The old Catholic rectory at 214 N. State St. is a keeper. It's been added
to the list of protected Syracuse landmarks and by late summer, ought to be
Bishop's House Adult Home.
The building, at the corner of East Willow Street, has been there since
1874, first as the home of the bishop of the Syracuse Diocese, more recently
for the priests of St. John the Evangelist Church. St. John's was our first
It's a design of Syracuse architect Archimedes Russell, who was something
of a local landmark himself.
The diocese closed the rectory last year and put it on the market. The
new owner is a group of investors headed by Realtor Jeff Paston.
The partners took an unusual move for people who've put money into an
historical property: They applied to the city for a demolition permit,
saying they wanted to test the belief the rectory's worthy of preservation.
Meanwhile, they had an offer from the next-door neighbor - owner of a oil
company convenience store - to buy the building and tear it down for more
parking. The store occupies the lot that once held the Lynch mansion, the
Everson Museum before it moved to a new building in Community Plaza on
This frightened preservationists. Still, the rectory passed the Landmark
Preservation Board, Planning Commission and Common Council. It's been rented
by Sheila and Mark Treasure, of Hannibal, a young couple who'll convert it
to an adult home with very few changes, according to Mark.
He's an Air Force veteran and Realtor. She's an aide at Oswego Hospital.
Mark tells me he saw an ad for the rectory and came to Syracuse to take a
look. The Treasures liked what they saw.
"We've always wanted to have our own business," Mark explains. "When we
saw the house, we adored it."