The home located at 527 Deer Park Avenue might not be headed to the scrap yard just yet – a group of Babylon residents will bring their concerns before the Babylon Board of Trustees later this month.
"I was shocked," said Stanis Beck, a Babylon Village resident who has lived across the road from the home for most of her life. "I found out through someone else – we had no idea that was going to happen. It's upsetting because it's part of our character and heritage of the community."
The home at 527 Deer Park Avenue, estimated by the Babylon Historical Society to have been built sometime around 1790, was recently purchased by members of the Ognibene family who, according to a Newsday report, planned to demolish the old home. The family then plans to build three new Victorian style homes in a development called Indian Crossing on the property.
Her concerns were not the only ones in the village – many voiced their opinions in comments here on in an article last month as well as on the local blog AroundBabylon on Facebook. A petition started last month collected more than 230 signatures from people throughout Babylon and surrounding areas.
"These houses represent our history and our ancestors created these beauties," said Beck. "And now we're just cutting it down. I've been looking at that beautiful home ever since I was living here."
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Beck went looking for others who wanted to protect in order to bring it to the attention of the Babylon Village Board. According to Beck, Mayor Ralph Scordino suggested she organize a group for a board meeting for continuity of complaints.
With that suggestion, Beck organized a meeting at her home at 534 Deer Park Avenue on September 15, this Saturday, at 2 p.m. to organize those who want to speak at the September 25 Village Board meeting. The meeting is open to all.
"Other communities figure out how to do it [keep old homes], especially those over a century old," Beck noted. "There's been rumors it was part of the Underground Railroad and was an infirmary for the Revolutionary War. If you can prove it, it does become historic."
She did note, though: "Of course, these are just rumors, but previous owners told me there were some secret passages that made them think that."
Historically impactful or not, Beck said she just wants to make sure that other aging homes in the village do not become the next in line for the wrecking ball.
"I think if the board sees that the community is intent on preserving these homes, then they figure out ways to run things like this by the board in the future," she said.