HOMETOWN HAPPENINGS: Preserving History for Future Generations

BY SUPERVISOR GEORGE HOEHMANN

Clarkstown is fortunate to have one of the oldest sand stone houses in the region located in West Nyack. The Tallman-Budke house is the most significant architectural artifact in the area and was first constructed nearly 300 years ago. The Vanderbilt-Budke-Traphagen house represents a colonial revival style dwelling.

My family and friends know I’m a real history buff, so restoring the Tallman-Budke house and the adjacent Vanderbilt/Budke/Traphagen has always been one of my top priorities. I grew up just down the road from the property and it holds a special place in my memories.

As many of you know, it’s a beautiful nine-acre piece of property adjacent to our 78-acre Germonds Park, which has lots of recreational amenities, making it the perfect location for us to teach our children about our history.

Upon becoming supervisor, I started to work with our state representatives, Senator Carlucci and Assemblyman Zebrowski, on securing state funds to restore and renovate these historic gems.    Through their efforts, we secured $500,000 to do just that.  

Earlier this year, my office worked with our state representative and the Historical Society of Rockland County to add both houses to the New York State Register of Historic Places, as well as the National Register of Historic Places. Just last week, we dedicated a historical marker for each of the houses. Now residents and visitors can clearly see and read a brief description of their importance.

We’re already starting to bring more people to the property to experience all it has to offer. This year, the town started a weekly farmers’ market on the property, giving Clarkstown residents access to agricultural products and returning this unique and historic property to its roots as a farm. A local civic organization, Heritage of West Nyack, just held their fifth annual fall festival showcasing the houses, with Revolutionary War Reenactments, sheep shearing, animals, pumpkins, storytelling, lace making demonstrations, and pen turning workshops.

A special thanks to Heritage of West Nyack, the Historical Society, and our Recreation Department for working to coordinate these special events and bring awareness to these two houses and property.

Traphagen 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 of our great country. I’m honored and proud to have received the national and state designations and to dedicate the historical markers.

If we continue to work together, we can be sure that the Traphagen property is preserved and restored, and that it becomes a destination for learning about our great history.