Tappantown Historical Society Awards 2008
Our first Achievement Award goes to Joe and Pam Printz for their meticulous and imaginative renovation and restoration of their 1890
Victorian house on Andre Hill. Their challenge was to add much needed space yet retain the proportions of the original house. With their
architect, Jerry Vis, they added 1400 sq. ft, enhanced significant details of the original house and maintained a scale harmonious with
the other houses in the neighborhood, several of which are also from the Victorian period.
To this end, Vis concentrated on maintaining the rhythm of line across the facade of the house by setting the addition back of the house’s
most distinctive feature, its turret. He also extended the porch across the front, keeping the same roof line and aligning the eccentrically
placed windows. To unify the new and the old elements of the house, details such as the porch trim and railing and the cedar siding
were kept when possible or were matched and copied. French doors, popular in the Victorian period, were added to open onto the front
and back porches. On the back porch, a pergola, also used often in the Victorian period, links the inside with the outside to create an
outdoor room, which will eventually be covered by wisteria.
The turret roof received special attention. The six shingled segments of the roof are accentuated by aluminum ribs and topped by its
charming tin finial, which was repaired and restored by Matt Delia at the Tappan Body Shop. (He speculates that the finial may have been
originally fashioned there when it was a blacksmith’s shop in the 19th century.)
When the Printzes bought 16 Andre Hill in 1994, they were looking for an old house with character. In its new coat of Tyler Taupe and
Brilliant white, trimmed and decked out in warm Brazilian mahogany, this old house has retained its character and acquired a simple
elegance that enhances the entire neighborhood.
The second Achievement Award is presented to Alan and Heidi Boucher. They, too, have given new life to an old beauty, 34 Oak Tree Rd.,
the Greek Revival house that abuts Tappan Memorial Park and faces the DeWint House across the road. It has been known as the
Campbell House and The House by the Tar Barrel Tree (which came down in the 1950s ). There is some evidence that the original
house, the current west wing, dates from the 18th century, and the larger, main section of the house was added around 1830. The
Bouchers purchased it in 2006 from Paul Melone, and began a prodigious restoration.
Aided by a friend, David Hills, the Bouchers replaced a rear door, rotted beams, sills, and soffits, and worked some complicated magic
on gutters. Damaged siding was replaced, insulation installed, and the old paint painstakingly scraped off. Marvin six-over-six divided
light windows replaced some windows not specific to the time period so that all windows are six-over-six with the exception of the
eyebrow windows and older ones at the top of the house.
Particular attention went into the repair of the bay window and the front door surround. A gleaming copper roof replaced the tin roof of the
bay window, and the surround was taken apart, flashed with copper, and 85% new wood replaced the damaged sections.
Much of the Bouchers’ work is unseen, especially the restoration and repair to the interior; the most apparent feature to passersby is the
inspired use of subtle but dramatic color to bring out the architectural details. Authentic historic colors from California Paints were used:
Pitch Pine for the siding and Jewett White for the trim. A Benjamin Moore Colonial Cranberry on the front door was chosen to match the
red metal roof which Paul Melone had commissioned (and which was installed by Joel Tozer) several years ago.
It is a delight to round the bend on Oak Tree Rd. and see this beautiful homage to the history of Tappan. Thank you, Alan and Heidi.
Our final award this evening is the Fellowship Award, given to acknowledge a group or an individual’s extraordinary service and
significant achievements, which have affected the Tappan historic community. Catherine Dodge is such a person. Tappan’s historic
community is not preserved under glass and does not exist in a vacuum; in its historic heritage and its present struggles with the
pressures of growth and development, it is inextricably linked to the larger town, the county, the state, and, of course, the nation. We are
fortunate to have Catherine working for the Tappan community in ways that connect us to those larger spheres. Here are just a few of her
activities: Catherine served as Deputy Supervisor under Jack Cassidy; she has been the Orangetown Director of the Rockland County
Conservation Association, and a member of the Tappan Zee Bridge Task Force. Currently, she is the chair of the Friends of Orangetown
Museum and Archives and the Chair of the Orangetown Parks Development Advisory Committee. Specifically in Tappan, Catherine
helped with Dan Toan’s mapping of historic houses, and has worked with Superintendent of Parks Richard Rose on developing the Oak
Tree Playground and the Joseph B. Clarke trail. Most recently, Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef thanked Catherine for her
role in having Rockland County placed on a list of historic communities by Preserve America, a federal program which provides grants
for history-related projects.
