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Chappaqua Home Could Receive Landmark Status

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – A house at 300 Quaker Road in Chappaqua could receive landmark status next month when the New Castle Town Board meets for a public hearing.

The board agreed Monday night to set the hearing, following a request from the town’s Landmark Advisory Committee. Committee Chair Gray Williams said the Victorian house was once the summer home of Isaiah Williams, an attorney for Horace Greeley.

“The current owners are putting their home up on the market, and we regard this as an opportunity to demonstrate to other owners how landmark status can enhance the value of a historic property,” Williams wrote to the Town Board in May.

Williams, a New York City attorney, bought the property in 1868 for $16,000. His principal client was Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune newspaper, which he defended from numerous libel suits. Several alterations have been made to the house since he died in 1886, but it remains mostly the same, Williams said.

The house initially belonged to 18th-century resident John Reynolds, who settled on several hundred acres of land from Kipp Street to Roaring Brook Road in 1740. A small area in the back of 300 Quaker Road was initially thought to be a later addition to the property, but Williams said research revealed it is what remains from Reynolds’ “pioneer home.”

“The site thus has double historical significance,” Williams wrote. “The Victorian house is a fine example of a gentleman’s residence of the period, and it belonged to a notable New York citizen. But the modest earlier section is one of the rare relics of the settlement in New Castle by Quaker farmers of a century before.”

Once declared a landmark, the town has no further connection with the house, unless a building permit for an addition or exterior remodeling has been issued. The Landmark Advisory Committee would then be asked to review the plans and make comments if necessary. The committee does not have regulatory review over changes, however, and it would be the owner's decision to follow the advice or not.

The public hearing to declare 300 Quaker Road as a New Castle landmark will be during the board's Oct. 23 meeting.

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