Tarrytown Village Hall

It was one year ago today (December 4 as I start writing this) that the historic village hall, an old mansion, was demolished. Today I present photos of demolition day, as I have not posted them to the internet yet. We’ve witnessed the loss of many great buildings in the last fifteen years or so, but the case of Tarrytown’s village hall to me stood out and above so many losses, as an example of truly needless and egregious demolition.

The Village of Tarrytown’s municipal offices have been located in the house, once the home of Reverend Edward C. Bull, since the late 1920s. In the 2000s, there arose a desire to build a dedicated village hall, and the opportunity to do so came along with plans to rebuild the village’s waterfront, which had partly been used for industrial purposes. The industrial firms, a truck repair shop and an asphalt plant, were razed and the land given/sold to National RE/Sources for building luxury housing.

As often is the case with these projects, the developer was asked/mandated to build low-income housing as part of the plan. But the low-income housing didn’t have to be at the waterfront site – heaven forbid rich people should mingle with poor people. And it didn’t even have to be built right away. So by good fortune, National RE/Sources (which now employs the former village mayor) got the old village hall, ostensibly to satisfy the obligation of building affordable housing. Instead of renovating it into housing units, as one local architect suggested, they demolished the house and one year later still haven’t built anything on the site. It remains a gravel lot while Phase II of the luxury waterfront units undergo construction. Instead of “paying to play” and meeting certain obligations first, as ought to be the case, the developer won’t build anything at the site of old village hall until they decide they have profited enough off the waterfront site.

Village Hall was in perfectly good shape and a viable candidate for adaptive-reuse. If this house needed to be torn down, then every house in Tarrytown pre-1975 ought to be razed as well.


During lunch break, I got into historic village hall one last time. The old courtoom was intact. Those nice wood tables that could have been brought to new village hall or sent to a local school, or just given to anyone in town, were about to get smashed up instead. Old Glory was laying in a crumpled heap on the judge’s desk, so I rescued her – shame on you Tarrytown.

They at least took the old clock out, leaving behind a trace of old wallpaper.

This enhanced detail view shows at least two layers of wallpaper/paint.

Except for the demo guys, I was the last person in old village hall.

The demolition of historic village hall was also disturbing on another level. Representatives of the Historical Society Serving Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow asked several times to get inside the building and retrieve historical documents. The village and the developer flat out lied and said that there wasn’t anything worth taking out of the old building, and wouldn’t allow the society access.

Hey, look, it’s boxes of old documents. When the machine ripped the building apart, so many documents, checks, and papers, came flying out like a ticker-tape parade. Someday when I have proper video-editing software (anyone want to make a donation?), I will post clips showing this. Additionally, blueprints and building plans, municipal and personnel records, boxes of parking tickets/receipts, and a set or several sets of blueprints for the new village hall were inside. This was just callous disregard by the village for the preservation of historic records. (See more about this below.)

After three and a half hours, it was over. The building was chewed apart, and one big pull-down took care of the core of the building. Historic Village Hall should have been converted to housing, as was done with other fine old homes in the village, like the following, similar, example on Church Street.

In response to the claim that there were no historical documents worth retrieving, I present this Police Justice Criminal Docket that covered the time period December 29, 1942 to July 14, 1943. Many such dockets were left in the basement of old village hall. Granted, they showed varying levels of mold and decay, but surely the journals would have been of interest to those who preserve our history, if not deserved of official village safe keeping.

Many of the cited offenses were for violations of U.S. Army Dimout regulations, whereby lights had to be turned off from sundown to sunrise.

On the flip side, many people were cited for “Parked No Lights.” I don’t know what that means.

Here’s another wartime violation, for failing to stop on Air Raid Warden’s signal.

Haha, I guess they had foamers back then too. Trespassing at the freight yard. Note that this person’s address was the McFadden School in Tarrytown. Bernar McFadden’s Tarrytown School was a military academy located on the grounds of the old Graystone estate which became a ruin in the late 20th century.

Fugitive from justice.

Vagrants – Fred and Frank Templeton from Malone, New York.

Sadly, homeless man Thomas Hanlon, age 68, was busted just for being homeless – a “tramp.”

I’m sorry now that I didn’t just go in there every night and rescue all of these historical records myself. Shame on Tarrytown for destroying so much history.

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9 Responses to Tarrytown Village Hall

  1. Stephsnie says:

    That is really, really terrible. You’re right that some of the furniture could EASILY have been reused. And the fact that they lied about the presence of documents it just absurd. What would have been the harm of letting them retrieve them? None! That is terrible. Ugh. I wish they could be sued.

    • HV-Rob says:

      Yes – that’s what is really galling to me, that village officials just didn’t care to unlock the door and let people in to save that stuff. It would have been so easy to do, but they just couldn’t be bothered. That’s why we do what we do, because people in charge of these places truly do not care, even when other people offer to help.

  2. Stephsnie says:

    In what format are your videos? I might be able to help you edit them.

  3. Diane Foubert says:

    Rob, thank you for exposing this egregious act of the demolition of an important part of Tarrytown’s history. It’s appalling!!!! I do hope those village officials who appear to be in bed with the developer get booted (or voted) out of their positions of power. Did you publish this anywhere where residents of the village can see it?
    When we lived in Irvington 25 years ago, there were fancy riverview condos going in too, but the Town Hall (which, granted, was up the street a bit) had undergone a complete renovation and was being used as a theater (as well as other things, I imagine). Our whole family were participants in a Talent Show there.
    I have to say that wealthy people of little brain like those developers are part of the reason we moved back to the midwest. At least here where we are, historical societies are well-respected and a public hue and cry will spurn lively discussions/arguments! Shame on Tarrytown!

  4. Tom Rinaldi says:

    I used to love looking over that mansard roof from the Warner Library, with the river in the background. Beautiful building right to the end. What a waste.

    • HV-Rob says:

      Yeah, you could almost have touched it from the library. I don’t know if I have any daytime photos of that view. Some grainy underexposed night shots, maybe.

      It was so full of details, so many nice windows, and all those brackets. A rarity, that it hadn’t been disturbed much.

  5. nailhed says:

    a good friend of mine told me this invaluable piece of advice:
    “there is nothing more expensive than regret”

  6. Nanci says:

    Such a shame! Shame on the village for not restoring!

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