Catherine’s vitality, common sense, hard work, good humor, and commitment to her community make her essential to us in our efforts to
communicate and achieve our goals.
Thank you, Catherine.
Tappantown Historical Society Awards 2010
The Tappantown Historical Society's Award Recipients for 2009 were:
Suzanne Daycock of Our Town newspaper - Authorship of a series of articles about Tappan's history, historical events and the
Tappantown Historical Society
William Beckmann - Exterior building restoration and the creation of a perennial garden border in the historic district
Mary Cardenas and Elizabeth Skrabonja of the Orangetown Museum - Renovation of an interior public space and creation of a new
permanent exhibit documenting the Andre-Arnold Plot
In keeping with the Tappantown Historical Society’s three-fold mission of education, protection, and preservation, the society
established several achievement awards to honor those who help to foster the goals of the society. The awards are for exterior
renovation and restoration of a structure; interior restoration and renovation of a public space, eg; a museum, church, library;
organization of an event in the historic area; authorship of a book or article about Tappan, Orangetown, or Rockland County; and for
gardens which enhance the historic area..
Because education depends on sound, reliable, clear, well-written information, we are pleased to award Suzanne Daycock of OUR
TOWN for her series of articles in the 2007and 2008 special editions, “ Tappan in the Spring.” Suzanne’s articles have featured such
events as the Washington/Carleton reenactment in 2008, the spirits, not to say ghosts, of Tappan, and the efforts at preservation by
the Historic Society, the Tappan Reformed Church, the Masons at the DeWint grounds, and the Volunteer Fire Association of Tappan.
Suzanne’s colorful articles are based on solid research, careful attention to details, and extensive interviews, which often become
lively conversations about history. Her own enthusiasm for her subject turns what could be routine reporting into an engaging
introduction to and education about the rich history of Tappan and the efforts to preserve it. Thank you, Suzanne.
Our next award goes to William Beckmann for his restoration of the Mabie-Hennion House at 67 Main St., which now houses his
office, Beckmann Appraisals, and for the landscaping and perennial garden along Main St., which was designed by Mary Ellen
LeWarn of Ironwood Design.
Ginny McCarthy - in recognition of over forty years of leadership and service
The Fellowship Award is given to a person who exemplifies the values of the Tappantown Historical Society over a long period of time.
This year for her 40 plus years of service and leadership in the Society itself, the award goes to GinnyMcCartthy.
She has always taken the society’s mission –to preserve and protect our heritage in Tappan through education– to heart. Here are a
few examples of her accomplishments:
* In the early days of our organization, she wrote a walking tour guide, fielded requests from schools for guided tours, lined up guides,
and up until a couple of years ago was a much sought after guide herself. After the Tappantown commemoration of the Andre trial in
1980, Ginny added an annual Oct.2 walk replicating Major Andre’s last walk from this tavern up to the hill that has been given his name.
* Back in 1971, Ginny and her husband Edward worked with the Historical Society of Tarrytown to produce a limited edition of the
Capture of Andre engraving from the original 1845 steel plate. Ginny was secretary of the print committee for the next fifteen years.
* For eight years–through the years of her presidency and later–Ginny edited and wrote articles for The Drummer Boy, a semi-annual
effort which combined current news of the historic district and well researched articles of local historical interest
* For more than 20 years, Ginny, in period costume, has held forth at the De Wint House kitchen. When I [ Tom LaValle, former
president of THS is speaking] asked her about her interest in colonial cooking , she took me back to the colonial cooking classes at
the Dutch Larder of the Historical Society of Rockland County in the ‘70's. She baked the first loaf of bread in their bee-hive oven.
Things she learned there have been passed on to her apprentices in the De Wint House kitchen. She even got some of her girls to
peel apples expertly.
* Just one more highlight on the preservation through education theme. While she was president of the society, Ginny was asked by
Town Supervisor Tom Kleiner to chair a committee to plan for the installation of historic signs to designate the boundaries of the
historic district. These yellow and blue markers are wonderful visual reminders of people like Ginny who
worked so hard to bring the district about more than forty years ago.
