2013 Heritage Award Properties
The Oaks Estate (
590 Davenport Road
This property sits on Davenport Neck, where evidence of Native American encampments could still be found well into the late 20th century. This is the land the French Huguenots first settled – and where they farmed acres of salt hay meadows. During the Revolutionary War, Hessian soldiers landed on the Neck, marching into New Rochelle to join British Troops for the Battle of White Plains. By the late 1800s, grand homes on landscaped property dotted Davenport Neck. The Oaks was one of those magnificent estates.
The Heritage Award property includes landscaped lawns, a stone teahouse at water’s edge, the 1889 Serpentine Seawall, and the 1900 White House. The property served as Oaksmere, a girls’ boarding school, in the early 1900s. After a fire forced the school to move to Mamaroneck, the estate was purchased as a private residence. Charles and Magdalene Klingenstein took ownership in 1919. In 1947 they gifted to Mount Sinai School of Nursing, and the organization used it as a retreat and bed and
Liebman’s Building (c. 1870)
510 Main Street
The Liebman’s Building evokes a wonderful sense of time, place and pride. When the major part of the structure was constructed in 1875, it was designed in an Italianate-style popular of the period, constructed of brick with wood and metal trim, and included such ornamentation as dentils below the eaves and curved molding over the windows. As a result of appropriate restorations in the early 1980s and late 1990s, and more recently with funding made possible by the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), Liebman’s continues to provide a vibrant glimpse of earlier times. Since 1927, New Rochelle children have been walking through the doors of 510 Main Street to buy their seasonal wardrobes, uniforms, first suits and party dresses. The popular clothing store was founded by Herman Liebman and his partner, Herman Pinals, and was later owned by Jim Stillman, who continues to own the building. Johnathan Newman, who began working for Mr. Stillman as a teen, now owns the store and its tradition of genuine Main Street service.
Former Fire Headquarters/Fire Station #1 (1901)
12 Church Street
This handsome building, now housing the French-speaking Baptist Church, has had an illustrious life. Built two years after the incorporation of New Rochelle as a City, and the appointment of the first fire chief to command numerous volunteer companies, the structure was completed— just a half a block from City Hall, on Main Street. It was considered the first of its kind in the state, housing Huguenot Engine Co. (founded in1861) and Relief Engine Co. (founded in 1883), as well as headquarters for Chief Ross. “Modern in every detail– alarm system, spacious meeting rooms, offices for chief and commissioners, a tower for drying hose surmounted by the fire bell,” described the local newspaper, “The first floor had snap harnesses suspended above the apparatus so it could be dropped on the back of horses by a tug of a rope.”
It remained fire headquarters until the present day Station One was completed on Harrison Street, in 1966. The structure then became the home of the Cuisenaire Company – which made the colorful rods used by many children in 1960s and 1970s “new math” classes. The French-Speaking Baptist Church purchased the building in 1993, and the former Fire Headquarters has remained their home since. As Pastor Luzincourt remarked of his congregation’s building at the Heritage Award Ceremony, “The firemen saved lives. We save souls.”
Former Station #6 (1901)
1530 North Ave
In addition to their Davenport Neck holdings, the wealthy and philanthropic Iselin family owned extensive farm land in the northern part of New Rochelle. In 1901, Adrian Iselin provided funds for the building of Wilmot Fire Station, at the southwest corner of Wilmot Road, North Avenue and Mill Road. Farmers volunteered to answer the calls using the station’s horse-drawn apparatus. The Wilmot Station was replaced by Station Number Five, which was built at the end of Pinebrook Boulevard in 1950.
At some point, the wood frame building was replaced by stucco. The Sturners purchased the abandoned and derelict station in 1979, completely rebuilding it while maintaining its architectural and historical integrity.
50 Poplar Place (exemplary restoration) (c. 1902)
This lovely home, a Colonial Revival/Four Square style residence that was built circa 1902, is receiving the 2013 Heritage Award for Exemplary Restoration. Located in Residence Park, one of New Rochelle’s oldest neighborhoods, it is a well-preserved example of the architecture popular during the early 20th century.
When the current owners, the Itzkowitz’s, purchased the home in 1988, the exterior color was white with little detail. Although some of the windows required replacement they were mindful to preserve at least half of the original windows, especially those that are visible from the street. In November 2008, they re-painted the house using historically correct colors in collaboration with an historic house paint analyst. Interior renovations were as carefully executed: The original window panes that were cracked were restored by a historic home contractor using old glass panes. The home has the original stained glass windows on the second floor landing. A wooden beamed ceiling in the dining room; kitchen renovation has a tin ceiling with schoolhouse light globes and a Wedgewood stove (circa 1947). “For the entire time we have owned the home (24 years), we have made a concerted effort to preserve its inner and outer beauty, in keeping with the grand tradition of the city of New Rochelle.”
Holy Family Church (1915)
With three Catholic churches in the southern part of New Rochelle, the Archdiocese recognized the need for one to serve the neighborhoods steadily pushing north. Father Andrew Roche held the first services of Holy Family Church in a converted butcher store on Horton Avenue. Land on Mayflower Avenue was donated by John Trenor and construction on Holy Family Church began in 1915. The church was designed by John Hubert McGuire, who lived in the Beechmont section of New Rochelle (his house was located on the property that now houses the Iona president’s home). He was a prominent architect, best known for his designs of Catholic churches - the most notable is the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, in Richmond Virginia. In fall of 1929, Father William Martin began a $350,000 project for an expanded church, school and new rectory, which was completed in June 1932. In 2004 the restoration of the magnificent stained glass windows was completed by Rohlf’s Stained and Leaded Glass Company in Mount Vernon.