Monday, December 13, 2010

George Washington Lodge

Purchase of Washington Lodge Estate Approved by Suffolk County

Beaver Dam Creek Partnership of the Post Morrow Foundation, Brookhaven Town, and Suffolk County, NY, To Jointly Purchase Environmentally Sensitive Property


Suffolk County has joined with the Post Morrow Foundation and the Town of Brookhaven and approved the purchase 9.6 acres of the old George Comfort Washington estate near the western edge of Brookhaven Hamlet.  The estate, also known as the Washington Lodge, has in recent years been owned by the Marist Brothers of Schools, Inc., and used as a retreat and summer residence.  It is one of the few remaining undeveloped parcels of land in the Beaver Dam Creek watershed area.

Front: Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Connie Kepert; Suffolk County Legislator Kate Browning; Marty Van Lith, Brookhaven Village Association historian; Anita Cohen; Jen Puleston Clement.
Back: Ron Kinsella;  Ken Budny, Facilities Manager, Post-Morrow Foundation; Bruce Wallace, President, Post-Morrow Foundation; Tom Williams, Vice-president, Post-Morrow Foundation; Patricia Trainor, proprietor, Bellport Restaurant and preservation advocate

County legislator Kate Browning, Town councilwoman Connie Kepert, Post-Morrow Foundation president Bruce Wallace and vice-president Tom Williams, along with members of the Brookhaven and Bellport. NY, communities gathered Monday, December 13, 2010, at the site of the acquisition to announce approval of the partnership, which was passed at the Suffolk County Legislature's meeting on Tuesday, December 7, 2010.

Under the agreement the Post-Morrow Foundation will acquire 2 acres with the Town of Brookhaven.  The Foundation will be required to manage and maintain the property going forward, and plans to demolish the Washington Lodge estate house.  Suffolk County and Brookhaven Town will take ownership of 7.6 acres and will begin the process of creating public access to the site for passive park use.

The 7.6 acre site will be acquired by Suffolk County, which is paying 70 of the $653,780 purchase price while the Town of Brookhaven is covering the remaining 30 percent.  Brookhaven Town is also paying 62 per cent on the 2 acre parcel while the Post Morrow Foundation the remaining 38 percent for a total of $262,050.  Together the 9.6 acres will be purchased for $916,810.

Proposals for purchasing the site have been under development for over two years.  Another section of the estate to the north, of approximately 27 acres, was sold a few years ago to developers, but remains undeveloped.  Proposals have been put forward to purchase this parcel as public preservation land.  A planning steps resolution was approved by the County for the parcel earlier this year.

Legislator Kate Browning and Marty Van Lith

Legislator Kate Browning
and Marty Van Lith

"The Post-Morrow Foundation has worked tirelessly to preserve this important watershed," stated legislator Browning.  "The organization approached me two years ago about executing a public-private partnership and I knew it was a win-win proposal.  I am thrilled we were able to get the deal done so that we can preserve this important watershed for future generations."

"When the members of the community and the Post-Morrow Foundation came to me with their plans for the parcel, the benefits for the community and environment were clear," stated councilwoman Kepert.  "When I learned the purchase of the property would be a collaborative effort between my office and Legislator Browning's office, I had no doubt that this was an excellent use of the Town's preservation funds."

Bruce Wallace, President, Post-Morrow Foundation

Bruce Wallace, President,
Post-Morrow Foundation

"The Foundation applauds the assistance of the County and Town with the preservation of this site from future development as it continues to protect the rural character of Brookhaven Hamlet," said Bruce Wallace of the Post Morrow Foundation.  "Directly north of South Country Road and in close proximity to the Dennis Puleston preserve and Deer Run Farm to the south, both of which were also county assisted preservation projects, this acquisition in which the the land is protected solidifies the rural country-like character of the hamlet."

“The Post-Morrow foundation is very pleased that Suffolk County has been able to purchase the Marist Brothers property here in Brookhaven Hamlet,” stated Thomas Williams Vice-president of the Post Morrow Foundation. “For many years we have felt this property was an important piece to be protected. It is part of the Beaver Dam Creek watershed and acts as a gateway to the Hamlet.  Protection of the Marist Brothers property serves as further insurance that the Creek and important open space in this environmentally sensitive area will be forever preserved.  We thank the County for partnering with the Town and the Foundation to make this important acquisition of land a reality.”

“The environmental significance of this week's joint acquisition of the 9-acre Marist Brothers property, by Suffolk County, Brookhaven Town and the Post Morrow Foundation is well understood,” stated Martin Van Lith, Brookhaven Village Assoc. Historian. “But few may be aware that this land is also significant in terms of historical preservation.   In 1678, nearly 100 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Dayton, the first English settler in this area between Bellport and Brookhaven, built his house on this very piece of land. Then, as now, it was a choice piece of land. Congratulations and thank you for this wonderful Christmas present.”

Most consider George Constant Louis Washington (1871-1946) to have been the inventor of instant coffee, or at least to have made it a commercially viable product.  He established the Brookhaven estate principally as a summer residence about 1915, and was a notable fixture in the Brookhaven-Bellport communities.  He is remembered for the menagerie and small zoo he maintained on the estate.  When plans to build his coffee factory near the Long Island Rail Road at the north end of his estate did not come to fruition, he relocated to Morris County, New Jersey, about 1926.  He also had a large mansion in Brooklyn.  He continued to own the property well into the 1930s.

(More on George C. L. Washington.)
(More on the Washington Lodge estate and its history)

Marist Property south 2 acres, 2010

Marist Brothers Property, south 2 acres.  Fall, 2010.
North left.  South Country road to right.




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