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Historic St. Paul's

St. 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.

It 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.”

An 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.

The 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.

The 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.

In 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.

The 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. Paul’s.

We expect that plan to be available in the Fall, 2006.

Committee to Save St. Paul's / P.O. Box 7642 / Garden City, New York 11530-0731
©2006 Committee to Save St. Paul's