When protecting important natural areas land trusts are also protecting parts of history. The significance of the history can range from a simple record of land ownership to detailed accounts of human history and land use. The Humes property in Mill Neck illustrates the latter.
Given both the important cultural and natural resources found on the Humes property and complexity of the designed and built environments, the Land Alliance is making every effort to carefully assess and plan for proper stewardship and management.
Last year, thanks to some timely and generous grants, the Land Alliance was able to begin efforts to do just that. Through the generous support of the Gerry Charitable Trust, the Land Alliance was able to work with Gregory Dietrich, a Historic Preservation Consultant, to conduct a Cultural Resource Inventory (CRI). This involved research into the history, architecture and significance of the property, structures and individuals who shaped the site as well as documentation of the current structures. The CRI confirmed that the original Schmidlapp estate was 75 acres and encompassed what is now part of Shu Swamp preserve.
As a land trust, understanding and documenting the Humes landscape is equally important. Through the Gerry grant, plus a grant from the Preservation League of New York State (funded thorough the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation), we were able to hire Patricia O’Donnell of Heritage Landscapes Preservation Planners to conduct a Historic Landscape Survey. It focused on the natural and designed landscapes.
With both a well-documented past and baseline of existing conditions, the Land Alliance is prepared to focus on our future goal of opening Humes to the public as a passive use preserve in 2020.
Our next step will be to develop an historic site master plan. This has just been made possible through an additional grant from the Gerry Foundation (see pg. 32). In addition to supporting the master plan, the Gerry Charitable Trust has provided funding to stabilize the Tavern House (which is critical after this rainy spring).
Thank you, Gerry Charitable Trust!