Petition started to save Oswego's 1850 House

Members of the group "Save Oswego's Historical Sites" have gathered more than 300 signatures on a petition that urges the owner and city to do all they can to refurbish the former restaurant. (Brett Hall/CNYCentral.)

Taking matters into their own hands, a group of City of Oswego residents have launched a petition, urging a restoration of the 1850 House.

"We need to save our history while it's still here," said Mercedes Niess, who is a part of the grassroots community group "Save Oswego's Historical Sites."

Niess stood alongside several others Monday, in front of the 1850 House that sits on the corner of Bridge Street and E. 4th. Two row homes and a patio make-up the complex, with the buildings dating back to the 1880s. A popular restaurant and antique shop was open from 1976 to 2006. Since then the building has been vacant and started to decay.

The groups remembers well the fate of a historic church that sat just across the street and don't want to see a repeat.

"We want people to look at Oswego as a place that cares about its properties," Niess said. "This one needs attention....we know the community has a fondness for this building and the history of Oswego, and we are trying to illustrate that through the petitions."

Code violations obtained by CNYCentral in May through a Freedom of Information Law request cite 17 different violations on the buildings. The list of problems ranged from having hazardous exposed electric wires to decaying bricks in the chimneys. Recently a "Dangerous Building" sign has been added to the front of the structure, after all violations were not addressed in a timely manner according to the code enforcement officer.

"We will go to court in hopes of having a judge compel the property owner to comply," said Susan G. Deary, Code Enforcement Director for the City of Oswego. "I want to know no more bricks will fall off that building. Someone could get hurt."

Creative Development of Oswego, Inc. has owned the property since 2012.

"It does hurt for people to think that I am ignoring this building," said Warren Shaw, majority owner of the company. "But I have had a tough time, mainly finding a tenant."

Shaw, who owns various other properties around the city of Oswego, has worked on the property since our visit in May. A new fence has been added to the rear of the patio and electrical hazards have been removed.

"I will continue to fix the property up. One of the buildings will be getting a new roof and I will be redoing the masonry," said Shaw. "What I really hope to do is find a restaurant to come in here that will be like the one that was here for years," said Shaw. "I am not looking for just any other tattoo parlor or pizza shop."

"We want to help them actually," said Niess. "We can help them try to get access to grant funding."

Niess said currently more than 300 people have signed the petition. They hope to get 1,000 before presenting the petition to the city.

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