* Ginny McCarthy, we have a lot to thank you for–many years of service and leadership for our worthy cause. Here is the Tappantown
Historical Society’s Fellowship Award you so richly deserve.
The work on the structure, an early 19th century 3-bay, 2- story vernacular Greek Revival house with eyebrow windows, entailed
stripping the paint down to the original cedar and pine. (Contractor Chris Huber used a “green” process known as Peel-a-way, which
leaves very little detritus), and repainting it with Benjamin Moore Brilliant White; the shutters are Newport Blue. The derelict side porch
was brought up to code and new railings with colonial spindles replaced old boards; rotting wooden cellar doors were replaced;
Huber hand-crafted a wooden front storm door to fit the small front doorway, and the battered colonial style sign was repainted,
relettered, and remounted in its old iron armature.
The garden was created by removing the bedraggled, overgrown privet hedge that obscured the lines of the house. A dry stone
roundwall by Irish Stonework was built to shore up the flower beds. Mary Ellen designed an old-fashioned perennial garden filled with
hydrangeas, sweet woodruff, spirea, roses, ladies’ mantle, yarrow, day lilies, a star magnolia, and a fragrant lilac, just to name some
of the plantings. Because the work began after the sidewalks were installed and the work on the house was complete, this will be the
first season that the borders will be in full bloom.
We thank Bill for his affection for the neighborhood where he lived as a boy at 83 Main Street in the old, now gone, Van Wart House,
and for his stewardship of the Mabie-Hennion house where he used to go for milk and cookies when Hannah and Walter Rhodes
lived there, and where he now has his business.
And thank you, Mary Ellen, who has landscaped the new Piermont Library and maintains the Tappan Library. Mary Ellen is accepting
the award for Bill, who cannot be here.
The final achievement award is shared by Mary Cardenas, Director of the Orangetown Museum and Elizabeth Skrabonja, curator, for
the installation of the permanent exhibit “A Spy in Our Midst” at the Salyer House on Blue Hill Road in Pearl River. The fine restoration
of the Salyer House, which reopened on Nov. 15, 2008 and the other two permanent exhibits on Dutch Sandstone Houses and life in a
19th century house share in this recognition, but we are emphasizing the Major Andre Room because of its enduring value in showing
and telling the dramatic story of a most dangerous episode in the War for Independence. The Andre Room places us in the 18th
century with its colors and curtains true to those of the time period. Through handsome wall panels of text, artifacts, and illustrations,
the times and tensions of the Andre-Arnold plot come to life. Mary and Elizabeth have used items from the Historic Society’s
collections and the Tappan Reformed Church to their best advantage. In the room, one can read of the plot, researched and written
by Mary, and see the events unfold in engravings from the Tappantown Historic Society’s Gaeta Collection of Andre prints and in
facsimiles of secret documents found in Andre’s boots. A model of the Vulture, the British ship on which Arnold made his escape, has
been painstaking cleaned and reglued; an 1884 model of the ’76 House where Andre was incarcerated, is on display. The room also
contains the 18th century desk of Rev. Muzelius, the pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church from 1727 -1749, and facsimiles of letters
to Gen. George Washington, both of which are on loan from the Tappan Reformed Church.
Gussied up in colonial garb, Mary and Elizabeth have given knowledgeable tours to over 300 7th grade students who visited the
Museum in February.
Thank you, Mary and Elizabeth, for an exhibit of great aesthetic, educational, and historic value.
Tappantown Historical Society Awards 2009
Awards Dinner, February 26, 2010
Achievement Awards Presentation:
In keeping with the THS three-fold mission of education, protection, and preservation, the society
established several achievement awards to honor those who help to foster the goals of the society. The
awards are for exterior renovation and restoration, interior restoration of a public space, such as a
museum, library, or church; authorship of a work on Tappan, O-Town, or Rockland County, and for gardens
which enhance the historic area.
