|April 25, 2011|
This home was constructed in the mid-1800s. During the 1870s, it was the residence of Thomas Seaman, a member of one of the early families to have settled in Wantagh, a community then known as Ridgewood. Seaman was instrumental in changing the name of his community at a town meeting in 1891 to honor the Sachem (Chief) of the local Native-American tribe.
The Venier family, which purchased the property in the 1940's, retained the historic character of the house. The residence is a fine example of Italianate Revival architecture, a precursor of the Victorian style most popular at the end of the l9th century.
The preservation of the Seaman-Venier House is an excellent example of a cooperative effort between community, developer and the Landmarks Commission. Strong community sentiment for the preservation of this fine Victorian era home prompted the Wantagh Preservation Society to seek out the owner and developer of the property in an effort to save the venerable dwelling from the wrecking ball.
The developer's plan called for the property to be used for a condominium development. The suggestion was made that perhaps the old house could be converted into condominiums and be used as the centerpiece for the complex that would be architecturally in keeping with the Victorian mansion.
The developer was enthused and hired an architect who prepared a design that was sensitive to the concerns of the community and met the requirements of the Landmarks Commission. The mansion was restored and is maintained as part of a visually appealing re-use of the property. The success of this effort is indicative of the positive result that can be obtained by a community organization that is willing to reach out to a developer in an effort to maintain the quality of life in that community.