HVVA NEWSLETTER, October 2002, Part Two
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HVVA Newsletters

We next visited the Valentine/Losee House, a private residence. The early history of ownership of this frame house is not clear but it was probably built by John Valentine in 1743, remained in the family for many generations and In 1835 was bought by James Losee and remained with that family into the 20th century. The house was badly damaged by fire in the 1940s. In 1976 it was purchased by Cynara Genovese who hired John Stevens to plan its restoration. Work continued sporadically and in 1996 was bought by Mrs. Roger Gerry.

The Valentine/Losee house is probably the third oldest building in Roslyn. It is a story and a half and measures 38-feet long by 28-feet wide. Its front side faces south. It is two rooms deep and has corner fireplaces. It originally measured 18-feet long. A 10foot extension was added soon after. The original house has a Dutch style H-frame construction with six bents and a cellar. The external bents of the original frame have English jowled posts. The addition has a different framing system consisting of three widely spaced H-bents with intermediate bent-joists supported on girts, two joists in the first bay and one in the second bay.

The last building visited in Roslyn was the Mudge/Mott 3-bay barn moved to Locust Hill in 1987. A study of the frame was done at that time by John Stevens who determined that two of the bays were likely the remains of the Jarvis Mudge house built in 1693, or shortly thereafter. The original frame shows surfaces roughened by axe so that plaster would bind to the surface. The present 16- by 24-foot building is used as a garage.

Finally, the group drove to Port Washington to visit the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society with its Sands/Willets House Museum and its Dutch barn moved in 1977 from the nearby Backus farm on Sands Point. The society owns an extensive collection of tools maps and local furniture.

The Sands Dutch barn has a 4-bay frame with English flared posts on the external H-bents very like the original Valentine/Losee house in Roslyn. The barn's side aisles were removed at sometime prior to its move to Port Washington and it presently has a side entrance and vertical board siding supported by horizontal wall girts. It is a scribe rule frame thought to date to about 1750. It was originally a classic 3-aisle Dutch barn of massive proportions. The extended tenons of the anchorbeams project through the present vertical siding, attesting to its original form.

This tour of Long Island was filled with surprises for those of us more familiar with the Colonial Dutch buildings of the Mid and Upper Hudson Valleys. The lack of Dutch jambless fireplaces, the abundance of corner fireplaces and the mixture of Dutch and English framing traditions that did not seem to concern itself with the early boundary between the Dutch of Nassau County and English settlement in Suffolk. They are witness to the merging of cultures.

No plans have been made for HVVA tours in November, December or January although some indoor events will probably develop. The group talked about a possible Ulster County tour in the spring as well as a return to the Lower Hudson Valley to visit some historic structures there such as the 1660 Bowne house in Flushing and the 1675 Jan Martense Schenck house reconstructed in the Brooklyn Museum.

The editing of John Steven's new book, Dutch American Buildings, is complete and he is presently negotiating its publication.


Karen Gross writes from her home in Germany of a recent building research conference she was going to in Pirma, a city on the Elbe just south of Dresden. The site was chosen because it is close to what was Czechoslovakia and in what was East Germany. Serious building research in the area began in the 1970s. Many building have been restored in the last ten years. "Over 100 have been dendro-dated in Freiberg alone, many of them medieval," Karen wrote, "and then the rains came. The damage done to Pirma was enormous - forty historic monuments are structurally unsound and have to be raised."

Despite the aftermath of the flood and the disruption of many services in the area the conference went ahead.

The Committee has received a $11,000 grant from the Preserve New York Grant program of the Preservation League of New York for Phase One of an historic structures report. Crawford and Sterns, architectural consultants from Syracuse will be retained as consultants. They are presently working on the Gomez Mill Site in Orange County and the Huguenot Society houses in New Paltz. Ted Bartlett of the firm will meet with the committee at 5PM on Wednesday, October 23rd and will visit the site on the morning of October 24th. The award will be presented at a public reception Sunday, October 27 at 2PM at the Quitman House Rhinebeck.

Work days at the Nehr farm have been scheduled for every Wednesday in October and November beginning at 9AM. There have been a number of work parties at the farm this summer. Trees and brush have been removed and unwanted junk from the barn has been taken to the town dump.

Committee meetings will be held at 5PM at the Quitman House, Rhinebeck, the first Thursday of each month. Thursday, November 7 will be the next meeting. The December meeting will be the 3rd . and an exception will be made in January with a meeting on the 7th.

A well attended book signing for the newly released Dutch Colonial Homes in America published by Rizzoli International was held at the Bronk House at the Greene County Historical Society. The new book contains text by Roderic H. Blackburn and nearly 200 color photographs by Geoffery Gross. A review of this important book is planned for an upcoming issue of the HVVA Newsletter. For an autographed copy from the authors, send your check for $60 plus $4.50 for postage and packing to R.H. Blackburn and Associates, 17 Broad Street, PO Box 488, Kinderhook, NY 12106

The New York Folklore Society is sponsoring a forum on Hudson Valley vernacular architecture at the Huguenot Society in New Paltz, Ulster County, Saturday, November 9,2002. The forum is scheduled from 1O:00AM to 4:00PM.

Niel Larson will discuss stone structures of the region; Jack Braunlein, Director of the Huguenot Society, will talk about Huguenot structures listed on the National Register and conduct a tour; Nancy Solomon will speak on the methodology of studying vernacular architecture; and Peter Sinclair will discuss the work of HVV A and the Dutch Barn Preservation Society. The public is welcome and the event is free. For more information call; (518) 346-7008 or e-mail <newyorkfolkloresociety@juno.com>

Things have been slow at the Madden house due to vehicle break downs and wet weather but the metal tern pans are all bent and the standing seam roof is ready to go on. John Kaufman has offered to get us going and some HVVA have offered their assistance.

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