The genteel and elegant interiors of ... The former "Catholic Women's Club", was gutted by the infamous "Faux Princess," Diana Lenska.
The hand carved Carrara Marble fireplaces, of which there were 6 throughout the house, were ripped from their chimney mounts ...
The Roccoco Pier and Overmantel Mirrors-gone. ...
The crowning glory of the mansion, the electrified gasoliers, that have hung from the ornate center medallions since Lincoln was in the White House, vanished. Everything was bundled on a huge moving van and shipped to secret destinations. . . .How sad! Was this 'pay-back' for receiving the 'cold-shoulder' in Utica? A means to recoup losses from failed efforts to establish a cultural venue? A little of both? Or something else? We can only speculate on motive... which is irrelevant. As owner, the fixtures are Ms. Lenska's ... hers to dispose of as she wishes. But this posting is not about Ms. Lenska . . .
This is the second time this year that an architecturally significant structure has been "plundered" (for lack of a better word) in Utica. What happened to the HSBC building? Like the Catholic Women's Club, it was purchased by an out-of-town buyer with fanciful ideas and wound up ransacked. It's not clear exactly what was taken from inside the building, but some marble slabs from exterior planters are obviously missing. There certainly is a lot of beautiful marble covering most of that building . . .
Looking at both situations, Uticans have to consider the possibility that many of the city's remaining architectural treasures may be worth more as sources of fixtures and materials than as real-estate holdings ... With a global marketplace, the prices obtainable may be much much more than local preservationists can muster. Utica may see a lot more out-of-town buyers scooping up properties from desperate sellers at prices that are super-cheap (to the buyers), "mining" the properties for their fixtures or building materials, and then abandoning them.
Utica seems to be going the way of the Coliseum which had its marble facing stripped after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Only the full-fledged economic recovery of Utica with rising property values will solve this problem.
BTW - Please pass the humble pie.