Before being abandoned in 1990 and falling into a state of disrepair, the Schumacher House in Clinton G. Martin Park served many roles: colonial home to the Cornell and Nostrand families, guest house for World War II workers and nursery school for children of United Nations personnel, to name a few.
Now new siding has been installed to help protect the structure and make it more stable and watertight, town officials announced on Wednesday, setting the stage for fully restoring the house.
“The installation of the siding makes a tremendous difference in the appearance of this historical house,” Town Councilwoman Lee Seeman said. “Saving this house saves a part of our history and that is well worthwhile and I am hopeful that the house will become an educational tool for our school children to learn the history of the Town.”
This work comes on top of adding a cedar roof, copper gutters, reconstructing a chimney and reinforcing the interior structure with new timber. The town has also had to remove asbestos, clean up debris and add special covers over the windows.
WGP Contracting, a Bay Shore-based masonry contracting company, has been doing the work on the house since January 2017, officials said.
Carole Trottere, a spokeswoman for the Town of North Hempstead, said the town has so far spent $422,873.80 in restoring the house, but that this cost will be reimbursed through a $500,000 state grant the town received in 2014.
Howard Kroplick, the town historian, said the Schumacher House is one of only 18 town landmarks. It offers insight into what Long Island was like in the 1700s, he said, and has played important roles in North Hempstead’s history.
“The house has really not been in good shape for many years,” Kroplick said. “I’m glad to see the first steps in restoration are being taken.”
The house, believed to be built in the mid-1700s, was originally located at the southeast intersection of Marcus Avenue and Lakeville Road – near the Sperry Corporation, which would utilize it as a guest house while constructing munitions during World War II.
After that, it would be used as a school for United Nations members, before being purchased by the Schumacher family and moved half a mile east to its current location in the early 1950s.
“It’s called the Schumacher House, but in reality he only purchased it in 1951, and he did it in order to save the building,” Kroplick said.
Ultimately, it would be purchased in 1965 by the town to be used as a space for the Family Services Association of Nassau County, North Hempstead Parks Department and community events, before being abandoned in 1990 due to worsening condition.
“The change in the exterior of the house is extraordinary,” North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said. “I am very pleased that this restoration project is moving forward and that we can see real results. We still have a long way to go, but we are on our way to returning this house to its original beauty.”
Trottere said that the house will need about a year to dry and that more exterior work like landscaping will likely be done next year.
The next step of the project will include replacing exterior windows and shutters, as well as interior restoration, officials added.