The Village of Nyack will reclaim its oldest Dutch sandstone house from a bank following a complicated negotiation led by the newly-formed non-profit group, the John Green Preservation Coalition. The 1817 house at the foot of Main Street has been donated by Wells Fargo to the coalition, which plans to restore it, and create an historic visitors’ center and venue for community events.
The coalition announced the donation on September 15 at a press conference in front of the house at 23 Main Street in Nyack. The coalition persuaded Wells Fargo, and its servicer, Ocwen Financial Corporation, to donate the house, citing its importance to Nyack’s history. The dilapidated, long-abandoned, stucco-shrouded, fenced-in house, has been an eyesore for more than a decade. The bank acquired the house in lieu of foreclosure 18 months ago. Its builder and original habitant, John Green, was an enterprising entrepreneur who put Nyack on the map by laying the foundation for the seaport and for Nyack Turnpike, the predecessor for Route 59.
“Historic preservationists have a habit of falling in love with old houses they don’t own,” said Rick Tannenbaum, the president of the John Green Coalition. “That’s how I felt about the John Green House. I’m thrilled our coalition has taken the house back for Nyack, a beautiful historic village.”
Underneath the stucco, which has encased the house for decades, is an architecturally-significant Dutch sandstone structure that represents a typical early 19th-century village house. Though the inside, which had been carved up and severely neglected, needs to gutted, preservation architects believe the exterior of the house can be saved and restored.
The coalition hopes to complete the house in time to coincide with the opening of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, and to use the house to stimulate tourism and cultural activity in Nyack.