Historic Maine Maid Inn Designated as Landmark

Town Board's decision offers protections for the historic home and stop on the Underground Railroad.

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

Patty Servidio May 16, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Joe, you have no idea how long I have been saying this - Maine Maid Inn was a beautiful restaurant, a gorgeous old building, and a definitive structure worthy of landmark status. Every single time I pass it (almost three times a week!), I say it AGAIN. I am so glad that the vote was passed unanimously; now all we need is funding to get this process happening! (My only hope is that those interested in using it as a restaurant again will not change a single thing about the interior or exterior of MMI - it is interesting and beautiful and fantastic to witness, on a multitude of levels! Thanks for sharing! Best, Patty Servidio :)
Kathleen Velsor May 16, 2012 at 06:36 PM
A wonderful day for the Town of Oyster Bay. Thank you for keeping this important story alive in the hearts of Long Islanders. Kathleen Velsor Director of the Underground Railroad Teaching Partnerhip URRteachingPartnership.com
Papa Tom May 17, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Thank you, Supervisor Venditto and the Town Board. Now here's to the next owners being able to turn it into a successful venture! Tom Montalbano
Joe Dowd May 17, 2012 at 05:03 AM
As a resident, I'm thrilled to see this happen. This effort will preserve a very important part of Long Island's past. This Quaker enclave is a way for our children to look back at our history and inspire them to the future. I've greatly enjoyed writing about this and look forward to future updates. jd
Dick Blair May 01, 2013 at 08:58 AM


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