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Living in a 200-year-old house

Kidsday reporter Charlie Gorenstein of Lakeville Elementary School,

Kidsday reporter Charlie Gorenstein of Lakeville Elementary School, Great Neck, lives in a 200-year-old house known as Maple Cottage. Credit: Gorenstein family

So you think your house is old? My house was built in 1814 by Sam Warren. It was originally a one-story farmhouse and is called Maple Cottage.

It was the first house in Great Neck to have indoor plumbing and electricity. Since the house is old, the floors and ceiling are crooked.

My basement was part of the Underground Railroad. It housed slaves on their search for freedom. My basement was carved out of boulders so all of the walls are uneven. There’s also a fireplace down there where the slaves did all their cooking.

My house has been standing for more than 200 years and was built very differently from houses today. The beams have Roman numerals that were put together like a puzzle to make the house. The wallpaper that used to be in my house was all hand-painted. Also, some of the wallpaper had bits of metallic paint to reflect candlelight, which made it easier to see at night.

Another one of my house's ties to history is the Vanderbilt Cup Races that were held on Nassau County public roads. It raced through 23 miles of local roads, and one road that was used is now Lakeville Road, its website says. The Vanderbilt Cup Races were considered one of the most competitive races in the country. One of the racers even stayed in Maple Cottage! It’s interesting to think that my house was part of that.

 As you can see, my house is unique and has a lot of history. Although the house is old, it’s pretty cool that I am living in a part of history.

Thomas Hughes' fifth-grade class, Lakeville Elementary School, Great Neck.

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