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Yorktown Letter: Historic House Faces Demolition

Photo Credit: File

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Yorktown Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send signed letters to Yorktown@dailyvoice.com.

“There is no there there” --- Gertrude Stein made this remark in 1937 referring to Oakland, Calif., and its lack of culture.

She could just as easily have been referring to Yorktown. I moved here with my family in 1996 from Manhattan. I subsequently spent several months driving around with my then-toddlers trying desperately to find the center, the lovely old downtown that I had assumed was an integral part of all Westchester villages.

I had seen it in Irvington, Bedford, Ossining, Tarrytown, even Peekskill, but it was not to be located in Yorktown. Our downtown consists of a series of strip malls, surrounded by some pre-fab “phony colonials.” I’m not lucky enough to be living in a historic residence, but I truly value their presence in my hometown.

Over the years, I have stood by silently as the Strang Farmhouse was demolished by the Yorktown Central School District – for parking; then, the incredible and historically valuable Knapp residence across from BJ’s – bulldozed again in favor of a parking lot.

And now, The Croft, an imposing and majestic residence, built in 1914, currently on the market to be sold off for its historic parts and subsequently demolished, located strategically within the confines of the wonderful Teatown Lake Reservation.

I understand completely the rationale of Teatown’s board. The building is a dinosaur, requiring hundreds of thousands of dollars to repurpose or restore. But, it is so beautiful, and such a testament to another era of Yorktown – one that actually allowed Teatown to happen.

I’d like to hope that Teatown cared enough about the historic importance of The Croft to investigate Federal Historic Tax Credit; Preserve America; Save America’s Treasures and other sources and to reach out to members of the public engaged in historic preservation.

Yorktown’s history is disappearing – brick by brick. Yes, these structures require money for rehabilitation and repurposing, but doesn’t anyone besides me believe that they are more valuable to our community than the ugly structures that inevitably replace them?

Terry Keller Naumann

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