Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today urged the National Park Service to place Sylvester Manor Educational Farm on the National Register of Historic Places. Sylvester Manor is a former 17th-century farmstead that currently serves as a non-profit organic farm and educational center. This designation would expand opportunities for federal historic tax credits and other resources, to support preservation and economic development initiatives at Sylvester Manor.
“Sylvester Manor has a long and complex history over eleven generations on Shelter Island,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This site has seen much transformation over those years and should be preserved for generations to come. I will continue to work hard to ensure the National Park Service grants this important designation to Sylvester Manor so it can have access to federal resources that will support the ability to further its mission in the community.”
“We are proud of all the Manor has to offer our community, but are especially honored and humbled by the number of visitors who come to Sylvester Manor seeking remembrance and reconciliation of Northern slavery,” said Executive Director Cara Loriz.
Sylvester Manor is located on Shelter Island and was established in 1652. Tours are often given to explain its complex history to schools and to the public. Currently, Sylvester Manor Educational Farm serves as a non-profit organic farm and cultural arts and educational center. As part of its educational mission, organic farming and sustainability practices are taught to seasonal farm apprentices and local students. Additionally, the Manor provides a range of artistic and informative activities including: art workshops, history programming, live performances and summer youth programs. The Sylvester Manor Archive, a collection of more than 10,000 historical documents and artifacts, was gifted to New York University (NYU) in 2008, from which a major exhibition and on-going lecture series was mounted at the NYU Bobst Library.
In her letter to National Park Service Director, Jonathan Jarvis, Senator Gillibrand wrote, “Adding Sylvester Manor to the National Registry would not only be an accomplishment for the Shelter Island community, but for New York State. As an archaeological and archival site, the Manor has already contributed over one million artifacts and 10,000 primary source documents which describe the quality of life on Long Island for over 400 years. Including the Manor on the National Registry would be an important recognition of Sylvester Manor’s contributions to the history of Long Island, and bring additional attention to the site, further attracting visitors and growing the region’s tourism economy.”
Full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter to the National Park Service is attached.