Emerson Park Pavilion Historic Renovation

Emerson1 Emerson2 Emerson3The Emerson Park Pavilion renovation was funded by a public-private partnership between Cayuga County and the Fred L. Emerson Foundation, and was dedicated to the rejuvenation and enhancement of the Emerson Park Pavilion to better serve the public and become a regional destination that fuels the local economy with new business and tourism. The project was awarded the 2012 Citation for Historic Preservation from the American Institute of Architects, CNY Chapter.

Built in 1912, the pavilion has served as a summer time facility for public and private gatherings at the Emerson Park at the northern tip of Owasco Lake. This project converted the building to a year-round regional destination through heating, cooling, and building envelope improvements. A small existing kitchen was demolished and a modern commercial kitchen was created in a west addition, while a new satellite kitchen was added to the dance hall portion of the building.

Emerson Park has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989, and the building additions were massed and detailed to complement, yet be distinguishable from, the historic pavilion. The project repaired deteriorated structure and ornamentation, including the columns and trellises of the magnificent south porch facing Owasco Lake. An original skylight within the breezeway between the dining room and dance hall had been removed, and the roof opening blocked. The original skylight was restored using historically sensitive detailing. The lattice work that comprises the ceiling of the breezeway was also restored with materials and dimensioning matching the original. A low ceiling of lattice had been installed in the dance hall during a contemporary renovation. This ceiling was removed and the grandeur of the high ceiling and truss work was restored. While restoring the historical features of the pavilion, modern systems were incorporated to provide safety and functionality to occupants. Structural modifications to the existing roof trusses improved bearing capacity, and sprinkler systems were incorporated to meet modern code requirements. Interior renovations included upgrading restrooms and audio visual equipment for conferences and social events, and the restoration of the marble dining room bar.

A vital landscape component was also completed as part of the project. The south yard facing Owasco Lake was restored to an early Twentieth Century layout with native plantings. The north yard provides a vehicular drop off and heated sidewalk, which, along with accessible features within the building, allow unimpeded enjoyment of the park and pavilion by a greater part of the public. The west and east side yards of the pavilion were adapted for service access with aesthetically compatible screening for deliveries and outdoor mechanical components.