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President Theodore Roosevelt tied to Lloyd Harbor home's lore

This Lloyd Harbor home has five fireplaces, formal

This Lloyd Harbor home has five fireplaces, formal living and dining rooms and an extended kitchen and radiant heated floors. Credit: Daniel Sotheby’s International Realty

An 1794 Lloyd Harbor home, listed for $2.075 million, was once home to “The Big Oak,” a famous tree where Theodore Roosevelt is said to have frequently sat under while eating pie.

The famous  black oak tree, reported to be more than 500 years old when it came down in 2006 during Tropical Storm Ernesto, sat at the edge of a property next to the four-bedroom Colonial, formerly known as the Denton House. In 1918, the house was transformed into a tavern owned by the Sammis family that became a resting spot for the president after his sail, according to a story written by Noreen Castelli Sweeney in a 2012 issue of Lloyd Harbor Life.

“Legend has it,” the story says, “that President Roosevelt often devoured large portions of Mrs. Sammis’ seafood pie, while sitting under the ‘sweeping canopy’ of ‘The Big Oak.’” 

The tree, hailed in a 1947 issue of the Long Islander as the largest black oak in the United States, was reported by The New York Times to be 90 feet tall with a tree circumference of 36 feet. 

“I love sitting on the old front porch and looking out at the water toward where the tree once was,” says homeowner and listing agent Henriette Lacroze of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. 

With the home’s unique history, Lacroze says updates were done to modernize the home while maintaining the tone of an antique farmhouse. 

The house still features a parlor with the original Dutch oven and wood-burning fireplace with a crane. On the mantle above is a painting of the house and oak tree alongside a sign that reads, “THE BIG BLACK OAK Circa 1450 Oldest Black Oak in North America.”

The house, with five fireplaces, also includes formal living and dining rooms and an extended kitchen with stainless steel appliances and radiant heated floors. An office, once a greenhouse, still has the windows from its previous use, Lacroze says 

The four-car garage features an attached cottage that has a living room, kitchen, dining room, bedroom and bathroom. There’s also a horse barn with stalls and a paddock, plus a putting green. 

The four-acre property, Lacroze says, is a combination of three lots that includes a waterside parcel across the street and the small corner lot where the oak tree once stood. The stump remains, still drawing the occasional visitor.

“It’s a really special house,” Lacroze says, “because it has so much local history.”

Part of the wood from the big oak, the Times reported, was used in renovations of Lloyd Harbor’s Village Hall, where a slice of the tree has also been preserved and displayed. 

The home was once owned by former Newsday publisher Raymond Jansen.

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