18th Preservation Merit Awards-2008


The 18th Annual Rockland County Executive's Historic Preservation Merit Awards and Country Supper

On Sunday, May 18, 2008, over 100 supporters of the Historical Society of Rockland County gathered for a wonderful evening which celebrated Rockland County Preservation Week, as well as recognizing those who are working to preserve our local history -- while supporting your historical society.

It was also a great opportunity to hear our guest speaker, William Krattinger, from the New York State Historic Preservation Office – National Register & Survey Unit for Rockland, Columbia, Dutchess, Orange & Washington counties.

An enjoyable cocktail hour (4-5 p.m.) was followed by a delicious dinner provided by Two Gourmet Gals, Blauvelt, New York.

Those we honored on the grounds of the Historical Society's Jacob Blauvelt Historic Site for 2008 were:

Preservation/Restoration, for preservation of the historic form, materials and appearance of the property:

  • Andre Hill, Tappan - P. & J. Printz, Owners
  • Oak Tree Road, Tappan - H. & A. Boucher, Owners
  • South Broadway, Nyack - J. Degenshein, Owner

Preservation Leadership, for individuals, groups and governmental agencies displaying outstanding leadership or continuing contribution to the preservation of historic resources in Rockland County:

  • Peter J. Scheibner, Rockland County Archivist

Commendation, in recognition of preservation efforts on behalf of King’s Ferry, Stony Point:

  • Eric Emanuel, owner

The Margaret B. and John R. Zehner Award for Historic Contribution for contribution to the County’s history and for underscoring the value of historic preservation to the community:

  • Thomas F. X. Casey, Rockland County Historian
We hope that you'll join us in May 2009 for the 19th Annual Rockland County Executive's Historic Preservation Merit Awards -- please check our website for more information as it becomes available.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

Thank you!
Joanne Potanovic, Committee Co-Chair
phone: 845-634-9629

The 2008 Rockland County Executive's Historic Preservation Merit Awards Committee:

Rosemary Aiello, Mary Cardenas, Erin L. Martin, Robert Masiello, George Potanovic, Jr., Clare Sheridan, Charlene Stern, Caroline Tapley (Committee Co-Chair) and Ann Vitale.

History of the Rockland County Executive's Historic Preservation Merit Awards Program

Since 1991, the Awards Committee, comprised of some 8 members and coordinated by the HSRC, has presented 61 awards to public agencies, private individuals, community-based and religious organizations in recognition of their preservation efforts in the county. The committee also supports continued, critical action to help save Rockland County's environmentally sensitive areas and endangered architecture. Instituted to preserve the rich historical heritage of the county, the annual program celebrates each May with a declaration of "Rockland County Preservation Week" by the County Executive, a festive dinner and awards ceremony.

Rockland has a rich historical past, with a wealth of distinguished 18th and 19th century architecture, including vernacular, Dutch-American stone structures unique to this area. The county, second smallest in the state, was primarily agricultural until the 1960's. But haphazard, voracious development during the past two decades resulted in the loss of many important sites and pressure to indiscriminately build up open space. Loss of family farms in favor of undistinguished commercial projects has been a sad outcome. A lack of public awareness of the need for oversight and planning hasn't helped.

With a rapidly growing population of newcomers to the area, one challenge has been to help the public understand the value of preservation as well as being involved in their community. Addressing this challenge, the Preservation Awards program has:
  • awarded preservation efforts of individuals and groups
  • increased awareness of our historic resources
  • helped local communities to recapture history and pride of place
  • advocated for the purchase of endangered sites for the public good
  • attempted to unite all five townships in the support of historic preservation
Some of the awards made by the committee underline the positive effects of preservation on the community. In one instance, the excellent restoration of a restaurant building focused the integrity of the 18th c. Tappan Historic District. In Sloatsburg, a 19th c. village struggling to retain its working-class history, another commercial restoration anchored the block and is inspiring other renovations. Last year a confluence of town leaders, environmental groups and the Preservation Awards program helped to save the crest of Clausland Mountain on the Hudson River from inappropriate development. This year, the committee joined a citizens' advocacy effort to save the historic Lafayette Theater in Suffern.

The awards made by the committee for preservation efforts on homes both modest and grand help to get out the word that it works in everyone's favor to restore and retain the richness of the past. The process is self-fulfilling, and it helps to unify and inspire a community. This Merit Awards program fulfills the State of New York guidelines for exceptional preservation efforts and public education on the continued need for preservation.


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