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The Shaheen Memorial Garden

Albert H. Shaheen, M.D. medical practice and future home of the Central New York Conservancy proposed garden rendering proposed garden location

The Shaheen Memorial Garden will be established adjacent to the mid-century house at 1641 Genesee Street which formerly served as the offices of Dr. Albert Shaheen. The house with three acres of land on the northeast corner of Pleasant (Memorial Parkway) and Genesee streets was recently gifted by the Shaheen family to the Central New York Conservancy.

A main circular garden will be bordered by stone dust paths and surrounded by five smaller gardens representing Dr. Shaheen's children. All of the gardens will contain colorful, seasonal annuals and perennials, some donated by Dr. Shaheen's former co-workers, patients, friends, and family members. The centerpiece of the garden will be the three-dimensional sculpture, Cradle for the Moon, designed by Rome, NY artist Nell Harrison Russell. The sculpture was originally commissioned by Dr. Shaheen in 1970 and has graced the property ever since, until recently when it was removed temporarily for refurbishing.

The history of the property at 1641 and 1643 Genesee Street

In 1855, Benjamin F. Jewett donated three acres of land at the corner of Genesee and Pleasant Streets for the construction of the Utica Orphan Asylum. From 1861 to 1924, the Utica Orphan Asylum housed hundreds of boys and girls from ages 2 to 14. In 1924, the orphanage was reorganized as a children's hospital. The building was eventually torn down and a street – Derbyshire Place – was built through the grounds and named for Charlotte Derbyshire, who was one of the founders of the orphanage.

In 1956, The property was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Sweet. Utica architect Egbert Bagg, A.I.A. designed a ranch-style home for the Sweets including space on the north side of the building to house the Doctor's office and orthopedic surgery. The house was constructed from 1957-1958.

In 1974, Albert Shaheen, M.D. purchased the property from Dr. Sweet and began his own medical practice there. In 1976, Dr. Shaheen purchased the adjoining property at 1643 Genesee Street known as the "Ivy Cottage" which dated back to the 1920s. At the time, the Ivy Cottage had been owned by Utica College and used as a dormitory. After extensive renovations, Dr. Shaheen re-opened the building where it was used by local non-profit organizations such as the Samaritan Counseling Center. In 2016, shortly after the passing of Dr. Shaheen, the Ivy Cottage was torn down.

The property lots at 1641 and 1643 Genesee streets were then gifted by the Shaheen family to the Central New York Conservancy.

About Dr. Albert H. Shaheen

Dr. Shaheen

Dr. Shaheen served as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Utica and the surrounding areas for over forty years. He was known to, and beloved by, many for the skill, care and devotion he showed his patients especially children.

For most of his career, Dr. Shaheen put in 12-hour or longer days at the hospital, in emergency and operating rooms, and in his office, seeing patients. Dr. Shaheen was grateful to the thousands of patients he treated throughout his career, who brought him much joy and to all those in the community who supported and appreciated him throughout his practice and life.

Albert and Gloria have been generous donors to Utica College and many non-profits and causes in Utica. Dr. Shaheen will be sorely missed; many will remember him not only for the indomitable spirit that he demonstrated throughout his life, but also for the life, limb or face that he saved or healed.

Dr. Shaheen was a lover of the parks and the outdoors. He especially loved trees. In addition to planting countless trees on his property, and hundreds on land he donated to the Sitrin Home, the property at 1641 Genesee Street showcases two heritage trees - a cucumber magnolia and an English Burr Oak.

When they were younger, Dr. Shaheen and his wife Gloria routinely took long walks in T.R .and F.T. Proctor Parks before stopping for breakfast at the Mar-Logg. It gave him a great sense of peace and welcome break from the stress of the Emergency Room and his practice.