Two architecturally notable Kingston residences fading fast

11 East Chestnut Street. (Phyllis McCabe)

11 East Chestnut Street. (Phyllis McCabe)

Two side-by-side examples of the work of prominent Kingston architect Myron S. Teller stand empty today. The once-stately residences in Kingston’s East Chestnut Street historic district face an uncertain future. The condition of the houses at 11 and 17 East Chestnut has raised the concerns of neighbors, the Friends of Historic Kingston and the city’s building safety department.

The two houses, now slightly over a century old, are notable not only for the quality of their architecture but also for their first residents. One house was owned Dr. George Chandler, the first superintendent of the New York State Police. The other was owed by Grove Webster, the City of Kingston’s first treasurer and later Ulster County sheriff.

On June 24, 1905, the Daily Freeman announced that Myron Teller had prepared plans for two new houses on East Chestnut. The article did not comment on their very different architectural styles. Teller had designed 11 E. Chestnut for Chandler and his wife Martha Marie Schultze Chandler in a picturesque Tudor style related to then-in-vogue Arts and Crafts movement. Seventeen East Chestnut, being built for Ulster County sheriff Grove Webster, was in the Colonial Revival style associated with a classical approach to design.

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In recent times, the two Myron Teller houses on East Chestnut became the property of new owners who until recently maintained the houses in something close to their original state. Now each is in a different state of limbo.

By 2004, the Chandler house, acquired by New York State, had become a live-in mental-health facility. In 2011, perhaps for budgetary reasons, the state vacated the house, leaving it without a live-in caretaker.  Early in 2013, now empty for more than a year, the outside of the building seems early in 2013 still to remain in an adequate state of repair.  However, Ben Rosen, a state spokesman, has so far been unable to learn the department’s plans for the building and how much longer it will be vacant.

Next door at 17 East Chestnut, the former Grove Webster house seems more clearly at risk. Deteriorating for several years and empty for about the past year, neighbors and the city’s building safety department have taken steps to minimize further deterioration.  With the present owner of record currently out-of-state, the house is now in “pre-foreclosure” with a non-local bank. Former city alderman Hayes Clement, owner of a house nearby on West Chestnut and a real estate agent with Westwood Metes & Bounds, estimates that, with the number of houses in foreclosure nationwide, it could be two to three years before the house would be listed for sale. Clement terms the abandoned house, sitting unheated through multiple winters “a potential death sentence.”

City building inspector Richard Longendyke, assisted by Clement and other members of the Friends of Historic Kingston, has taken steps toward stabilizing the condition of the Webster house. Currently, the upper porch railing is coming apart and the exterior is in need of new paint. In December, Longendyke contacted the mortgage-holding bank and arranged for the yard to be cleared and the house secured. The bank’s representatives also closed up the historic carriage and stable house in the rear of the property.

The Chandler house

Before 11 East Chestnut was built, Chandler, educated at Syracuse University and an 1895 graduate of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, had his home and office at 15 W. Chestnut and 249 Broadway. In March 1903, the Daily Freeman announced the Chandlers’ purchase of the Madden property on East Chestnut Street, where the physician and his wife intended to build a new house.

There are 2 comments

  1. Andi Turco-Levin

    I lived at 17 East Chestnut Street in the late 1950’s through the mid 1960’s. My parents then sold it to Dr. Maroon (my spelling my be wrong) and Dr. Jacobson lived next door to us in the tudor home. He had a swimming pool in the backyard.
    It was my mom who built the patio in the back of #17 and the barn was still in good condition. We had a small orchard of apple trees in the back as well.
    About 5 years ago 17 E. Chestnut was for sale and I went to show it to buyers of mine (I’m a Realtor) and I literally broke down and cried on the front steps to see what happened to this grand old home. Sadly, the interior has been stripped of most its character. The owners of that home should rot in hell.

    1. Sally Hansen

      Oh My God. I could not get this home (17 E. Chestnut) out of my mind and heart the past few days! I just had to look it up just now! My parents were friends of the Maroons and I spent many many happy hours in this home!!! I can still see most of it like it was yesterday…the black and white checkered floor which covered most of the central area on the ground floor, the incredible guest bath at the end of the entry way, when you first walked in the room on the right was the ‘TV’ room-it was small but a wonderful and loving place…to the left was the large living room with two entrances and the fire place, in the back was the large dining room…the kitchen as a ‘working kitchen, I can still see my Mom and ‘Aunt Dot’ (Dottie Maroon) washing dishes, the furnished basement with the pool table and upstairs just so many bedrooms!!.Oh too many details to mention. I also could not get out of my mind the back patio and the ‘barn’ which was also used as a garage at the time!! I can’t believe I found your post and your Mom had built these last two items. The Maroons were a class act and the home was beautiful and full of love. When I was just inspired to look up this home, I too just about cried when I saw even just the yard!! The Maroons had it perfectly landscaped with the biggest most beautiful lawn urn full of flowers on the left side (near 15 E. Chestnut). I share your memories and your love of this home. Thank you, I am so glad I looked this up!

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