Onderdonk House’s Doors Open to the Community

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The Onderdonk House is open for business.

Although the historic building located at 1471 Northern Blvd. has been hosting events and parties over the past couple of years, North Strathmore Civic Association president Jeffrey O’Brien said not too many people know about the building and he wants that to change.

“We have the annual Christmas meeting there in December and different neighbors rent the house during the holidays,” O’Brien said.

The building has been rented for events and meetings by the Boy and Girl Scouts, civic associations and different organizations, he said.

O’Briend said the house is open to people who want to fundraise, host a wedding or birthday celebration or a memorial service.

“We’ve already been granted filming permits where we can have people use the front of the building as background for movies or commercials,” he said.

The Onderdonk House, which was built in 1836 by Kings County judge Horatio Gates Onderdonk, is regarded as one of Long Island’s finest Greek Revival dwellings.

In 1933, the “Onderdonk Farm” was purchased for development by Levitt and Sons who built North Strathmore, then referred to as “Strathmore at Manhasset,”on 46 acres bordering the north side of Northern Boulevard.

The Onderdonk House was recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1936, entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and is recognized as a town landmark.

The house was transferred to the care of the Strathmore Civic Association when the association was incorporated in December 1936, composed of the owners of Strathmore property.

O’Brien, who as the president of the civic association is the caretaker of the Town of North Hempstead landmark, said the association has worked to restore the building — an effort made more difficult by its age.

“Nobody wanted to touch it because the building is so old and no one wants to be liable if something breaks in the building,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said Daniel Evans of RB Contracting, who has been working as a contractor in Manhasset for over 20 years, took up the challenge in 2013 to help replace the roof and back porch of the building.

“Typically a home this historical, no one wants to touch and he was kind enough to do it do pro bono,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said the house was declared a legal dwelling two years after passing multiple clearances from the town.

“Under the standards of Historic Landmarks Preservation of the town, we have to follow detailed plans in accordance with the history of the building if we wanted to restore any parts of the building,” O’Brien said.

He said when the house was going to be repaired a couple of years ago, some of the materials to be used had to be specially milled.

“We have to follow all these specifications to also qualify for any reimbursements from the state,” O’Brien said.

Construction and maintenance of the house is financed by dues, paid by members of the association, and fees from events held at the house, O’Brien said.

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