Following a year-long fundraising campaign to raise money to repair the roof on Staten Island's oldest home, construction on the Billiou-Stillwell-Perine house has begun. NY1’s Amanda Farinacci filed the following report from Dongan Hills.
Moss covers many of the shingles on the roof of the Billiou-Stillwell-Perine House. And those shingles not coated with the thick green natural carpet are crumbling, causing the roof to leak inside Staten Island's oldest house.
"The leak was infiltrating down through, getting right down to the floor. So, and it was in various areas. And it was spotty, it was in different spots. So that's why the whole roof has to be dealt with,” said Ed Wiseman of Historic Richmondtown.
The 353-year old house on Richmond Road was home to Dutch settlers even before Staten Island was called Staten Island.
Historic Richmondtown, the not-for-profit that maintains more than 30 historic buildings all over the borough, last year enlisted the help of the community to help raise the money needed to repair the roof.
Funds raised by residents were matched by private dollars.
This week, the work finally began.
Contractors specializing in historic restoration are working section by section to replace each shingle using wood that's exactly like the wood as it originally was.
"The purpose is not to change too much. And we're not looking to replace what doesn't need to be replaced. we're looking to preserve,” said Sarah Clark of Historic Richmondtown.
Historic Richmondtown acquired the house more than a hundred years ago and all of the work done in that time has been documented.
It's expected to take several months before this roof repair is complete.
"It's a historical building, it's not just ordinary, go and do a roof over, you have to take time because the house is very old, the wood structure is old. And it needs to be done very slowly and carefully,” said resident Steve Lobaido.
A second phase of construction is planned to focus on repairing the inside of the building so it can once again be open to school groups and large tours.
Organizers will again ask the community to help raise the money to make it happen.
For more information on the house or to donate, go to www.historicrichmondtown.org.