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Marshlands Conservancy & Jay Property


Marshlands Conservancy & Jay Property
Rye, New York

The Marshlands Conservancy & Jay Property is a rich example of an evolved regional historic landscape. The property's association with the Jay family, specifically John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, deems this a significant landscape. Located along the Boston Post Road and extending south to include the marshes and islands of Long Island Sound, the fact that this landscape remains relatively intact as an example of estates typical of this region from the 17th through the 20th centuries, also adds significance.

In the CLR the property evolution is presented with period plans for eight ownerships: 1745 Jay family; 1858 P.A. and J.C Jay; 1904 Van Norden; 1927 Palmer; 1940 Devereaux; 1977 Westchester County and United Methodist Church; 1986 is the Westchester County and DGM Partners; and the 2002 existing property of about 143 acres, Westchester County, New York State, and Jay Heritage Center. Developed from a wealth of documentary records, this revealing group of period plans graphically depict the land uses and core area features as they change through time.

The landscape treatment recommendations address preservation with restoration of specific character-defining features. The ecology and habitat value of the long field are important while, from the historic perspective, the spatial organization of the long open field, with the view from the P.A. Jay house to Long Island Sound, is significant. These values are compatible and management for both is proposed. In the core area a number of features of the home grounds are missing or remain in remnant form and stabilization and selected reconstruction of lost or degraded features is planned. Managing and replanting historic vegetation, restoring pedestrian circulation, restoring the character of the drives with new materials, and maintaining the historic view to the Sound are all recommended. Both sound conservation of natural resources and preservation stewardship of cultural resources are required. More effective and engaging presentation and interpretation of the history of the property is also proposed. With the completion of this comprehensive CLR Westchester County and the Jay Heritage Center are working on priorities and phasing for implementation. The completed project won a VTASLA Planning & Analysis Honor Award in 2005.

Westchester County Parks, Recreation & Conservation

Cultural Landscape Report, Parts 1 & 2, History, Existing Conditions, Analysis and Recommended Treatment

Project Credits:
Heritage Landscapes, Patricia M. O'Donnell, Principal, Peter Viteretto, Senior Associate, Laurie Matthews and Glenn Stach, Project Managers Thomas Helmkamp, Bryne Riley, Ann Milovsoroff

Award-Winning Project