It is a great pleasure to present an achievement award to Clare and Bill Sheridan for the wonderful
gardens on their Kings Highway property that offers such a beautiful entrance to the center of the historic
district. When the property, known as the Stebbins property for 65 years, came on the market, there was a
real possibility that the entire parcel could be subdivided into three separate lots. Thanks to the Sheridans,
that did not happen. They did not stop with simply preserving the lawns and woodlands. Following the
plans of landscape architect Lucia Bowes Hall and tree and plant specialist Brian Hall, in went an allee of
dogwood along the drive and thousands of daffodils to naturalize throughout the woods. A split-rail fence
defines the property, and a bluestone and granite walk leads to the front door. Holly, Red Cedars, and a
Carolina Silverbell are among the trees planted; there is an array of shrubs, including viburnum,
hydrangea, boxwood, laurel, rhododendron, andromeda, and witch hazel. Perennial beds line the walk and
define other areas of the property. They are filled with ferns, anemones, Siberian Iris, bluebells, periwinkle,
plumbago, spirea, columbine, just to name a some of the delightful varieties. Two small houses set on off
on either side of the main house complement each other, one a storage shed, the other a playhouse for
the Sheridans’ daughters. Also tucked off to the side is a putting green with red pennant. Last fall, a
thousand tulips were planted by landscape contractor Jack Higgins, so if we ever see spring, look for them
as you pass by. It is serendipity that the original owner of the house, Judge Henry V. Stebbins,
volunteered his legal services in establishing the Tappan Library in 1962 and was a prime mover in
establishing the Tappan Historic Zone law in 1969. Thank you, Clare and Bill, for bringing this property
back to life.
Ken Burns has nothing on Janet and Gil Galloway, to whom we present an achievement award for their
DVD “Walking Through History,” which was running during the cocktail hour. The DVD was originally
created by the Galloways for the annual meeting of the Demarest Historical Society after a few of their
members took a tour of Tappan with Janet, who gives tours for the Tappan Library and the historic society.
Now retired, Gil Galloway had produced documentaries and programs for the United Methodist Church in
NYC, so this project was the perfect collaboration. The DVD is a lively, 50-minute tour of Tappan. It begins
with a quick look around at the major sites, and then goes back to visit each one in detail. In addition, the
tour takes us to the sites not visited in an actual walking tour; through the cemetery, up Andre Hill, over to
Shanks Village, up to the site of Washington’s encampment, and along what used to be Tappan Slote to
the Piermont Pier. The narrative was written by Gil based on Janet’s walking tour script, and they both
alternate as guides. Music runs throughout linking the narrative, beginning and ending with the sprightly
“In the Good Old Colonial Days,” by folk singer Charlie Zahn. We hear fiddle music at the DeWint House
and classical organ music in the church, while special effects are applied with Gil’s deft technical
The Galloways’ work is filled with their knowledge, enthusiasm, and affection for this old hamlet. It is
also a great example of how new- fangled 21st century technology can be used in the service of
preservation and education. We hope to be able to show the DVD in a program at the library, and the
Galloways have offered to show it in their home to small groups. Thank you, Janet and Gil.
Tappan Reformed Church
As you can see from the scaffolding and the blue tarps covering the west side of the Tappan Reformed
Church, the Church is undergoing a major restoration. The venerable 165-year-old-building is still
handsome and full of charm. It just needs a little work, as the saying goes. Or in this case, quite a lot of
work. The painstaking and meticulous restoration of the windows and the repointing of the brick is the first
phase of a 10-year plan for exterior and interior restoration from top to bottom, from steeple to basement
beams. This long-term plan laid out by building conservator William Stivale has been in the works for
quite a while, but the first fruits of this phase could be realized by late spring, when the restoration of the
windows on the west side of the church may be finished.
The Achievement Award for exterior and interior restoration is being given now to honor the prodigious
efforts needed to get the restoration underway. Years of bake sales, rummage sales, pot roast dinners,
pledges, bequests , grant application after grant application testify to the dedication of the congregation, the
resolve of the consistory, and the leadership of Pastor Hoover in bringing the project into being. Thank you
all for being such worthy custodians of the Church and the Manse, which are the heart of the history of
Closing remarks: Thank you Awards committee: Peter Schuerholz, Lucille Starink, dinner, Edna Nitopi,
Tom LaValle, Chris Gremski, Marilyn Schauder. Rob Norden and ‘76 House staff.