Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that eleven projects preserving state history, ranging from an eighteenth-century Dutch barn rehabilitation to an artist installation memorializing black lives at John Brown Farm State Historic Site, have received 2020 State Historic Preservation Awards. Created in 1980, the State Historic Preservation Awards are awarded by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation each year to honor excellence in the protection and revitalization of historic and cultural resources. The Governor also signed legislation in 2013 to bolster state use of rehabilitation tax credits, which have spurred billions of dollars in completed investments of historic commercial properties and tens of millions in owner-occupied historic homes.
“The 2020 New York State Historic Preservation Awards help bolster efforts to keep New York’s storied history protected and accessible to all,” Governor Cuomo said. “These historic projects demonstrate the diversity of lived New York experiences since our state’s founding. New York is thankful to the dedicated stewards of each site, who provide invaluable support by devoting countless hours to the protection of historic sites for all to learn from and enjoy.”
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “The diversity of the projects being recognized demonstrates that preservation begins with passionate local individuals expanding their advocacy into productive partnerships. We are proud to be one of those partners and congratulate all of the individuals and groups for their extraordinary efforts to preserve these historic places.”
Mary E. Bell House, Center Moriches, Long Island
Excellence in Organizational Achievement
The restoration and historic registers listing of the Mary E. Bell House preserves a history of black landownership on Long Island during the nineteenth century and documents the central role of women within the Moriches African American community. Constructed in 1872, the home was occupied by the Smith and Bell families for more than 100 years. Owner Mary Bell rose to prominence in the community for her association with the Moriches AME Zion Church. By 2011, the house had fallen into disrepair. The town of Brookhaven acquired the property and a formal agreement with the Ketcham Inn Foundation was entered to restore the building, which now operates as historic site.