Ossining Letter: Decision To Sell The Croft At Teatown Is Discouraging

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To the editor:

I recently became aware of Teatown Lake Reservation’s plan to sell off historic parts of the Croft House, destroying it. The Croft is the original manor house on which Teatown Lake Reservation is located; and as an architect who specializes in historic preservation, this proposed action is very discouraging.

The Croft is simply an irreplaceable cultural asset; yes an asset where the whole is more important than its parts. It is a magnificent example of an “antique Tudor house” imported from England; and stripping the house of its character defining features and selling them off is in no way preserving our cultural heritage.

“Due to its distinctive characteristics of a type, period and method of construction,” The Croft is eligible to be placed on the State and/or National Register of Historic Places, meeting the criteria administered by The National Parks Service. 

The proposed action of demolishing The Croft House is one of the reasons Congress enacted the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which encourages the preservation of this nation's “cultural resources” for future generations. 

I agree with Teatown Lake Reservation, that the preservation of our natural landscape is important, but preserving our cultural heritage is equally as important. Natural landscapes can come back, but once demolished The Croft cannot.

I cannot help but think there are more options for The Croft and Teatown Lake Reservation than to demolish or attempt to move this wonderful house: subdividing and selling off the house and its immediate landscape – financial gain; “mothballing” the house for a later discovered use - future expansion; going through the process of listing the property on the State and/or National Register of Historic Places, which allows for access to state and federal money to restore the property. 

The Teatown Lake Reservation needs to think more about ‘what they have’. The Croft House is an asset not a liability. The Croft House is magnificent.


Joanne Tall, RA

Kamen Tall Architects, PC

Ossining, NY

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