This past spring the Land Alliance made application to have the Schmidlapp-Humes Estate Historic District listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The area making up the historic district encompasses 81 acres of the original 83-acre country estate that Carl and Frances Schmidlapp built from 1923 to 1927. The District includes the Land Alliance’s Humes Preserve and John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden, the lower half of Shu Swamp (30 acres formerly known as the Schmidlapp Lowlands), Nassau County land protected as part of the 2008 Environmental Bond Program and two private properties that were the former estate’s main house and stable complex.
The Schmidlapp-Humes Estate is recognized as a significant cultural landscape associated with the development of summer estates on the North Shore of Long Island during the second wave of the Country Estate Era. It also is considered significant in the areas of architecture and landscape architecture because of people the Humes and Schmidlapps hired to make improvements on the property from 1921 through 1966. Some of the Gold Coast’s most noted and prolific architects and landscape architects including Peabody, Wilson & Brown, Ellen Biddle Shipman, Ferruccio Vitale and Innocenti & Webel were involved in projects there. Later architects included Bradley Delehanty and Alfred Shaknis as well as Japanese Stroll Garden designer Douglas DeFaya. They all helped to craft what the property reflects today.
Preservation grants supported this project and allowed the Land Alliance to work with historic consultants on the surveys and inventories that served as the basis for our application for listing. This historic designation makes the properties eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching grants. The Land Alliance has already begun to pursue grants for the adaptive reuse of the Tavern House to serve as our future offices. The surveys, inventories and application also permanently document the significance of the former estate for the community and broader public. An overview of the evolution of the property is on display at the Humes Preserve tennis hut.
To view the presentation that Patricia O’Donnell of Heritage Landscape Architects has shared with us: please click the link: www.northshorelandalliance.org/videos.