Written by Dagmar Fors Karppi Friday, 21 August 2009 00:00Things are looking up for the Octagon Hotel – both literally and figuratively. Lou Baldino, architect for the Octagon House restoration, said he and the owner have found and hired a shoring company to brace up the whole building. “There is a lot of work going on at the first floor. The Oyster Bay Main Street Association hired an outside engineer and we are trying to implement that plan. Hopefully it will succeed. If not, we will look to replace the foundation; now we are trying to preserve it. The chances are we can re-build the building. I’m there two to three times a day. I’m the Clerk of the Works as well as the designer of the project. It will be the centerpiece of the hamlet. It will be a great anchor for the town,” he said.
Lou Baldino’s family is involved in construction. His father Mario Baldino has been in construction in Oyster Bay since 1967, and his brother Philip Baldino works in the business.
When the Oyster Bay Preservation Roundtable (OBPR) convened in the offices of TOB Commissioner of Planning and Development Fredrich Ippolito, in July, they determined they needed to raise $12,000 to fund a study of the foundation of the Octagon Hotel.
“Funds have started coming in and most impressive, the National Preservation Trust gave them $2,000 from their Intervention Fund. It was great that the National Trust for Historic Preservation stepped forward and saw the significance of the property and gave the funding,” said OBPR member Kathy Prinz of Save the Jewel By the Bay. “The Friends of Raynham Hall Museum and the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, also gave money, so we are about half-way there,” she added.
She credited Isaac Kremer, Oyster Bay Main Street Association executive director, for his work on the project and said he might have current figures. But, she said, “Raising the money is not going to hold the project up.” They are not waiting for OBPR to have a fundraising event to secure the total amount, but she said there is talk of one in October. The project should be under discussion at the OB MSA annual meeting in September.
Ms. Prinz said, “We are learning from the experience of working to save the Octagon Hotel. We are being reactive, but maybe we can come to be proactive. But we were lucky we were able to do this and the Enterprise Pilot gets credit for waking up the community on the issue.”
Ms. Prinz, too, sees the building on Spring Street and West Main Street, as being a great asset to the hamlet. “You can see it from town hall and that’s good. It creates another historic corner in the hamlet, as does Snouder’s Corner Drugstore on South Street and West Main Street; and the Moore’s building on South Street and East Main Street.
“Soon we can have a critical mass of historic sites that frame our downtown area, as it is framed in history,” she added.
The OBPR has been working with the town and Commissioner of Planning and Development, Frederick Ippolito. She said she delivered the foundation plans to the owners, and the town and they and the OBPR all agreed on the plans.
The members of the OBPR include: Tom Kuehhas and Maureen Monk (Oyster Bay Historical Society); Isaac Kremer, Ellen Roché, and Jack Bernstein (Oyster Bay Main Street Association); Harriet Gerard Clark (Raynham Hall Museum); Kathy Prinz (Save the Jewel By the Bay); and Alexandra Wolfe (Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities); and John Specce (Oyster Bay Railroad Museum).