Pagan-Fletcher Restoration & Tours

 

Welcome to the Pagan-Fletcher Restoration
We'd love to show you around! 

 143 Hendrickson Avenue
(between Fletcher and Corona avenues)
Valley Stream, NY 11580
vshistorical@gmail.com 

Welcome to the Pagan-Fletcher Restoration (pamphlet)

Valley Stream Historical Society (video)

 Open every Sunday from 1pm - 4pm

We also offer tours by appointment

24 Hour Advance Notice Required!

Click on the link. We'll get right back to you.

 

1890s - barn on the property 

 

1890s - fire tower, later turned into a hatchery
ca. 1931 - structure burned down

 

1948 - Lynwood Housing Corp.

The Pagans

In June 1834, the Pagan family, which included Robert, his wife Ellen, and their four young children, immigrated from Scotland. Their youngest, Agnes, age one, died at sea (Ellen gave birth to the second Agnes in 1835). It is believed that the family lived in Brooklyn before settling on the northeastern-most border of Fosters Meadow circa 1840 according to the census of that year. Pagan purchased 78 acres, which extended north to Dutch Broadway and south to Merrick Road. He either bought or built a modest dwelling on modern-day Hendrickson Avenue. A former miner, Pagan took up farming and grew rye, buckwheat, oats, corn, and potatoes.

In the early 1850s, Pagan opened a general store on his property. Also around that time, Ellen, a devout evangelical with Methodist leanings, opened her home to fellow worshippers, and conducted religious services. Before that time, worshippers had to travel to Fosters Meadow Methodist-Episcopalian Church in Elmont; or the Sand Hole Church, also Methodist, in Lynbrook. Both were considerable distances away. Because there weren’t enough believers in the area to warrant a full-time religious instructor, itinerant evangelical ministers were employed. In 1872, a Union Church (serving more than one religion) was built a short distance to the east of the homestead, on the corner of Wheeler and Corona avenues, and services were moved there. In the 1880s, the Union Church became Methodist and informally referred to as Sinner’s Hope Chapel. In 1904, Sinners Hope was officially named Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, and the congregation moved to a new church building on W. Fairview and S. Franklin avenues. A third and final edifice was built on W. Lincoln and S. Franklin avenues. Grace United Methodist Church, its most recent name, is the oldest congregation in Valley Stream.

By 1854, the general store was well under way, and Pagan sold 63 acres, and kept fifteen. He continued to farm on the smaller acreage and to run the store with his grown son, James.

The Fletchers

From the late 1850s through the 1870s, Pagan’s son-in-law, William Fletcher, married to Pagan's daughter Catherine, bought land south of Hendrickson Avenue, land that once belonged to Pagan. Fletcher acquired the property through several transactions, although none of the land was obtained directly from Pagan. Catherine and William Fletcher summered in Valley Stream; their year-round residence was in NYC. William’s parents, his brother James, and sister Elizabeth lived in Valley Stream full-time, south of Hendrickson Avenue - where Central High and Memorial High stand today. Catherine Fletcher and Ellen Pagan passed away in 1874 and 1875, respectively. After William's passing in 1893, his property and summer residence, today known as the Pagan-Fletcher Restoration, went to his heirs.

The Fletchers, also of Scottish descent, immigrated to the States in 1829, fifteen years before the Pagans. They settled in NYC, where William and his brother Andrew worked as foundry machinists. In 1853, the Fletcher brothers, along with another machinist, formed a shipbuilding company, where they designed and manufactured engines and steam boilers. In 1890, seven years after William’s passing, Andrew moved the business across the Hudson to Hoboken. By then, W. & A. Fletcher Co. was building vessels. They were one of the world’s leading marine engineer companies in the country. In 1905, Andrew Fletcher passed away. The business continued, however, to flourish under the leadership of William's and Andrew's sons. The company endured until the mid-1930s, when it was sold to Bethlehem Steel’s shipbuilding division. Bethlehem shuttered in 1983 and the defunct shipyard underwent gentrification. Today, all that remains of the shipbuilding era is the Fletcher Machine Shop; now home to the beautiful Hoboken Historical Museum. It’s the oldest and only surviving building on the waterfront. 

1890 - Fletcher Machine Shop built
 1986 - Hoboken Historical Museum established
1301 Hudson Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030

The Fairchilds

The final family to live in the homestead were the Fairchilds; related to the Pagans through marriage. In 1898 and 1904, two Boyd sisters, granddaughters of the Pagans, married two Fairchild brothers. The Fairchild family, fourth generation Americans, owned Fairchild Publications, the publishers of "Women’s Wear Daily," considered the 'bible' of the fashion industry. From 1923 to 1942, Louis Fairchild, his children, and extended family summered at 143 Hendrickson Avenue. (Louis' wife, Jessie, passed away the year the family took up residency.) In 1942, the Louis Fairchild family left, and another brother, Emil (not married to a Boyd sister) moved in full-time. Emil, Martha, and their three grown children: Donald, Gordon, and Jane, all lived in the house. Donald, the eldest, crayoned murals on the third floor landing, hall, and bathroom. 

