A Yorktown man has been pleading town board members to help save what he calls a historic house before it's too late and it gets torn down.
Jean-Francois de Laperouse appeared before town board members earlier this week to ask for their support but he learned on Friday that the house would be torn down on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
"The hope was to save the frame [of the house] and other original elements for public use on another site," he told Patch earlier. "The fact that that the house is has been stripped on the interior would allow us to use the house as an interpretive center highlighting post and beam construction techniques while telling the broader story of Yorktown's landmarks. It could also serve as a hall for public events including student exhibitions related to historical topics."
The house, located at 3372 Old Crompond Road, was built by the Knapp family and it has stood there for more than two centuries.
"They served in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, farmed the land, became notable figures in the industrialization of New York and were active members of the First Presbyterian Church where most of them are buried," de Laperouse wrote in his blog post on Patch.
The Knapp House will soon be a "pile of twisted wood and rubble" if nothing is done, de Laperouse said.
Construction on Crompond Crossing, a 26-unit affordable housing building, has already begun and Knapp House will be torn down as part of the project. However, de Laperouse said he wants to de-construct the house and preserve the framing. The estimated cost to remove the flooring and take down the house is around $15,000, the man said.
Crompond Crossing's developer Neil Deluca had agreed to put the demolition of the house on hold until de Laperouse figures out how to save it.
"We'd like to see preservation," Grace told de Laperouse on behalf of the town board. "I don’t know what the solution is for this particular house at this particular time."
de Laperouse said he didn't think money was the main problem.
"Instead, I think that Mr. DeLuca will say that it is too late to do anything without delaying his schedule," he said. "I doubt if the house will still be standing for much longer unless the town board makes an appeal asap."
Paul Martin, president of the Yorktown Historical Society, wrote a letter to DeLuca in June requesting that the house be dismantled for public use at another site, but that correspondence was not acknowledged, de Laperouse said.
"Dismantling a house is not that much more expensive than demolition but it takes more time," de Laperouse said. "If Mr. DeLuca had had really been in good faith about preserving something for a county and a town that has welcomed his development, then he would have worked with us."
de Laperouse called the demolition a "needless waste" of a historic resource.
"The Knapp House was an important early homestead in Yorktown with a lot of documentation attached to it," the man said. "Sadly, it will soon be carted away in a fleet of dumpsters."
To read Jean-Francois de Laperouse's blog posts on Patch regarding the Knapp House, click here.