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Town To Sell Historic House

Representatives of the Town of Oyster Bay and the Oyster Bay Historic Preservation Roundtable have announced a preliminary agreement towards the preservation of the Mill Pond House, a town landmark on West Shore Drive.

The Mill Pond House, damaged this spring in two separate fires, will be offered for sale to the public under covenants that ensure its restoration to the strict standards of the United States Secretary of the Interior. In exchange, the town will work with the purchaser to allow flexibility in developing the remainder of the property’s acreage, to ensure its economic viability.

“The Oyster Bay Town Board is pleased to work with the Oyster Bay Historic Preservation Roundtable,” Supervisor Venditto said. “Selling the house to the public under a strict set of covenants and restrictions represents the best possible plan of action to ensure the usage and preservation of one of Oyster Bay hamlet’s most historic structures.”

The town purchased the house, along with a second property, in 2008 for $1,927,000. Parts of the structure date to the early colonial period, when John Townsend built the house for his family.

It had been John’s father Henry who, in 1661, built Oyster Bay’s first grain mill. Following John Townsend’s death in 1705, his home became known as Esther Townsend’s Dwelling House after his widow Esther, an enterprising businesswoman who managed a successful sloop-based trading business, dealing primarily in cider with customers as far away as North Carolina. The Townsends continued to hold the property until its sale out of the family in 1929.

The Historic Preservation Roundtable includes representatives from the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, Oyster Bay Main Street Association, Oyster Bay Historical Society, Raynham Hall Museum, and private individuals concerned with the historic preservation and economic vitality of the hamlet of Oyster Bay.