LOCAL PRESERVATIONISTS PERSUADE BANK TO DONATE NYACK'S OLDEST  SANDSTONE  HOUSE

 

The John Green Preservation Coalition will hold a press conference Sept. 15 at 11 am at the John Green House to announce acquisition.

 

NYACK, NY (Sept. 10) - The Village of Nyack will reclaim its oldest Dutch sandstone house from a bank following a complicated negotiation led by the newly-formed non-profit group, the John Green Preservation Coalition. The 1817 house at the foot of Main Street has been donated to the coalition by Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC and the trust that they represent.  The John Green Preservation Coalition plans to restore the home and create a historic visitors' center and venue for community events.

 

The Coalition will announce the donation on September 15th at 11 am at press conference in front of the house at 23 Main Street in Nyack. Nyack Mayor Jen Laird White and other public officials are expected to be there to comment on the unusual donation.

 

The coalition persuaded Ocwen Financial Corporation and its client to donate the house, citing its importance to Nyack's history. The dilapidated, long-abandoned, stucco-shrouded, fenced-in house, has been an eyesore for more than a decade. Ocwen's client acquired the house in lieu of foreclosure 18 months ago. Its builder and original habitant, John Green, was an enterprising entrepreneur who put Nyack on the map by laying the foundation for the seaport and for Nyack Turnpike, the predecessor for Route 59.

 

"Historic preservationists have a habit of falling in love with old houses they don't own," said Rick Tannenbaum, the president of the John Green Coalition. "That's how I felt about the John Green House. I'm thrilled our coalition has taken the house back for Nyack, a beautiful historic village."

 

Underneath the stucco, which has encased the house for decades, is an architecturally-significant Dutch sandstone structure that represents a typical early 19th-century village house. Though the inside, which had been carved up and severely neglected, needs to gutted, preservation architects believe the exterior of the house can be saved and restored.
The coalition hopes to complete the house in time to coincide with the opening of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, and to use the house to stimulate tourism and cultural activity in Nyack.

 

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“It has been said that, at it’s best,
preservation engages the past
in a conversation with the present
over a mutual concern for the future.”

These are the words of William Murtagh, first keeper of the National Register of Historic Places. It is this spirit - this desire to provide a home for these conversations across time to take place, that was the impetus in creating the John Green Preservation Coalition.

Actually, the impetus for some of us was one particular house. It’s certainly not much to look at the way it is now - decades of urbanization, modernization and neglect have all but buried this building in bad stucco, overgrown weeds and apathy. But even through all of that, the voice of the house speaks to the history it has held. And the voice of this house needs to be heard.

john green house This is the John Green House. Built in 1817, this structure exists as the oldest standing sandstone house in Nyack, NY. Beneath the yellow stucco, there lies sandstone that was quarried just to the North, and laid in place by the hands of slaves. It was in this house that Green met with other founding fathers of Nyack to plan the building, growth and future of Nyack, this Gem of the Hudson.

Our goal is to save this house, and others like it in Rockland County. Rockland has an incredible past, with an historical treasure trove of stories to tell. As preservationist John Ruskin said,

“…the greatest glory of a building is not in its stones, nor in its gold. Its glory is in its Age, and in that deep sense of voicefulness, of stern watching, of mysterious sympathy… which we feel in walls that have long been washed by the passing waves of humanity.”

We invite you to explore our site. Discover the history of the house, learn about the life of one of Nyack’s earliest entrepreneurs and see what other projects we’re working on.

Thank you for visiting. Thank you for your support. Thank you for adding your voice to the conversation.

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