Saved: Historic New Paltz Home with Black History Gets A Second Chance
Things aren’t always what they appear to be. This is definitely the case with this house in the Village of New Paltz. From the street, it appears to be a forgotten piece of property but it's story is part of New Paltz history.
If you have traveled through the Village of New Paltz on Route 32 heading north you probably drove by the Oliver House and didn't even notice it until recently. It sits on the corner of State Route 32 and Broadhead Avenue. In more recent months it may have come to your attention due to the fact that a new Stewart's Shops was going in next to it.
Recently the lot on the corner of Route 32 and Henry W Dubois Drive which is next to the Oliver house has been under renovation. The New Paltz Stewart's Shops that had been located down the road a bit farther has finished their new store which now sits next to the Oliver House.
It doesn't look like much at the moment but the truth is it has a rich history in the Village of New Platz and thanks to some helpful residences it will be getting a new life.
This past weekend the Mayor of the Village of New Paltz, Tim Rogers, thanked Anita Cunniff and Rich Steffens for their hard work in saving the Oliver House. According to the Facebook post, they were instrumental in organizing the transfer of the house from the new Stewart's Shop so it could be restored.
So why are so many people hoping to save this little house on a corner lot in New Paltz? Well, it turns out it has some amazing Hudson Valley history. The original owner was the wife of a black civil war veteran who died on his way back for combat. His wife and children were living in the house at the time of his death, his name was Richard Oliver.
The house itself was built according to Mayor Rogers Facebook post by Jacob Wynkoop the first black landowner in New Paltz. It was built in 1885 and has stood at the corner through so much of New Paltz's history. The post goes on to say the Wynkoop constructed a variety of homes for that area.
Now that the group has been able to save it from destruction and acquire it from Stewart Shops the Village is accepting applications for its restoration. There are some strict rules that apply to the restoration but I am confident that the village will find someone who is willing to invest in this one of a kind piece of Hudson Valley history,