A Baldwin landmark was added to the National Registry of Historic Places on Aug. 18. The George Sumner Kellogg House has been a fixture in Baldwin for more than 100 years, and its addition to the registry makes it the first historic site in Baldwin.
The home, at 960 Merrick Road, was built for George Sumner Kellogg, a Civil War veteran, and is referred to as the Kellogg House. It was constructed in 1901, and is the last of the grand residences built along Merrick Road.
Over the summer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that 22 properties across the state were being submitted for consideration for the national historical registry.
“The rich history of New York helped shape the history of this nation,” Cuomo said in a news release, “and the designation of these 22 additional sites will help ensure that these places and their histories are preserved for New Yorkers and visitors alike for generations to come.”
The Kellogg House was one of five Long Island properties on the list. Designed and constructed from 1899 to 1900, it is the last remaining intact example of a Queen Anne-style residence in Baldwin. Kellogg purchased the lot and commissioned architect Walter I. Halliday to build the house in 1899, during the earliest months of Baldwin’s first residential building boom.
Encouraged and inspired by the creation of Nassau County a few months before, Kellogg was among many individuals and developers seeking to buy land and build houses, particularly in communities closest to the border with Queens County. The Kellogg House was among the earliest commissions for Halliday, a young architect from Jamaica, Queens. The house contains numerous character-defining features associated with the Queen Anne-style of architecture, including its irregular form and window placement, wraparound porch, and a mixture of decorative wood building materials from the period.
Grand houses on larger lots were razed an replaced by subdivisions and commercial properties. More modest examples have been altered or demolished to make room for newer buildings as development pressures increased over the 20th century.
“It is the first historical site here in Baldwin, and only the ninth in the Town of Hempstead,” said Karen Montalbano, president of the Baldwin Civic Association and the Baldwin Historical Society, which has been working to preserve the property for years.
The Kellogg House, which is owned by Nassau County, was once proposed as a site for the Nassau County Police Department’s 1st Police Precinct. “Nassau County bought the property, and they were going to turn it into the 1st Precinct,” said Montalbano.
So not only were they going to tear down this beautiful house, but they were also planning to close off Harrison Avenue and make that into a parking lot.”
On Sept. 8, a request for proposal had been issued by the County to help determine potential uses for the site. The county is considering a sale or lease of the property for up to 30 years, as well as a public-private partnership.
Montalbano contends that the house should be used to benefit Baldwin as an arts or community center. “They don’t seem to be addressing the community use for it, and I, personally, am very dismayed with it and I think it’s information the community should know about,” she said. “We’re going to wait and see how this plays out.”
“Anyone who has watched construction on Long Island knows that an RFP doesn’t mean shovels in the ground tomorrow,” said Arthur Rollin, an architectural designer and preservationist. Rollin, who was born and raised in Baldwin and now lives in Brooklyn, has been involved in architectural preservation efforts before, but says this one is a bit more personal.
“We drove past it on a daily basis going to school,” said Rollin, who attended St. Christopher’s and Chaminade High School before heading to Boston College. “The Kellogg House is one of a kind in that it’s remained true to its original construction. Even before I began to learn about architecture, I knew it was a special place.”
Interested parties have until Oct. 11 to submit a bid. Any contract must be approved by the County Legislature.