Pearl/Bullard/Eccles/Kabriski mansion, c.1985
Paul Graziano, President
Matthew Kabrisky, Chairman Emeritus
Prospectus for the Pearl/Bullard/Eccles/Kabriski Mansion Museum in Flushing, New York
The goals of the Flushing Historic Trust for the Pearl/Bullard/Eccles/Kabriski mansion are severalfold:
1) To create permanent exhibition and archival space dedicated to the general history of Flushing, NY;
2) To create permanent exhibition and archival space dedicated to the four families (Pearl, Bullard, Eccles and Kabriski) who inhabited the mansion;
3) To create a space dedicated to the arts, including a gallery / music / lecture hall and multi-purpose community room open to the general public;
4) To create a space dedicated to craft demonstrations, specifically those dealing with restoration techniques for historic structures.
The Pearl/Bullard/Eccles/Kabriski mansion is located at 147-38 Ash Avenue in the heart of Flushing. It is a four block walk from the Murray Hill station of the Port Washington branch of the Long Island Railroad (18 minutes to Pennsylvania Station), a block from a bus stop and approximately 10 blocks from the 7 subway line at Main Street. The mansion is easily accessible by car, and has approximately 10 on-site parking spaces, including small garages, as well as available local street parking.
The mansion boasts a ballroom, dining hall and round porch room on the first floor which can easily be adapted into multi-purpose space. There is also a center hall, a kitchen (easily adaptable into a catering kitchen) and a handicapped accessible bathroom as well as exterior porches on the north, east and south sides. We envision having three or four local (Queens / Nassau) artists displaying their works each year. The ballroom holds an estimated 60-70 people on folding chairs, an intimate setting for a musical ensemble or lecturer. In total, the first floor is large enough (2500 square feet) to hold a wedding banquet, which is one method we envision for raising funds to purchase and restore the mansion.
The second floor of the mansion has four bedrooms, two porches and two bathrooms, one of which will be restored back to its original function as a nursery. Each bedroom will be representative of a different period of history as well as of the family who inhabited the mansion at that time. So, the south bedroom will represent the Pearl family (c. 1845-1884); the master bedroom, nursery and round porch room will represent the Bullard family (1884-1909); the north bedroom and sleeping porch will represent the Eccles family (1909-1954); and the office will represent the Kabriski family (1954-2001).
The third floor of the mansion has six rooms, including a former bedroom which was converted into a bathroom and kitchen. Another room is a suite with its own bathroom and converted closet (now a small kitchen); both will remain as caretakers' apartments, as will another adjacent bedroom. The remaining three rooms will be used for the Flushing Historic Trust's offices and an exhibition room which will have rotating exhibits on various aspects of the history of Flushing.
The basement, which is a cavernous space, will be used for craft demonstrations, including how to restore various elements of historic structures. It will also be used for storage and archival materials.
Other important aspects of the mansion include gardens in front and back, which will be relandscaped to include the best of the current vegetation and trees, shrubs and flowering plants which may have been on the original estate; and to screen the apartment building in the rear, thereby creating a more intimate space in which to have outdoor events in good weather. Also, there is an elevator large enough for a wheelchair and attendant with access to all floors already extant in the rear of the structure which meets ADA requirements, and ramping in the front of the house connected to the north porch from the driveway.
Conceptually, the Pearl/Bullard/Eccles/Kabriski mansion will have a unique place in Queens. As a multi- purpose space with a multi-dimensional program, the Flushing Historic Trust's mission statement includes a commitment to education of the public, and especially to local school children who currently do not have access to this kind of place - there are two public schools and two private schools within a five block radius of the mansion.
Most importantly, we have a time limit in which to raise funds to buy the structure from the current family. The house also needs some restoration, mostly cosmetic (including ornamental plasterwork and woodwork restoration) as Matthew Kabriski (the father) was a contractor who kept the house in fair condition until a few years ago. Structurally, it is solid, with the exception of the east porch support beam, which is failing and must be replaced as it is affecting the integrity of the 2nd floor east sleeping porch. Also, the east chimney must be inspected for structural integrity. A new heating system which includes zones for various rooms must be put in place, as the current boiler is more than 50 years old and is extremely inefficient. The building must be brought up to fire code which will include the installation of a sprinkler system on the first floor. An anti-theft system must be installed, as there are over 40 windows and four entrances into the mansion. Finally, the exterior must be repainted in the next two years, as it has not been painted in approximately a decade.
We estimate the cost of purchasing and restoring the mansion to a prime museum property to be approximately $1,000,000. We have already met with several foundations who have verbally committed extensive funding when we begin the process of restoring the house, and other strategies will be employed to keep costs down, including having students from Historic Preservation programs at Columbia University, Pratt Institute, University of Pennsylvania and Roger Williams University do some of the restoration work as school projects. Also, landscaping materials will be donated by local nurseries which will cut costs for redesign of the grounds. Finally, very low interest loan programs are available to buildings which are placed on the National and State Registers and Landmarked under the New York City Landmarks Law. With collateral, we will be able to tap into those loans to secure a positive future for the last example of a mansion from the 1840's left in Flushing. As Kathy Howe, the New York State Historic Preservation Officer for our region, stated in August 2000, "this mansion would be special in any community; in Flushing, it's triply so."
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