The Preservation League of New York State Hopes to Rescue an Endangered National Historic Landmark
MARCH 2, 2016 — Gould Memorial Library, the architectural masterpiece designed by the legendary Stanford White and built in 1900 on what is now the campus of Bronx Community College (BCC), was named this morning to the Preservation League of New York State’s 2016-17 Seven to Save Endangered Properties List.
Attending the Albany announcement was BCC President Thomas A. Isekenegbe, who said the designation will help transform the classic building, into “the Center for Community Development and Civic Engagement. The Center will provide a forum to discuss community engagement and various issues affecting the Bronx.”
The Seven to Save list draws attention to the plight of New York State’s vacant or underused National Historic Landmarks and historic communities prone to flooding, as well as sites rich in African-American cultural heritage and industrial history. Preservation Society President Jay DiLorenzo says the designation will help “bring Gould Memorial Library back to its glory.”
“GML,” as it is known around the BCC campus, was originally built for New York University. In 1892, NYU bought 45 acres in the then-rural Bronx for a new undergraduate Arts and Sciences branch. Stanford White, of the legendary firm of McKim Mead and White Architects, was commissioned to design the campus. The centerpiece of White’s vision, Gould Memorial Library, is surrounded by an arcaded terrace containing the Hall of Fame for Great Americans. It is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, complete with a dome topped by a window with a view of the sky.
Gould Memorial Library and White’s other structures were named a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior in 2012. The new designation from the Preservation League comes as the Save GML Advisory Board, a newly organized group chaired by Samuel White, Stanford White’s great grandson and Michael Parley, president of Development Consulting Services, Inc., is embarking on efforts to help raise essential support for the restoration, preservation and return to full use of a majestic building in desperate need of repair.