Help Save the Ahles House in Bayside
From Paul DiBenedetto, VP of Buildings, Bayside Historical Society
On June 23, 2009, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will be conducting a public hearing on whether or not to designate the Lydia Ann Bell and William J. Ahles House (39-24 to 39-26 213th Street, Bayside Queens) as a NYC Landmark.
I am writing this letter to you in hope that you will write a letter of support of the Ahles House LPC designation.
If you can send this letter of support to me at cubba65(at)verizon.net in email form, I will print it and submit your letter to the LPC on the morning of the hearing.
If you’d also like to send a hardcopy to the LPC direct, their address is:
Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007
but please e-mail it to me in any case so I can present it in person at the hearing.
Write your letter on behalf of your organization, or yourself. Also, please pardon the timeliness of my request. The hearing is June 23rd (next Tuesday), so I’ll need your letter of support by Monday, June 22nd in order to have it for submission to the LPC that morning.
Please feel free to use the information I’ve provided in this email as your content.
We’re also providing limited transportation to and from the LPC hearing. If you’re interested in traveling with us, please let me know!
As a Vice-President of the Bayside Historical Society, I can tell you that we wholeheartedly support the designation of the Ahles House.
As part of our core mission, we are currently advocating for more individual and district landmarks to be designated, both here and across Queens, and to a larger extent, NYC as a whole.
The Ahles House is one of the oldest surviving homes in Bayside and a critical reminder of Bayside’s rich, but rapidly disappearing, cultural past. It is the last of the Bell houses. The Bell family is one of, if not the most important family in Bayside’s long history.
The family’s namesake, Bell Blvd., runs like a spine through the middle of Bayside. Bell Blvd has long been and continues to be the heart and soul of Bayside.
Two other wonderful Bell houses, located across from each other on the corner of 38th Ave and Bell Blvd. were torn down in the 1970′s, replaced by office space and a funeral home.
As you may be well aware, Queens, when compared with Manhattan and Brooklyn, has very few landmarks and landmark districts. The Ahles House and many other landmark-worthy places in Queens are extremely important to NYC’s cultural integrity. Bayside currently has only two individual landmarks: The Stone House and the Lawrence Cemetery. We feel it is imperative to have more.
Thank you for any support you can provide … keep history alive!
Here is some information on the Ahles House:
LYDIA ANN BELL AND J. WILLIAM AHLES HOUSE
39-24 – 39-26 213th STREET, BAYSIDE, QUEENS
This impressive Second Empire Style residence is a rare reminder of nineteenth-century Bayside, when it was a village of suburban villas and substantial farmhouses. This house was constructed around 1873 by farmer Robert M. Bell for his daughter Lydia (usually known as Lillie) and her husband John William Ahles, a prominent grain merchant and officer of the New York Produce Exchange and Queens County Agricultural Society.
Built only a few years after railroad service reached Bayside in 1866 and residential subdivisions began to replace farms, the Ahles house typifies the substantial Second Empire style suburban villas erected by wealthy businessmen during the 1870’s and 1880’s. It retains the cubic form and dormered mansard roof typical of the Second Empire Style as well as such details as the molded cornice and hexagonal slate shingles.
When J. William Ahles died in 1915, his obituary in the New York Times indicated that his home was “one of the showplaces” of the town. Today this house is thought to be one of the oldest surviving in Bayside and is considered a significant reminder of the neighborhood’s past