Greater Hudson Heritage Network (GHHN) has partnered with the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation for $50,000 to provide dedicated funding for Nassau and Suffolk County museums through the 2020 Conservation Treatment Grant Program. [Read more…] about GHHN Receives $50k Conservation Grant
During the First World War, one of sixteen Army cantonments (temporary camps) was located on Long Island. Camp Upton was established on 9,000 acres in the wilds of Suffolk County in 1917.
The Camp would train 40,000 soldiers for the war, and when it was over, it was torn down and auctioned off, only to be rebuilt twenty years later when the United States entered the Second World War.
The site of the camp in Yaphank is now the home of Brookhaven National Laboratory. [Read more…] about Camp Upton on Long Island
Robert Chiles is set to speak about his recent book, The Revolution of ’28: Al Smith, American Progressivism, and the Coming of the New Deal, at the East Meadow Public Library in East Meadow, Nassau County, on Tuesday, December 18 at 1 pm.
Chiles will discuss Governor Alfred E. Smith’s rise to statewide and national prominence, the 1928 presidential campaign, and Smith’s relationship with Long Island. Books will be available at the event. [Read more…] about The Revolution of ’28 Talk, Booksigning In Nassau County
“The Land of Moses: Robert Moses and Modern Long Island” has been set for Sunday, June 10th at 2 pm at the Community Church of East Williston, Long Island, NY.
The speakers, Joshua Ruff and Jonathan Olly, are the co-curators of an upcoming exhibition on Robert Moses, which will open at the Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages in Stony Brook on June 22. [Read more…] about Robert Moses and Long Island, June 10
Nassau Community College and the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation has announced a week-long immersive field study course focused on local history taking place from June 11-15 at Nassau Community College. [Read more…] about Summer Local History Course at Nassau Community College
Though Olive Tjaden’s name is not known to most Long Islanders today, a mayor of Garden City in the 1930s reportedly suggested that the community be renamed Tjaden City, because she designed so many houses in the village.
Cornell University, her alma mater, named Olive Tjaden Hall for her in 1980. The story of this prolific woman architect appears in “Designing Suburbia: Olive Tjaden on Long Island,” in the recently issued Nassau County Historical Society Journal. [Read more…] about Historical Journal Rediscovers Long Island Woman Architect
The projects are the second round of funding under the program. Last year, more than $5 million was awarded to 14 historically significant properties that suffered severe damage from Superstorm Sandy. [Read more…] about 16 Storm Damaged Historic Sites Sharing $6.2M
When I was growing up in New Rochelle, more years ago than I care to remember, one required trip in the new suburban world which was being created was to Rye Playland. It was a standard family and summer camp trip from a more innocent time. I wasn’t even able to enjoy all the rides since I wasn’t tall enough to reach the red line that marked the difference between childhood and adulthood. Of course, soon after crossing that threshold, the summer camp trip ended and there were other places to go. [Read more…] about Squandering the Opportunity of Crisis:
Long Island Sound History
A new book chronicles the untold story of the largest restored home in America – OHEKA Castle. The 291-page work, entitled OHEKA CASTLE Monument to Survival, is the definitive behind-the-scenes look at the 20-year and $30 million dollar historic preservation of New York’s largest home and Long Island’s largest Gold Coast mansion which, at 115,000 square feet, is more than twice the size of the White House. OHEKA Castle, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004, has previously been featured on Home and Garden Television Network’s (HGTV) Restore America as well as the final episode of the Arts & Entertainment Network’s (A&E) America’s Castles. The new book is the only work that reveals the mansion’s 90-year history, the extraordinary efforts to save it and the restoration itself depicted in over 250 black and white and full color photographs.
The book opens up with personal reflections about OHEKA by best-selling author and Long Islander, Nelson DeMille. DeMille’s introduction begins with the statement: “Ellen Schaffer and Joan Cergol have worked eight years to write this remarkable book about a remarkable house: OHEKA Castle.” In the book’s foreword, entitled “Why OHEKA matters,” the authors state: “In sharing OHEKA’s story, we also tell a tale of victory for all those who believe historic structures should and can be saved for future generations. By documenting this successful large-scale experience in historic preservation, we hope to educate and inspire others to attain their own hopes and dreams of saving that ‘big old house’ down the road.”
The new book is the product of an eight year collaboration between co-authors Ellen Schaffer and Joan Cergol, who were introduced in 1996 by OHEKA Castle owner Gary Melius. Schaffer, a civic leader and longtime resident of Cold Spring Hills, the community in which OHEKA is situated, and Cergol, a local public relations professional, worked side by side to create a not-for-profit organization known as “Friends of OHEKA” and develop an innovative zoning approach to preserve the structure and maintain its residential zoning. At that time, OHEKA’s future was at risk due to zoning issues threatening Melius’ ability to advance his restoration plan for a 127-room “single family home” on Long Island’s North Shore.
The story illustrates the importance of public-private partnerships for historic preservation in America, where government funding is almost non-existent. It also documents a successful “public awareness campaign” to garner the public support needed for government intervention. The story reveals how a dedicated and resourceful owner, a supportive community and an enlightened town came together to accomplish what seemed impossible – rescuing, restoring and ultimately succeeding in finding adaptive reuses for an otherwise obsolete Gold Coast mansion in the center of a residential community.
The book encourages owners of historic structures, local communities and governments across America to think “outside the box” of historic preservation. The story reveals how a preservation tool known as a “historic overlay district,” when combined with good old-fashioned American ingenuity, can turn a devastated Gold Coast ruins into a useful structure to serve our modern-day society. Now carefully captured and preserved by the co-authors, this “preservation success story” is itself preserved to serve a larger goal of encouraging ordinary citizens and local governments to save historic homes for future generations.