West Nyack Historic House Discussion Expected

Clarkstown’s Historical Review Board likely to discuss suggestions for preservation of West Nyack structure


The Clarkstown Historical Review Board meets Wednesday at 8 p.m. and is expected to hear and discuss ideas for the preservation and potential use of the Vanderbilt/Budke/Traphagen house on Germonds Road.

The Vanderbilt/Budke/Traphagen house in West Nyack is the second oldest house in Rockland County and currently owned by The Town of Clarkstown.  The town acquired it when it purchased the Traphagen property to add to its Open Space Initiative.  The house was previously owned by one of the county’s most well-known historians, George Budke. His papers are kept at the New York City Public Library.  

Local preservationists have been urging community members to show their support for the area’s heritage and history and share ideas for funding and future use of the structure. Many of them spoke up about the condition of the house at a December town board meeting

They are worried the Vanderbilt/Budke/Traphagen house could meet the same fate as the former Teaberry Port House also in West Nyack. The pre-revolutionary sandstone dwelling on Strawtown Road was demolished on November 27, 2012 after it fell into disrepair.

Bonnie Vanderbilt February 02, 2013 at 01:11 AM
The private individual that wanted to buy the property was a builder who managed a sweet deal with Traphagen when they purchased the 8 acres across the street for only $500,000 with the intent to build. Talk like "willing to keep the property UNDEVELOPED and ON THE TAX ROLLS" might be what some were told but I found that hard to believe when I heard that for myself. The town had talked about subdividing the two houses out to 2 separate properties leaving the remaining portion of the 9.3 acres as park and sell the properties with stipulations that the houses cannot be destroyed and only restored as their original structure.
Bonnie Vanderbilt February 02, 2013 at 02:02 PM
I know for a fact that Hugh Traphagen offered the Historical Society a million dollars to take over the stone house and have it restored but they were greedy and felt it wasn't enough and refused the offer only to come back with a change of heart. Too little too late for Hugh. The Historical Society of Rockland County was one of the benefactors named in Hugh Traphagen's will to split the remaining shares of his estate with 5 other organizations. This should be taken into consideration before a decision is reached and a plan put into action.
Bonnie Vanderbilt February 02, 2013 at 02:03 PM
As for the main house Traphagen house...is beautiful inside and out. Far from "uninhabitable" as mentioned in previous articles in New City Patch. I lived there for 6 years as caretaker and the interior was restored to the point where the plaster looks like sheet rock thanks to Paul Grippo, owner of "The Paint Specialist". The part of the house the town may consider uninhabitable needs the bathroom gutted/redone. The kitchen is one of those GE kitchens you would have seen at the Worlds Fair back in the 60's. The kitchen sink, dishwasher, and stove are an all-in-one electric. The cabinets are metal which have been taken down and painted inside and out as part of the work done by Paul Grippo's wonderful crew. So if that section of the house needs a new kitchen and bath...should we tear it down?
Ron Breland February 04, 2013 at 03:32 PM
To arms! To arms! The bureaucrats are coming! The HRB met last Wednesday, 1/30/13. The Traphagen House is being made ready for sale to recoup part of the purchase price of the Traphagen parcel. There are no assurances that the resultant funds are to be used for restoration of the Vanderbilt House. That they expect us to come up with. All this was inadvertently admitted to the public when someone questioned why an appraiser was on the property last October. The Town Board needs to be reminded that it does not own the house-we do! They purchased it with our tax money. We need some transparency here. We need to know their intent.
Ron Breland February 12, 2013 at 03:15 PM
At the Heritage of West Nyack meeting, Thursday, 2/7/13, the Town Attorney was asked why Orangetown was able to afford two museums in historic houses and Clarkstown has none. Someone suggested that we should meet with Orangetown to find out how they did it. Not necessary! They did it because they cared about their town's heritage enough to preserve buildings that are not capable of earning their keep. It's as simple as that. The stipulation that an historic building has to pay its way is a recipe for disaster. You need not look any further than Teaberry Port, if you would disagree. If Clarkstown had said to UW last fall that it was willing to take back and be responsible for the Stevens house under its prior arrangement, we might still have that structure. Who is responsible for the razing of Teaberry? WE ARE! The Town may have accomplished the demolition in the dead of night but, when we we have a pillager's attitude toward our historic artifacts, we will be represented by those who will do the plundering for us. Rousseau said a people have the government they deserve. The Traphagen property is next. Stand by!


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