Plans for black history center in New Paltz moving forward
Brian Hubert is reporting for the Daily Freeman plans to restore the circa-1885 Ann Oliver House at 5 Broadhead Avenue in New Paltz to house the Dr. Margaret Wade-Lewis Black History Cultural Center moved forward after the project was awarded more than $250,000 in state grants. Village Mayor Tim Rogers said the $200,000 grant from the New York State Dorm Authority was awarded after state Sen. Michelle Hinchey secured a $61,000 grant for the project Rogers said the village currently owns the historic home but plans to turn it over to the center. Esi Lewis, a New Paltz Town Board member and attorney, serves as steward of the house. Lewis said the two grants go a long way toward the $600,000 cost of restoring the home that was once set to be demolished. “The floodgates have opened, it appears,” Lewis said. The home was built in 1885 by New Paltz carpenter Jacob Wynkoop for Ann Oliver, the widow of Richard Oliver, a black Civil War veteran who died in 1865 after contracting malaria. Wynkoop was born free in 1829 to Thomas and Jane Deyo Wynkoop, who were formerly enslaved people. Lewis said the restoration must begin with the foundation, a $60,000 project in itself. She said the two grants would allow for this work as well as the gutting of the inside of the home. Rogers said the village has forwarded on a letter of intent to the state’s Restore NY Communities Initiative seeking upward of $585,000 for the projects. Lewis said the center will not only house exhibits on black residents from New Paltz’s past like Jack Wynkoop, Ann Oliver, and Fulton Cox, but it will also host programs. Read more in the Daily Freeman.