The , once home to Valentine Hicks and a hiding place for runaway slaves, has earned a landmark designation that could help preserve it.
The Oyster Bay Town Board voted unanimously Tuesday to grant town landmark status to the currently vacant structure hidden in a corner of Jericho.
What's more, said at least two restaurants are interested in operating the old mansion as a restaurant again.
was delighted by the decision and thanked the broad coalition of historians and civic leaders who joined forces to preserve the old Hicks homestead.
"Your thoughts and actions helped carry our efforts to today's success," said Abbe, who serves as clerk of the Jericho Preparative Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers. The religious order's local roots date to a small enclave off Jericho Turnpike known as Jericho Corners. A number of buildings in this secluded hamlet off Route 106-107 date to that Quaker community.
The town's designation preserves the exterior of the structure, but doesn't limit the ability of an owner to refurbish the interior and grounds and build a business there. For years, the Maine Maid Inn was a well-known Long Island setting for banquets and family gatherings.
The building is for sale. Venditto said two restaurant owners have expressed recent interest in the property. The last restaurant operation there closed more than two years ago.
The building itself dates to around 1800 and was the home of Valentine Hicks, a "station master" on the Underground Railroad. The system, championed by Quakers and other abolitionists, was a series of passageways, land and sea routes and safe houses to shuttle runaway slaves northward and, ultimately, to Canada.
Jericho Corners also figures prominently in another aspect of Long Island History: The Inn sat along the route of the