Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
Fordham Alumni
Historic Designation

Quest for Historic Designation Becomes Reality

Quest for Historic Designation Becomes RealityFor many alumnae, the Closing of the Doors ceremony at Butler Hall during June's, 2007 100th Anniversary Celebration signified the end of an institution that educated and spiritually enriched the lives of thousands of women who walked among its marble columns, across its granite floors and under murals depicting the journey of its founder, Mother Marie Joseph Butler. What many did not know, was that efforts to secure historic landmark status for this French Renaissance style structure and its sister buildings, Gerard Hall and the Science Building were…in fact…just beginning.

The process began with a visit to the Village of Tarrytown and a meeting with the Administrator and Engineer/Building Inspector, only to discover that the Marymount campus was divided into five lots, zoned for single family homes. With zoning map in hand, the next order of business was to provide the Village of Tarrytown, historic photos and documentation supporting the request for historic landmark designation which would be discussed at an upcoming Board of Trustee meeting at the Town Hall. A visit to Marymount's archives at Fordham University's Rose Hill Campus provided much needed historical information on the architect, interior and exterior building photos and description of materials used in construction which was in turn, passed on to the Village of Tarrytown. Under their direction and expense, an outside Preservation Consultant was hired, TKS Historic Resources, Inc. who was asked to submit a formal report for consideration. Once the information was in hand, an open hearing was scheduled.

On August 18th, 2008, a formal resolution was adopted by the Village of Tarrytown and its Board of Trustees, designating Butler Hall, Gerard Hall and the Science Building as Village Historic Landmarks (local level). How does this translate? In accordance to the August 18th Meeting Minutes located on the Villages website, it shall be unlawful for any party to alter, remove or demolish any building or portion which is a duly designated landmark. This was indeed significant and the news well received. In order to move forward with obtaining historic designation at a state and national level, it was imperative that we attain cooperation by the new owners of the Marymount College campus, Education First (EF). In addition to giving verbal support of our pursuit, it should be noted that during the acquisition of the Marymount Campus and prior to title being transferred to EF, the Village of Tarrytown listed strict conditions in the Compatible Use Permit. These conditions stated that the property will be used for educational purposes only and that the new owner agrees to the historic designation of the three buildings pursuant to Chapter 191 of the Village of Tarrytown code. Details regarding the application of the Compatible Use Permit can be found on the Village of Tarrytown website under the February 27, 2008 Board of Trustee Meeting Minutes.

Contact was made with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation to move forward with the process of obtaining historic designation at a state and national level and to obtain further insight into the historic significance and true "demolition" restrictions on the said buildings. An information packet with forms was provided by their office, followed by telephone discussions with Mr. Mark Peckham. It was explained that historic designation at the local level by the Village of Tarrytown is actually the most restrictive, even more so that at the state and national levels. Should there be a desire to alter or demolish a historically designated building, a certificate of appropriateness would have to be filed along with the name of the party that is funding the demolition. If the owners receive state or federal funding for a project and wish to make changes, then these government agencies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development would have to consult with the Historic Preservation Field Services Bureau to avoid or mitigate adverse project effects.

What are the benefits of being listed on the National Register? The listing honors the property by recognizing its importance within the community, raising awareness and may qualify the owners of the property for a preservation tax credit. The National Register is a recognized component of public and private land-use planning.

With this said, submission of appropriate documentation to the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation is in the process of being filed. Once received, a representative of their organization will be required to come to the Marymount campus and review the buildings and our request will be voted on in an upcoming board meeting. We estimate that this process will take 6 months to one year. In the meantime, Marymount Alumnae should take pride that Butler Hall, Gerard Hall and the Science Building on the former Marymount campus now signify Village Historic Landmarks at the local level. We look forward to sharing with our Marymount community what the future holds for our beloved campus at the state and national levels.

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