful. However, slowly but surely we’re increasing awareness about our facility from a historical perspective.
It’s such efforts that prompted the “A Day of Memories” event idea (more details about that Nov. 22nd event in a post below). If that event is successful, we want to eventually produce a mini-documentary about the building’s history. As NYS armories are auctioned off one by one (http://tinyurl.com/yl7djta), we hope we serve as a positive example of an alternative use for these great buildings – a snapshot of what phase two of their legacies can look like.
So, that’s what we do here. Oh and we also give lots of tours. Feel free to give us a buzz, we love showing off the “Castle” we’re so passionate about…