Abram Lent House

On Saturday April 4, 2015, the c. 1752 Abram (Abraham) Lent was demolished unexpectedly. Although development plans for the property were known, it was hoped that a positive resolution, including the relocation of the Lent House, could be achieved. 

Built almost a quarter-century before the Revolutionary War, the house stood within the  "neutral ground" of the British-held New York City and the upriver lands of the Colonists. Not particularly firm in his beliefs, and probably tired of having his farm raided by soldiers from both sides of the war, Abram Lent decided upon becoming an open Loyalist and he himself eventually raided farms in the Hackensack River valley. Lent and his son were exiled to Nova Scotia after the Revolutionary War, but it was a short stay and they returned to Orangeburg. Abram Lent's descendants owned the house through 1918. It was later surveyed by Rosalie Fellows Bailey in her book Pre-Revolutionary Dutch Houses and Families in Northern New Jersey and Southern New York. Bailey cited the house as an "outstanding example of the steep, equilateral gable roof over a house two full rooms in depth."

The Lent House was a private home through the early-mid 2000s when it was sold and became an office and rental apartment for a construction company, which partnered recently with the shopping center to redevelop the house site. When I first became aware of the Lent House it was occupied and located at the end of a dead-end street (South Greenbush Road) adjacent to railroad tracks and surrounded by woods and fields, formerly the site of a pipe factory. In the early-mid 2000s, a Lowe's Home Improvement store was built there, followed by a Stop-n-Shop several years ago. More recent plans called for the expansion of the shopping center, Orangetown Commons, and the small old stone house, which had been there  for 263 years, even undisturbed by the railroad and the factory, was all of a sudden in the way and just had to be removed, according to the developer. 

The loss of the Lent House has sparked interest in historic preservation and in preventing similar fates from befalling other endangered homes in Rockland County, such as Nyack's John Green House. Post-demolition outcries are fairly common, so it remains to be seen whether this case will be any different. But communities do have the power to enact local landmark preservation laws and to appoint preservation boards that can make recommendations to their respective town boards regarding irreplaceable historic architecture threatened by ever-expanding commercial and residential developments.

Photographs September 19, 2014.

This photograph is doubly-historic, showing also my trusty and dear-departed Subaru Legacy.

Posted April 10, 2015
Additional Source Articles:
Save Lent House, facebook page
Rockland Times - May 1, 2014
Rockland Times - December 4, 2014
The Journal News - April 4, 2015


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