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Long Island Neighbors Work To Save Historic House From Wrecking Ball

Nassau County Wants The Land For A New Police Station

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BALDWIN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A battle is under way on Long Island to save a rare piece of history from bulldozers.

As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Tuesday, preservationists have undertaken a grassroots effort to preserve a house that has connections to the Civil War.

“People look at this and they see peeling paint, and they think it’s falling apart,” said Karen Montalbano of Save the Kellogg House. “But it’s just peeling paint.”

Pigeons have taken up residence in the house, but behind the peeling clapboard, there is treasure.

“It’s in pretty much the same condition as when it was built,” Montalbano said. “And that’s amazing. That’s something that you don’t see.”

The house was built in 1900 by Civil War veteran George Sumner Kellogg. It is now owned by Nassau County, which plans to build a much-needed larger police precinct at the site.

“When I heard that this house – the Kellogg House – might be (demolished), it was sort of something that I just couldn’t sit quietly by,” said architectural preservationist Arthur Rollin.

History buffs stepped in to save what they called a remarkable time capsule.

“The shingles, the clapboards – a lot of exterior elements – in addition to everything, practically, on the interior, is original to when it was built,” Rollin said. “And it’s 113 years old, so that’s pretty rare to find.

Tubs, sinks and stained glass are also original. The arches are perfect examples of Queen Anne construction form when Long Island was transitioning from farm land to suburbs.

The house faces what in 1900 was a wood-planked road, which later became known as Merrick Road. At the turn of the 20th century, it was lined with majestic homes of prominent families.

New York State last week deemed the house eligible as a national landmark. Nassau County officials have offered to move the house, but that could compromise its rare brick foundation with tree trunk supports.

“Our aim is to try and save the house, but also keep the precinct as well,” Montalbano said. “That’s really what we would like to see for this community.”

County officials said several options are being explored. Historians said any option that includes bulldozing the history beneath the gabled roof would mean the loss of the last of its kind.

If the house makes it to the national registry, it will be eligible for federal and state grants to restore it.

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