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© 2019 COW NECK PENINSULA HISTORICAL SOCIETY

336 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington, New York 11050
www.cowneck.org         516.365.9074          info@cowneck.org

The Baxter House:

neglect sets in...

The Baxter House 2016: 
Demolition By Neglect

[ reprint from 2016 ]

by Christopher Bain

 

It is sad to say that the Baxter House today is willfully neglected. For several years, it has been allowed to deteriorate rapidly by an owner who doesn’t live there and who wants to divide the property into two pieces, building brand new house in what is now the back yard. It is also being allowed to happen by a Village who claims that there is little that they can do.  In the parlance of those involved in historic home preservation, this is often referred to as Demolition by Neglect. Everyone voices concern, but little is done.

Several Baxter Estates residents have told us that if a village homeowner allows their lawn to grow wildly to an unkepmpt and unsightly state, the Village has the power to send in a crew to clean up the mess.  The Village then sends the homeowner the bill. If that is so, why doesn’t the Village employ the same principle, and fix the roof, the gutters, the front porch? 

 

This historic house has been allowed to deteriorate for many years. Water, time & temperature are its enemies. Water is seeping into the structure with every rainfall and as the temperature drops, the freezing rain, snow and ice will do tremendous damage. It can be prevented in one of two ways.  Either fix the roof and the gutters or tarp the house.  Blue construction tarps could be draped over the house for the remainder of the winter until the Village, the owner, and the residents of Baxter Estates come to a solution.  Just do it. Waiting for more board meetings, more wringing of hands, month after month gives the rain and snow time to do affect their damage.  Fix the house or tarp the house. Anything less is willful neglect of this iconic house from the colonial days of Cow Neck.  Anything less makes the owner and the village accomplices in Demolition by Neglect.

 

There is nothing the historical society can do other than bringing this to everyone’s attention. This is up to the citizens of Port Washington to voice their opinions.  So let your opinion be known!

Email the village your thoughts by sending them to

staff@baxterestates.org

This photograph hints at the magnificent sunsets seen daily.

A rare interior photograph of the dining room of the Baxter House, April 1904.

Many other photographers photographed the area, of course, some of them with the intent to make postcards, which were extremely popular in the early 1900’s.  Wherever people traveled, they often sent postcards off to family and friends, showing off their travels.  Here is the most beautiful of the Baxter Pond cards, showing the rolling hills and farmland, before the 1910 development of Baxter Estates.

Here is a view of the newly created Baxter Estates, circa 1910, showing off the beautiful stone wall which survives into 2019.

In our final views of the developing hills of Baxter Estates, you can see children enjoying the frozen pond, which the people of Port Washington did until the early 1970’s, often referring to it as “The Duck Pond”.  Central Drive appears to be in place, and additional roads are probably under development.

An enlarged section from the image above.  The two houses on Central Drive are still there today!