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Yorktown Historian Makes Plea To Save 18th Century Home

A house on Old Crompond Road, built in the pre-Revolutionary War period, is scheduled to be demolished.
A house on Old Crompond Road, built in the pre-Revolutionary War period, is scheduled to be demolished. Photo Credit: J-F de Laperouse

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A Yorktown historian is making a last-minute effort to save what he believes is a historic house and an integral part of Yorktown’s roots.

The house across from the Staples Plaza at 3372 Old Crompond was constructed by the Knapp family before the Revolutionary War. It has stood there for more than two centuries, said J-F de Laperouse, member of the Yorktown Historical Society and town Landmark Committee.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that the Knapp family of Yorktown built and sustained our community since its earliest days,” he said. “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 they are buried.”

Time is of the essence for de Laperouse in his effort to save the house, as construction has already started on Crompond Crossing, the 26-unit affordable housing building that will be built on the property. The Knapp House will be torn down as part of the project.

Crompond Crossing developer Neil De Luca has agreed to a temporary “stay of execution” while de Laperouse and others figure out how to save the framing of the house. Town board member Dave Paganelli said De Luca may be a gentleman, but he also a businessman and cannot afford put the construction on hold forever.

“You can only go to the well so many times,” Paganelli said.

It would take around $10,000 to $15,000 and three to seven days to de-construct and preserve the framing, de Laperouse estimated. Even if the town is unable to provide the funds, de Laperouse said it is still the town’s due diligence to record the contents and structure of the house. Supervisor Michael Grace said the town will see what it can save and record, but said the effort might be too little, too late.

“I think I speak for the entire board that we’d like to see historic preservation,” Grace said. “I just don’t know what the solution is for this particular house at this particular time.”

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