In 1948, a year after Emil’s passing, the house, and remaining 10 acres were sold to the Lynwood Housing Corp. Between 1949 and 1950, Lynwood built Lynwood Gardens, a mid-century community of 49 homes. Lynwood used the old Fletcher estate for storage and office space. The house to the east of the Restoration was the model home. During Lynwood’s occupancy, many of the original features of the home were stripped, damaged or destroyed. Initially, it has been said, Lynwood wanted to tear down the house and build another in its place (making the number of homes an even 50). In 1953, Philip Lynne, co-owner of Lynwood Housing Corp. formed another co-owned development company, Valley Stream Housing Corp., which built most of North Woodmere. In 1977, the Village of Valley Stream, under the leadership of Mayor Dominick Minerva, authorized the purchase of the home, which had foreclosed, for $40,000; rescuing it from demolition.

In 1983, the Fletcher estate was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. From 1988 to 1992, the building was renovated and restored. Funds were raised by the Valley Stream Historical Society, tenants of the Village-owned property. The Pagan-Fletcher Restoration is operated by the historical society and maintained by the Village of Valley Stream.  

Fairchild Room (first floor)
To the right of the foyer, on the east side of the house, is a Victorian-era parlor.
The room is named in honor of the Fairchild family, the last residents of the house.
Many pieces of furniture in this room belonged to the family.

 

 

(first floor)
Pantry (left) - Used for storage, prep, clean-up, and as a serving station during the Fairchild tenancy. The cabinetry is original to the house. A vintage 1920 gas stove and an 1890s battery-operated telephone were donated.
Kitchen (middle) - Original pot-belly stove donated by the Fairchild family.
Kitchen (right) - Servant paging system above the sink.

 

Buckley/Exhibit Room (first floor)

To the left of the foyer, on the west side of the house, is the Buckley Room, named in honor of Jim Buckley,
Chairman Emeritus of the historical society. The room was previously the Fairchild's dining room.
It is now used to host permanent and changing exhibits.

   

Foyer, General Store, and Staircase (first floor)
Located in the foyer, the General Store sells items relating to local history.
The original staircase leading to the second and third floors has been restored.

  

 

Guest Bedroom (second floor)

Victorian-era bedroom once occupied by newlyweds Gordon and Hildegarde Fairchild. The room contains a rare closet
(free-standing wardrobes were the norm). Like the Fairchild-gifted furniture in the parlor, the pineapple-carved
four-poster bed, and the two dressers with mirrors, were removed when the family moved out in 1948.
Gordon Fairchild returned these gems several years prior to his passing in 1994.

 

Libath Room (second floor)
Named for Theodore O. Libath, who served as Chair of the Pagan-Fletcher Restoration Committee.
Originally, two bedrooms during the Fairchild Era, the room now serves as the historical society's library, research area, and meeting space.
 

Donald Fairchld Murals (upper stairway, hallway, third floor bathroom)
Donald Fairchild (1904-1953), a family member who lived in the house during the 1940s, crayoned the walls with murals..

 

Hattie Miller's Dolls (third floor hall)
The two lace-dressed dolls resting in the cradle and the rocking chair were donated by Marion DuBois. The dolls belonged to her aunt, Hattie Miller.
The Millers moved to Valley Stream in 1881, settling on the north side of Merrick Road where King Kullen stands today. The 1890s dolls were made in Germany and have painted hair and eyes.

   

Sewing Room (third floor)
Originally a guest bedroom ocuupied by Donald Fairchild in the 1940s; now a sewing room.
Antique sewing machines, quilts, trunks, and vintage clothing adorn the space.

  

Fire Department Room (third floor)
Formerly, an studio for Donald Fairchild. The room now hosts a permanent display of Valley Stream Fire Department
memorabilia, including firefighter gear and tools. On the walls are large aerial photographs of Valley Stream.

 

Bathroom (third floor)
A Victorian-era bathroom complete with claw-footed tub and Donald Fairchild's creative murals.
 
   

Raustein Gas Station (west of house)
The station was originally located at 139 N. Corona Ave. It was the first and longest operating gas station of its kind in Nassau County.
The Raustein's also sold Kerosene to the local community by horse and wagon.
In 1984, Dolly Raustein, sole heir, sold the property. The station was moved to the Restoration in 1991.
 

Columbia Aircraft Hangar Emblem (backyard)
In June 1993, two Columbia Aircraft hangars were demolished by Home Depot.
Columbia Aircraft was located in Curtiss Airfield, the defunct airport that is now 
home to the Green Acres Mall. With community assistance, the emblem was moved
to the Restoration where it was restored. A formal dedication was held September 1993.