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Landmark Committee Seeks Historic Lewisboro Homes

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – If your house is more than 135-years-old, the town of Lewisboro wants to know about it.

The Lewisboro Landmark Committee began a project back in 1981 to catalog Lewisboro homes that it could designated as historic landmarks. Progress had been slow with only 14 homes and two churches receiving the designation. Committee members believe there is a plethora of houses still out there that would qualify.

“We are looking for more,” said Maureen Koehl, a Landmark Committee member and Lewisboro’s town historian.

Koehl said the historic home designation program was the brain child of Ted and Janice Strauss, who live in such a house and head up the Landmark Committee.

“They got the idea back in 1981 when the town was celebrating its 250th anniversary,” Koehl said. “But it’s been going slowly. We thought there would be a lot more people.”

Originally, the requirements called for the house to be built prior to 1850, but that has since been changed to 1875.

“Thirty years have gone by since we started the program, so we had to update it,” Koehl said.

Koehl explained that for homeowners to receive the designation they have to take part in a somewhat “involved process.” They have to fill out the same form used for New York State historic landmark designations, which includes information about the home’s construction, such as wood or brick, how many stories it is, and who built it.

“The research is done by the owner,” she said. “They need to do a deed search and will probably have to make a trip to the county clerk’s office in Elmsford. They’ll need the tax ID number and plot number designated on the town map. They should bring lots of quarters to make copies of all the documents. It’s kind of like doing a family tree for your house.”

After that, the documents are handed over to the Landmark Committee, which will then perform a home inspection to authenticate everything. If the house has been overly renovated and bastardized, it is likely it won’t pass muster.

“It needs to maintain its integrity and the original architecture,” Koehl said.

At last week’s town board meeting, the Strausses and Koehl presented the program’s most recent historic landmark designation plaque to James and Susan Henry who live on Mead Street in Waccabuc.

“Their house is also on the National Historic Register,” Koehl said. “Some [of the historic landmark homeowners] like to name their homes. The Henrys named theirs ‘The Homestead.’ The Strausses call theirs ‘Peaceable Kingdom.’”

Two churches in Lewisboro have received the designation: St. Michael’s Church in Goldens Bridge and the Cross River Baptist Church. Koehl said the Cross River Baptist Church was built in 1789 and is the oldest public building in Lewisboro. She noted that while St. Michael’s is only 100 years old, it received the designation because it’s a “venerable building with other historical significance besides age.”

“We have no homes from Goldens Bridge or Cross River on the list,” Koehl.  “We know there are a lot of homes in those hamlets that would qualify so we hope people will come forward.”

If you think your home may qualify for the historic designation, call Koehl at 914-763-3326.

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