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What's To Become of Cudner-Hyatt House

ScarsdaleHistorical_copyControversy is brewing over an application by the Scarsdale Historical Society to convert the Cudner Hyatt House on the Post Road from museum to single-family home. The house was built between 1734 and 1754, predating the Revolutionary War. Strapped for funds, the Historical Society wishes to sell the 18th century building that it has used as a museum since it was granted a variance in 1974.The Society has applied to the Scarsdale Zoning Board of Appeals to amend that variance and revert the building for use as a single family residence. A decision on the application was held over at the Board’s February 8th meeting and is on the agenda for the March 14, 2011 meeting.

Despite the challenges of paying for the property, some are not in favor of clearing the way for the demolition of this historic building. The Scarsdale Arts Council contends that the house is “one of Scarsdale’s greatest heritage treasures,” and “has been the focus of community attention for more than two and half centuries.” It was originally part of a 200-acre farm that extended from the Post Road to the Bronx River. More recently, “Generations of Scarsdalians, including thousands of school children, have visited Cudner-Hyatt and participated in a wide range of activities centered there,” and furthermore, a Historical Resources Survey of Scarsdale acknowledges that Cudner-Hyatt house is a “likely landmark for designation.” The house already has historic site recognition form Westchester County, the State of New York and the national government.

In a statement from the Scarsdale Forum’s Executive Committee issued under expeditious treatment, two recommendations are made, both of which are endorsed by the Scarsdale Arts Council.

First, the Forum recommends that the Board of Appeals hold off a decision on the matter until the Historical Society informs the N.Y.S. Attorney General of their application.

Second, that the Society continue to maintain and the house and make it available for public use while the decision is pending.Since the N.Y.S Attorney General is responsible for supervision of charities in the state the Forum contends that they should have the opportunity to address the matter and possibly find a white knight to save the property. They urge the Society to maintain the house in the interim to “avoid irreparable harm” and to seek ways to save it and use it.

In a rather cryptic message on the Scarsdale Historical Society’s Facebook page, a post says:

There's a lot of chatter about the Society's application to lift the variance at 937 Post Road to return it to its original as of right single-family residential use. We probably agree with you. We also care about the buildings and lifting the variance is not intended to destroy them. Let us know your concerns or thoughts.

The matter will be considered by the Zoning Board of Appeals at Scarsdale Village Hall on Wednesday March 14 at 8 pm.

 

 

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#2 Liz Waltzman 2012-03-11 06:31
There is rich local history in Scarsdale dating back to 1701 with primary documents to inform that history in the Village Hall, Westchester County Archives and New York Historical Society, to name a few. Most (if not all) neighboring towns have active historical societies with buildings that represent and retain their towns' histories. From the very inception of the settling of the Manor of Scarsdale through the American Revolution, Civil War, Civil Rights Era and McCarthyism, there is much to know and much more to find regarding the history of Scarsdale and its diverse inhabitants. In addition, local Scarsdale history is now an integral part of the 7th grade social studies curriculum at Scarsdale Middle School and will likely become a part of the 8th grade curriculum as well.
As an educator and former resident of Scarsdale, I would like to urge great caution in the handling of this historic building and would love to find ways for the schools and the historical society to work together.
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#1 Phyllis C. Murray 2012-03-09 23:36
The Cudner-Hyatt property should remain as a museum. However, it should be reinterpreted to reflect the history of diversity in the Scarsdale community. Philipsburgh Manor Upper Mills was reintrepreted to show the early African presence in the North as well as the the Native American and European connections to American History. This can be done in Scarsdale. The excavation of the African Burial Ground in lower Manhattan was just the beginning of uncovering of an accurate history that needs to addressed. Visit:http://ww w.americantowns .com/ny/scarsda le/news/the-afr ican-presence-i n-scarsdale-ny- 8812743
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