Fishkill Residents Decry Demolition of Historic Jackson House
FISHKILL, N.Y. – The Jackson House, an historic building in the Village of Fishkill, was demolished Tuesday morning leaving some residents with a sour taste in their mouths.
Fishkill Mayor James Miccio said that it had to be taken down because it was simply unsafe.
“We’ve been working to try to save the house and had a moratorium on demolition,” Miccio said. “As time went on reports said that the building was unsafe and cited our village law that requires unsafe buildings to be taken down. Sometimes you have to make the tough decisions and do what’s right for public safety. It wasn’t a fun decision but we’re ultimately comfortable about it based on the information we had.”
Miccio said that the decision was made on Monday night in executive session with the Village Board and the village’s building inspector. Miccio said they looked at it from all sides and public safety was the No.1 issue that led to it being knocked down.
“Supports in the basement were leaning to one side and the outer walls were boding out,” Miccio said. “The second floor would have collapsed onto the first floor eventually.”
But not all residents agreed with the decision to knock down the house , which wasbuilt in 1741, contending it was not in imminent danger of collapse.
Theresa Kraft, co-chair of Friends of Jackson House, said that the building provided Fishkill with a connection to the American Revolution, adding that it served as a place for generals to meet during the war.
“It doesn’t get more American history than this building, yet they tore it down to make way for a strip mall,” Kraft said. “That building stood tall to the very last second. It was not in danger of falling down. We tried to raise awareness to save a piece of our history. When you came down Main Street it was right in front of you. It was so heartbreaking to see it come down. I saw a school bus go by during the demolition with kids gawking out the window. Even they know what this building meant to the village.”
Kraft said that the group doesn’t just want another plaque that says an historic building once stood here. Additionally, Kraft said that Friends of Jackson House would also like to see an archeological dig take place on site to see if more historic relics are there.
“It’s not the end of saving history for our future,” Kraft said. “There are so many more historic buildings that need to be preserved.”
Miccio said that there are currently no plans for the site but an application is before the village planning board to possibly build condominiums or apartments across the street on a vacant piece of land behind the Fishkill National Bank that is part of the property. Miccio said the village has little control over what’s done with the property.
“We can’t infringe on people’s right to own property,” Miccio said. “We had to be cautious. God forbid somebody went in there and got killed. We did what we could to try and save it but it is too big of a risk for the village to take to keep it. I commend the Friends of Jackson House for what they did and I wish it could’ve worked out better. There is not a happy person on our Village Board right now, including myself.”