Work Begins to Restore Blackwell House

The fence has gone up, completely obscuring 220-year-old Blackwell House while the community awaits its makeover. What should we expect from the big reveal, projected in about ten months?

The rotted wood on the porches will be replaced and the porches will be made ADA accessible. The interior refurbishment includes reinforcing the floors. Mike Russo, engineering consultant for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, said that the renovation will maintain the three-bedroom, two-bath house’s current structure, a requirement when renovating landmarked buildings.

When complete, the second floor will be used for office and archive space for the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, while the first floor will be public space, used as a meeting space for groups, and historical tours. Blackwell House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

Nearby, the Cabrini church is renovating the second floor of 504 Main Street. Their project will require staging nearby as well. They will be installing lights, skylights, and repairing the roof. The library will be moving to the first floor of the building, but their work has not started yet. The Youth Center, at 506 Main Street has had their roof done, and is awaiting interior work.

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