HOMETOWN HAPPENINGS: The Future of Clarkstown’s History

BY GEORGE HOEHMANN

Supervisor, Town of Clarkstown

We live in one of the most historic regions of the country and it is incumbent upon all of us to help preserve those treasured locations that link us to our storied past. As a public servant, I have long fought to preserve and protect those locations here in Clarkstown. That is why when there was a plan to sell and develop the Traphagen property, I joined in opposition with Heritage of West Nyack and countless residents to oppose that plan.

That opposition has borne fruit ever since. Traphagen was saved and my administration has secured $500,000 from Senator Carlucci and Assemblyman Zebrowski to restore the two homes on that property. The property was then given an additional honor when the Traphagen property, which includes the 1820 Vanderbilt-Budke-Traphagen House and the 1791 Tallman-Budke House, was added to the New York State Register of Historic Places.

This week, I am proud to announce that the Traphagen property has been designated a National Historic Place by the US National Park Service. The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation’s historic sites worthy of preservation. It is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify and protect America’s historic and archeological resources. It also means that these historic homes will be preserved forever.

The historic and architectural significance of this property is well known. The Tallman-Budke house is one of the oldest sandstone houses in the region and the Vanderbilt-Budke-Traphagen house represents a local colonial style dwelling. The Traphagen property is a historic jewel of Clarkstown and I will continue to make the rehabilitation of Traphagen a priority. Being listed on the National Register of Historic Places is acknowledgment of the impact Clarkstown has made, not only on the history of our great state, but on the history of our great nation.

This property is personally significant to me as well. I recall many summer days spent at the ponds behind those two historic homes. Whether cooling off by plunging into the ponds using a nearby rope swing or countless hours fishing, they are fond memories. And though those ponds have faded, those memories have not.

Part of the importance of protecting our historic sites is to enable community use of preserved spaces. In just the last month, the town has held a community farmers’ market, helped construct a butterfly garden and has even begun building a two-mile long nature trail. Today, new memories are being created on this nationally recognized historic site.

We could never and should never outgrow our history.  But as our town continues to expand, we must ensure that our history is preserved for the future.  And because of the hard work of many, it is.