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Clarkstown Hires Preservationist To Study Historic House

Vanderbilt Budke House Photo Credit: Tina Traster
Inside the Vanderbilt Budke house Photo Credit: Tina Traster
Bob Knight Photo Credit: Tina Traster

CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- The Town of Clarkstown has hired an historic restoration expert to study the town's oldest house and to make recommendations for its rehabilitation.

The town council Thursday voted unanimously to hire Tim Adriance, Historic Restoration and Consulting of Bergenfield, N.J. for $9,000 to create an historic structure report for the Vanderbilt-Budke House.

Hiring Adriance signals a victory for preservationists and historians who tirelessly pushed town officials during the past six months to be proactive about studying and preserving the 1730 Dutch sandstone house in West Nyack.

Clarkstown bought the house, along with another historic farmhouse, from Hugh Traphagan, John's son, in 2011. Both houses are situated on a nine-acre parcel adjacent to Germonds Park.

Over the years, committees of civil servants, public officials and citizens have met to discuss the potential of the parcel. Earlier this year, the town leased nearly the entire parcel to the Rockland Farm Alliance, a local farming group. The lease agreement allows the Alliance's farmers to live in the other farmhouse.

Preservationists worried that there was no specific plan for the Vanderbilt-Budke house, which was showcased in October during a pumpkin fest.

"It took a lot of background work and external pressure to make this happen but I'm really excited about moving forward," said Clarkstown Town Historian Bob Knight.

Built by Jacob Vanderbilt, the house is believed to be the second-oldest house in Rockland County. The Vanderbilts lived in the house until the 1860s. It was bought by George H. Budke Sr. in 1868 and occupied by his son George, a noted historian of Rockland County, until 1934, when he sold it to John C. Traphagan.

Adriance will study the history of the house utilizing photographs, deeds, and old documents. Then he will come up with one or more restoration plans, which could cost millions. What happens next will depend on what direction that town wants to take and what funding is available.

The historic structure report is expected to take four months to complete.

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