Paul’s School for boys was erected in 1879, along with the
Cathedral of the Incarnation and St. Mary’s School for girls,
by Cornelia Stewart, the widow of multi-millionaire Alexander Turney
Stewart, the founder of Garden City.
was Mrs. Stewart’s hope that these three buildings would form
the permanent nucleus of the nascent village that reflected her
husband’s vision of a “planned community. Originally
an all-boys college preparatory and science boarding school, the
building mirrors high Victorian Gothic design. In 1897, the headmaster
at the time, Frederick Luther Gamage, advertised the aim of the
school to “develop manly, Christian character, a strong physique,
and the power to think.”
AIA guide to Nassau and Suffolk counties describes it as having
“poly-chromatic voussoir arched windows, elaborate cast-iron
balustrades, and Dorchester stone trim. Inside, the building is
highlighted by elaborate Minton floor tiles, extensive wood paneling,
and magnificent stained glass windows in the two-story chapel.
school is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and
in 2003 it was selected by the Preservation League of New York State
as one of its “Seven to Save” because of its incredible
architecture and its importance to the history of Long Island.
building and surrounding 48 acres were sold to the residents of
Garden City in 1993 for “public use.” While the open
fields surrounding the building have been put to almost constant
use by the residents, the building has long gone unused. A number
of years ago, certain Village leaders decided to sell or lease the
building to a developer looking to create a private assisted-living
facility. However, this plan was challenged and defeated in court,
where it was clearly determined that the entire property was purchased
as a Public Trust.
2004, the Board of Trustees voted in a split decision to designate
the entire property as Parkland, meaning that the building and the
land that surrounds it must all be used for public recreational
purposes. More recently, the current Board has re-introduced the
idea of selling a portion of the property, including the St. Paul’s
historic building, to developers for private condominiums.
Committee to Save St. Paul’s is opposed to this direction,
and is actively working to develop a plan for public use that the
residents can ultimately vote to approve. Unfortunately, should
the Trustees decide to try to sell the property, they can take that
action without a vote by the residents. Our plan will at least give
the residents an opportunity to vote on the preservation of St.
expect that plan to be available in the Fall, 2006.