Restoration of the Historic Mesier Homestead
Restoring the 1741-43 Structure
The Wappingers Historical Society has recently turned its attention to the restoration of the original house of the Mesier Homestead. Constructed circa 1741-43, the small building to the rear (north) side of the Mesier Homestead was an early home to Nicholas Brower and his family. As such, it provided Nicholas Brower with shelter as he established himself in this area. This was a common custom of early settlers in undeveloped areas. Nicholas constructed what is now the much larger main portion of the house as his time and finances allowed. From tax records, we believe the main structure was built sometime between 1748 and 1753.
The original 1740s portion of the house today is showing its age. In addition to the sinking and crumbling foundation, there is extensive rot in window frames, doorways, clapboards, wall studs, and more. In January 2018, an "Existing Condition Study of the Brewer-Mesier Homestead in Wappingers Falls, New York" was conducted by Marilyn Kaplan, Preservation Architect. This comprehensive review clarified for us the urgency and scope of this restoration. Restoration will be divided into several phases. Our work will start with rebuilding deteriorated sections of the stone foundation. We will then work our way "up", replacing the rotted wall plates and wall studs. We will also replace the original "nodding" with modern insulation and refurbish the clapboard siding.
The Homestead had been used as Village offices and the Police Department over the years. When electric capacity was added, unsightly telephone poles were installed, and multiple electric conduits were added to the exterior. We are refitting the electrical feed to be underground and moving the electric meter and outdoor emergency shutoffs to a more practical location which will be much more pleasing to the eye. The telephone poles will also be removed. This work will eliminate the existing safety hazards and provide adequate drainage when we regrade the land around the foundation.
The initial work as described above was started in the fall of 2020. We will begin our foundation work as soon as weather allows in the Spring of 2021. Be sure to check back to this page as we update you on our progress with this exciting restoration project, bringing back the original portion of the house to its full glory.
This 1741-43 building is a historic treasure for our beloved village and town! Very few buildings from that era still stand in their original construction, and even fewer are accessible to the public. Restoration involves multiple phases, and we must begin with the exterior before we can approach work on the interior. Our ultimate goal is to open the original structure to the public for tours and educational programs. Fundraising for exterior work is already underway. We have raised a small portion of the funds necessary to tackle the exterior restoration, but still have a long way to go.
We hope you will consider donating to the Mesier Homestead Restoration Fund as part of your generous year-end and #GivingTuesday charitable contributions. The Wappingers Historical Society is a tax-exempt, charitable, nonprofit organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Any gifts you make to the WHS are tax deductible.
Please make a donation to help us with this exciting project!