The Town of North Hempstead will be injecting $1.4 million into the Schumacher House within the next five fiscal years, according to its capital plan, building upon repairs already made earlier this year like the addition of a roof and new siding.
The historic home had fallen into disrepair and was abandoned in 1990, following its service as a colonial home for the Cornell and Nostrand families, temporary house for World War II munitions workers, nursery school for U.N. personnel, and space for the Family Services Association of Nassau County, North Hempstead Parks Department and other community events.
Marianna Wohlgemuth, a New Hyde Park civic leader, said the town had once allowed the historic home to fall into a disrepair. This prompted her and others to embark on a campaign to get the home landmark status and get the town to try restoring it.
Now, she said, the current administration has embraced fixing it.
“We are experiencing a renaissance,” Wohlgemuth said in an interview. “It is like a metamorphosis, because you have an administration that appreciates our cultural history and our heritage.”
Wohlgemuth said her first encounter with the home was when Nassau used it as an arts and crafts center.
At the time it was “such a beautiful house,” she said – so seeing it again in the 1990s pushed her into action.
The Town’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission suggested landmarking the building in 2004. Ultimately, the Town Board approved doing so on March 15, 2005.
The Schumacher House was then added to the New York Register of Historic Places and National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
Wohlgemuth said this was done to prevent the home from being demolished and that the next step was lobbying for its restoration.
Howard Kroplick, the town historian, previously 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 in a previous interview. “I’m glad to see the first steps in restoration are being taken.”
In September 2009, the town obtained a New York State Dormintory Authority Grant worth $500,000 for repairs. Then in early 2013, the Town requested bids for architectural and structural design services, before announcing it would begin work in 2014.
The home was originally located at Marcus Avenue and Lakeville Road, right near Sperry Corporation, before being bought by developer Fred Schumacher. It was then moved to its current location. After that, the town obtained the property via eminent domain.
Ultimately, between being a meeting house for revolutionary leaders, housing U.N. personnel, and showing Nassau County’s farming roots, Wohlgemuth said the resilient home is incredibly important.
“The town should be so proud of that house,” Wohlgemuth said.
Among some of the repairs made so far are the addition of a cedar roof, protective siding and copper gutters, reconstructing a chimney and reinforcing the interior structure with new timber. The town also had to remove asbestos, clean up debris and add special covers over the windows.
“The change in the exterior of the house is extraordinary,” North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth previously 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.”
Bosworth also previously expressed interest in displaying historical documents in the home and using it as a public meeting place.