Historic Baldwin house avoids razing

Historical photo of the Kellogg House in Baldwin, Historical photo of the Kellogg House in Baldwin, built in 1900 at the behest of a Civil War veteran named George Sumner Kellogg. Photo Credit: Baldwin Historical Society

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A grassroots effort to preserve a century-old Baldwin house has achieved at least one success: Nassau County, which owns the home and had planned to demolish it to make room for a new First Precinct police station, instead will relocate it to another spot on the site.

An application for landmark status for the 113-year-old Kellogg House on Merrick Road and Harrison Avenue was submitted last week to the New York State Historic Preservation Office by members of the Baldwin Historical Society. The state is reviewing the application, a spokesman said.

The Queen Anne-style house is considered a time capsule by some residents and historical society members.

"This house has seen the community change from a sleepy agrarian hamlet to the busy commuter center of today," said architectural designer, historian and historical society member Arthur T. Rollin.

"It's survived all this time and now seems up against an unnecessary and avoidable threat," Rollin said, before Nassau's announcement that it would move the house.

"Nassau County plans to relocate the house on the same property so that it can be preserved for future generations," County Executive Edward Mangano said last week in a statement.

The house will remain in one piece and the county is studying possible uses, spokeswoman Katie Grilli-Robles said.

"Lifting the house off the foundation, moving it and resetting it threatens the structural integrity of the building," said historical society member Karen Montalbano, adding that county officials have not reached out to the group. "This is a move that is not to be taken lightly, as it will involve a lot of time and money."

The green-and-white-shingled house with a wraparound porch was built in 1900 at the behest of Civil War veteran George Sumner Kellogg. It housed several military veterans from various wars from the Kellogg and other families for more than three generations. The building also was an antiques store from 1982 until it was sold to the county in 2011 for $1 million.

Original light fixtures, plaster walls, decorative cast crown moldings, and interior woodwork -- such as hardwood floors, baseboards, window and door casings, and mantles -- are still in place. There are no similar houses in Baldwin or its immediate vicinity on the National Register of Historic Places, Rollin said.

"The bulk of the house's historical style has remained intact," Rollin said. "The South Shore is not known for its historical houses. They are usually up on the North Shore."

The county issued a request for proposals earlier this month to build a 25,000-square-foot police building on the site, across the street from the existing precinct. Bids for the three-story project, expected to cost between $9 million and $12 million, are due by Friday.

If the landmark status effort is successful, Rollin said, it opens the door for state and other grants to maintain the Kellogg House, and the historical society would use it as a museum for its collections housed in a small building on Grand Avenue.

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