Government

Yorktown Looks to Preserve Its Historical Legacy

2161e7e13c485c707fdd_c497ad21417842210d6c_9622.JPG
Yorktown Town Hall Credits: File Photo
2161e7e13c485c707fdd_c497ad21417842210d6c_9622.JPG

EDIT: This story has been updated.

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – To make out the faded engravings on old gravestones, experts will reflect sunlight onto the face of the stone with a mirror. Under new light, centuries-old inscriptions will be experienced once again.

As one of Westchester County’s oldest towns, some artifacts in Yorktown need more than a mirror. Luckily, the community has a number of residents who are passionate about preserving the historic sites around town.

Sign Up for E-News

“We are very lucky that we have people who are dedicated to this,” said Supervisor Michael Grace. “They’re making great strides with their new program recognizing Homes of Historic Distinction.”

The town board recently met with members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission to discuss three new projects: the search and rescue of private burial grounds, the restoration of the old railroad station, and the deconstruction and restoration of Zino’s barn. Once completed, the town’s newest occupants will have three new ways to catch a glimpse into the lives of its earliest.

Zino’s Barn

Of the three structures that sit on the site of the future Lowe’s at 3220 Crompond Road, one dates back to the 18th century. With the impending project, its destruction is unavoidable—almost.

The town is working with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to deconstruct and then re-assemble the building elsewhere.

Grace said someone who specializes in this type of historical preservation will lead the project. Town officials said a new location has not yet been decided on, so the schedule for the project remains unclear. Grace said Lowe’s developers, Breslin Realty, and Lowe’s itself, might each contribute to the cost.

Hyatt Cemetery

Across the street from the Adams-Bernstein House, at 3147 Old Yorktown Road (Route 132), is a small, private graveyard nestled into the corner of the property. Private cemeteries are commonly seen on colonial properties and farmsteads, but are not always maintained to the same standards of publicly owned burial grounds.

Dr. Ed Pell, a member of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, approached the board with a proposal to purchase the land and repair the plot. Pell is also on the Yorktown Historical Society’s board of trustees.

“The Col. John Hyatt Burying Ground is the quintessential item representing the early history of present-day Yorktown,” Pell said.

Descendants of Yorktown’s first settler, John Hyatt, are buried on the plot along with members of the Strang, Ferris, Hughson and Travis families. There are 10 graves on the lot, the earliest dating back to 1759.

Parks and Recreation Department staff have documented the state of the tombstones, but that’s as far as the project has gotten. Grace said the town and commission are exploring grant options to fund the project, and eventually similar ones in the future.

Railroad Station

In 1981, the railroad station that sits along the North County Trailway was listed on the National Register of Historic Places to commemorate the years it served as a cultural hub for the town.

According to the town’s website, in the 1800s, the station was once surrounded by five stores, a school, a hotel, two locksmiths, a wheelwright and two churches.

Although the station is just 400 square feet, the cost of restoring it to historical standards is anticipated to be about $300,000, town officials said.

The cost is worth it, according to Grace, who said that as far as he’s concerned, “it should have been done yesterday.”

The project is partially funded by grants through the Department of Transportation and town officials said they hope to complete it in time for the fall.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Yorktown

Catching up with Westchester County Executive George Latimer

George Latimer, our new county executive, has been in office now for a little over half a year. I thought it might be a good time to check in with my friend to see how things were going. You can see the interview in its entirety on Channel 74 (Optimum) at 9 p.m. Wednesday nights.

What happened last November?

The election last November brought change throughout Westchester County. In my ...

You’ll Get a Kick out of Musical Classic ‘Anything Goes’

I’ve loved Broadway musicals since I was smaller than a piano bench. That’s one reason I enjoy writing about local productions in this space. The more people who go to musicals, the happier it makes me.

I didn’t realize how old-fashioned about musicals I could be, though, until my wife Elyse and I at long last saw “Wicked.” It only took us 15 years to get there.

Loose Ends

July 20, 2018

Real life is not the movies.

Things are not wrapped up in a neat bow, motivations are not explained, and things often don’t make sense.

Two weeks ago, a man driving “triple digits” in a Dodge Charger exited the Taconic State Parkway at Underhill Avenue, blew through a stop sign, and t-boned an SUV, injuring a mother and her 19-year-old daughter. Here is ...

The Adventures of Superdog

I was always very impressed that my dog could bark on command and come when I called his name, until I read in the newspaper about a dog that saved his owner’s life by calling 9-1-1. Apparently, when his owner had a seizure, the dog pushed a speed-dial button for 9-1-1, barked into the receiver for help, and then opened the door when the responders arrived.

Honestly, though, it’s ...

If You See Something, Say Something

July 11, 2018

I am writing this letter because I see something different with the new Yorktown Town Board. I see an open government instead of a dictatorship with rubber stamps. I see the new Town Board working together for the best interests of the residents in Yorktown.

The auditor suggests in his report to not start a capital project without having the money first. A bad example is the Granite Knolls ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Carmel Cinema 8, Carmel

Film Screening on Suicide

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_33eaa2f6bb221068af63_782289e382fb71551284_bocce_open_play_6-19-18

Thu, July 26, 7:00 PM

Yorktown Heights

Bocce Open Play

Sports

Carousel_image_7b0fa143b2d15f3de94e_repaircafehv-logo-final

Sat, July 28, 10:00 AM

Grace Lutheran Church Fellowship hall, Yorktown Heights

Repair Cafe

Education Giving Back Green

Three from Houlihan Lawrence Named ‘America’s Best Real Estate Agents’

July 20, 2018

John Kincart, Douglas Dill and Annette Cicinelli have been named among America’s most productive sales associates as a part of REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Agents, the newly issued ranking report produced by REAL Trends and sponsored by Zillow Group. They are now members of the “America’s Best Real Estate Agents.”

REAL Trends America’s Best Real ...