Town to start renovation of historic Schumacher House

The Town of North Hempstead is moving ahead with plans to begin restoration of the 18th-century Schumacher House in New Hyde Park as part of a five-year capital development plan.

“We have, in fact, allocated the money for it and we’re getting started,” Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said on Wednesday. “The intent is to have it renovated so that it is a working structure.”

Bosworth said the town intends to display historical documents in the two-story wood-frame home and use it as a public meeting place when the planned $1.5 million renovation is completed. 

The building, which is located near the corner of Marcus Avenue and New Hyde Park Road, may also be used to display paintings and photographs of local artists, she said.

“It’s just an example of an early Long Island farmhouse that we want to preserve,” Bosworth said. “We need to think out of the box for ways to use this building.”

She said the initial phase of the restoration entails stabilizing the structure and drying out the house and cleaning the interior, which has been inhabited by rodents. Any hazardous materials will be removed from the house, the roof will be replaced and siding will also be removed, Bosworth said. She said the initial phase of renovation is expected to take one year.

“The intent is to have it renovated so that it is a working structure,” Bosworth said. “It’s a work in progress. It just seems like it would be a wonderful place to display historical documents from the town.”

Patchogue-based BBS Architects and Engineers was retained by the town last year to develop a plan for restoring the house, Bosworth said. 

A $500,000 grant was originally secured four years ago through former Democratic state Sen. Craig Johnson to assist in the renovation of the home, but the money was left in limbo with nearly $10 million in other grants after Johnson lost his 2010 re-election bid to state Sen. Jack Martins. Bosworth said Martins subsequently helped to fulfill the grant through the state Dormitory Authority.

She said the town plans to seek additional grant money to complete the restoration project.

“I am so in awe of this building,” Bosworth said.

The home, which was built in 1750, was moved to its current location in 1952 from its original site on the southeast corner of Marcus Avenue and Lakeville Road.

The house was purchased by the Sperry Corp. along with additional land in Lake Success in 1941. The house became known as the Sperry Guest House when the first General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations began meeting nearby after the U.N. was established in 1945. 

The house, which is listed on the federal and state historic registers, was used as a school for the children of U.N employees and delegates.

Lakeville Estates Civic Association President Marianna Wohlgemuth said the United Nations connection is the primary reason she has been lobbying the town to restore the house for the past several years.

“I’m delighted. I’m already looking beyond this to the next step,” Wohlgemuth said.

Wohlgemuth said the town should seek to raise additional funds through private contributions, and suggested the town seek to partner with corporations to complete the project.

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Richard Tedesco

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