Preservation Issues

Reclaim Frederick Law Olmsted’s Historic Staten Island Home


-Olmsted House before - Circa 1920s


-Olmsted House - 2018


-Olmsted Kickoff Meeting


-We were joined by our architectural team from Jan Hird Pokorny Associates as well as representatives from the Department of Parks and Recreation, The Historic House Trust and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.


-The architects took measurements of the house, inside and out, to prepare base drawings.

UPDATE: January 2019
Rescue Meeting at Frederick Law Olmsted’s Historic Home

Our efforts to save Frederick Law Olmsted’s home on Staten Island took another step forward with a kickoff meeting on January 9th to start the rescue. We were joined by our architectural team from Jan Hird Pokorny Associates as well as representatives from the Department of Parks and Recreation, The Historic House Trust and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The architects took measurements of the house, inside and out, to prepare base drawings. They also re-inspected the interior to update the initial 2018 conditions report. Shoring up the first floor of the house is a top priority. Once the drawings of the cellar are prepared, a structural engineer will visit the site to determine how exactly to do that.

We also anticipate building a temporary roof over the open ditches surrounding the house where the porches once stood to prevent water penetration into the basement. The Conservancy is funding the work thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign and generous grant from the Achelis and Bodman Foundation. We are continuing to fundraise.
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UPDATE: December 2018
Olmsted Home Receives a $25,000 Grant

Frederick Law Olmsted’s Staten Island home is another step closer to being stabilized thanks to a $25,000 grant from The Achelis and Bodman Foundation we received on December 19. Added to the $27,350 generated by a successful Kickstarter campaign and direct donations, the grant ensures that the most crucial work on this important landmark can be done this spring.

We’re thrilled The Achelis and Bodman Foundation gave our efforts a boost and grateful to the more than 200 individual contributors to our campaign to date. The Conservancy needs to raise another $97,650 to cover all the stabilization needs. All the funds raised will be used for work on the house. The ultimate goal is to have the Parks Department, which owns the house, complete the restoration and adapt the building and grounds for public use.

While living in this house in the 1840s, Olmsted began experimenting with plantings that informed his later plans for Central and Prospect Parks, as well as parks around the country. His home could, and should be a destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike.
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November, 2018

WE DID IT!
You helped save Olmsted! Heartfelt thanks to the 211 generous backers who pledged $22,000 to our Kickstarter Campaign to reclaim Frederick Law Olmsted’s home on Staten Island. We would also like to thank our colleague organizations who shared our campaign with their followers including Friends of Olmsted-Beil House, Frederick Law Olmsted Society, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, Untapped Cities, and The Historic House Trust of New York City. Our fundraising efforts to stabilize the house are off to a great start.

We did it….TOGETHER!

This Kickstarter Campaign was the initial step of a $150,000 campaign to stabilize the building so that ultimately the City’s Parks Department can complete the restoration and adapt the building for use as an educational center.

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WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT
Tucked away on the South Shore of Staten Island is a forgotten and abandoned landmark in desperate need of attention. The Frederick Law Olmsted Farmhouse, presently known as the Olmsted-Beil House served as the early Staten Island residence of the eminent landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted from 1848 until 1854. Olmsted’s work here greatly influenced his later landscape designs of Central and Prospect Parks in New York City and other parks across the country.

Alerted to its severely neglected condition last summer, the New York Landmarks Conservancy led a national campaign to sound the alarm about this endangered landmark and paid for an updated Conditions Assessment Report, which showed that it would cost $153,400 to stabilize the house.

WHAT WILL YOUR CONTRIBUTION SUPPORT
For the first phase of this project, the Conservancy is seeking to raise $16,000 to immediately fund the temporary stabilization of the first floor, repair broken windows, and repaint the exterior wood siding of the house. Completing this stabilization is the necessary first step so that the house and grounds can be turned into an environmental and educational center on landscape architecture today.

Reclaiming the Olmsted House is not part of the Conservancy’s annual budget but we recognize the importance of restoring this landmark site so that it can eventually offer programs to New Yorkers and visitors alike. We are working with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and a newly activated Friends group on Staten Island, but we need you to join us to save this national treasure.


DONATE HERE

NOTABLE SUPPORTERS
Notable Parks advocates have joined the Conservancy in forming the Reclaim Olmsted House Committee and endorse our campaign including:

Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, President, Foundation for Landscape Studies; Founder, Central Park Conservancy
Charles Birnbaum, President, Cultural Landmarks Foundation
Sue Donoghue, President and Administrator, Prospect Park
Gordon J. Davis, former New York City Parks Commissioner
Lynden B. Miller, public garden designer
Adrian Benepe, former New York City Parks Commissioner
Tupper Thomas, Founding President, Prospect Park Alliance
Kenneth Jackson, historian
Ric Burns, documentary film maker
Bernadette Castro, former New York State Parks Commissioner
Kent Barwick, historic preservationist
Janice Monger, President & CEO, Staten Island Museum
Richard Moylan, President, Green-Wood Cemetery
Michael van Valkenburg, landscape architect
NYC Historic House Trust
Ethan Carr, Professor, Landscape Architecture; editor, 8th volume Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted
Victoria Cerullo, Bloomberg LP

WHY KICKSTARTER
This Kickstarter campaign is the catalyst to stabilize the landmark so that ultimately NYC Parks and a local community group can complete the restoration and adapt the building for use as an education center.