Marking Your Old House
A program to research, recognize, and mark old houses & structures in Putnam County is Sponsored by The Office of the Putnam County Historian & The Putnam County Historic Preservation Advisory Commission
Many of us, especially those who have moved toPutnamCountyfrom somewhere else, drive past old houses and wonder how old they are or who lived there before our day. In other communities, we often see signs on houses that mark the names of the first owners or the approximate date of construction.
The owner(s) of any house that
- appears on the 1854 O’Connor map, the 1867 F.W. Beers map or the 1876 Thomas Reed map
- any house that is of architectural importance, even if it is of recent construction
- any house in which a notable person lived or in which an significant event took place (The importance of the house or event may be regional.)
Anyone who has lived in an old house knows that it is both a challenge and a joy to care for it. It is a challenge because the repairs, maintenance, and upkeep of an old house are much more expensive the care of a new one! But the joy comes from being a steward of a house that generations before you have lived in and that generations after you will enjoy as well. Yours is not a “tear down” but a treasure. Marking it will show you care and will educate others to care as well.
Assuming that you wish to apply for a plaque because your house is old, you may click on “Some Tips on Tracing the History of Your Old House.” Your local historical society, your town or village historian, and the Putnam County Historian’s Office andCountyArchivescan help.
A house is more than wood and shingles! It’s also the story of the people who lived there; and much of the enjoyment of living in an old house comes from imagining the lives of your predecessors. You may find that town meetings were held in your house, that a “pound master” lived there, that one woman raised seventeen children in your house, or even that a prior owner was convicted of arson!
There is a simple form to be completed (click on “application form” & print it), and we ask for up-to-date photographs of the exterior of the house. If there are any interesting architectural details inside, it’s good to include interior photographs as well. Some of the work may already have been done for you as many houses in Putnam County have already been described by an architectural historian or have been the subject of a historic structure report) or have already been declared eligible to apply for the National Register. In those cases, your job is really easy. You may then submit your form and photographs to a committee that will consult with your town or village historian or historical society. If your house is approved, you may purchase the brass plaque to affix to your house or to a sign. Documentation, including the photographs, of your house will be preserved in the Putnam County Archives for students and future owners to consult and for future generations inPutnamCounty.
If your house enters the program, you may purchase (for $55) a brass marker showing the ox, rake & plow of the first official seal ofPutnamCountyshown above. You may affix it to your house, or you may choose to place it on a historical marker showing the name(s) of early owners and/or the date of construction. Nothing in this program prevents you from making alterations or additions to your house, painting it to your liking, or limiting your use in any way. It does show that you care about the legacy of past generations and the preservation of your house’s story for those who come after us.
Such signs attest to owners’ interest in their properties and a community’s pride in its history. Putnam County’s program is designed to recognize old houses that may or may not be eligible to be listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.
The “Marking Your Old House” Program is created so that homeowners may learn about their old house, have its history attested to by designated historians, and have a plaque that will be uniform throughout the county placed on their house or a sign in front of their house.
Call the Putnam County Historian’s Office for more information.�
We can be reached at:
Telephone: (845) 278-7209
Fax: (845) 278-4865
By Mail: Putnam County Historian’s Office
68 Marvin Avenue, Brewster NY 10509