Marion Carll Farm Sits in Limbo [Empty in Commack]

Historic property has been closed to the public for decades.

Like a forgotten colonial relic, the Marion Carll farm remains tucked away on the north side of Jericho Turnpike, its sprawling grounds and century-old farmhouse left virtually untouched for decades.

Though members of the public have not tread on the farm since the late 1960's, Mother Nature certainly has. Years of heavy snow and rain have battered the house and torn a large hole in the roof.

With maintenance costs rising, the property has become a point of contention in the community.

Since it was deeded to the Commack School District by Marion Carll in 1969, the farm's history has been a rocky one. Last year, a referendum to sell the farm to a developer was . Over the summer, the district announced it would put the property out to bid once again. Despite talks of several interested parties, Superintendent Donald James announced the district had received at the Board of Education meeting earlier this month.

While several civic groups, including the Commack Community Association, the Huntington Historical Society, the Peconic Land Trust and the Rotary Club of Commack-Kings Park fight to protect the property, which was established in 1701 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, the property remians closed to Commack residents.

Do you have a vision for the Marion Carll Farm? What would you like to see become of it? Tell us in the comments.

Sue Hermer December 01, 2011 at 12:27 PM
Marion Carll Farm is a money pit. I voted to sell it even though I thought the property was worth more. Holiday Organization's proposal to renovate the farmhouse, sell it as a private residence and build 30 additional homes on the property (where older people most likely without school age children) would have brought in more tax dollars for the school district and the community. Holiday also guaranteed residents would have 4 community days and students ocassionally would have access to the barn for district programs. The seniors, who no longer have children in the schools, came out and voted to keep the farm for sentimental reasons. Shame on the younger residents for not coming out to vote to get rid of a farm the majority of us knew nothing about until this issue came about.
Arthur Reilly Jr December 01, 2011 at 02:06 PM
I beg to differ. The money pit you refer to is based on the inlcusion of legal fees by the School district as operating costs, hence the costs skyrocketed. There are certain ways to operate the Farm where it may not be a cash cow but could be self sustaining as far as costs. The fact that the residence was able to atrophy with a hole in the roof without repair for many years is a travesty. As is the fact that the district never allowed public access. Why is it that other Farms in our own county are self sustaining? The school district did not allow public access for many years. Why? Shame on anyone who does not see honoring the late Ms. Carll's will as she could of sold the land herself. The school district could have not accepted the Farm. These are trying economic times but other viable options exist.
Sue Hermer December 01, 2011 at 08:24 PM
I take it, Arthur, you're one of those seniors that can't let go of the farm. The other farms that we can visit, like Hoyt Farm right here in Commack, are "self sustaining" because they are not owned by school districts that are not in the business of running farms . As for the other viable options that you say exist, what are they?
LouiseCom December 01, 2011 at 11:38 PM
Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown, a not-for-profit facility, is run from the old-time house of Vail and Edith Blydenburgh. Edith donated the house and its property to the Nature Conservancy and the Town of Smithtown with the stipulation that it be used for environmental education and preservation purposes. This is exactly the same reason Marion Carll deeded the property to Commack School District. Maybe the district needs to open dialogue with the many organizations that have successfully taken deeded/donated properties and converted them into educational, envoronmental and historical learning centers for their communities.
Don Walsh December 02, 2011 at 12:28 AM
What happened to the money that should have been spent to maintain the farm. Why is it locked from the commack rd side? If you live in the hamlet you can walk right up to it. seems like holiday corp. has laid claim to it along time ago.AND lets not forget due process. nothing can be done without the consent of the citizens of the commack school district. one last thing. the farm sits far south of Jericho trnpk.it makes me think the writer doesn't knows much about the Marion Carll Farm.
RegularJane December 02, 2011 at 12:29 AM
I am not here to argue, but Sue- your last sentence says it all. Why did you or anyone else not know of this issue BEFORE it went up for sale? Doesn't that bother you? That it sat there for decades? That is was ALLOWED to turn into a dump? If it cost so much to hold onto, why didn't they sell it sooner? I am not a "senior", and I have no idea why that would matter.I agree with Louise, however, if it needs to be sold, it should be at fair market price not for a "handshake".
Commackian December 02, 2011 at 06:01 PM
Commack ambulance has been trying to get this property for approx 15 years but with no luck
Re December 05, 2011 at 12:11 AM
The school district should use the farm for classroom programs. The one room schoolhouse was built in the 1990s with a new heating system and handicapped accessible bathroom. The maintenance staff sometimes uses it ; why not make it available to others? The NY Parks dept pumped about $500,000 into the property to totally renovate the 2 barns in the 1990s. . Demand to see this property and you will see the possibilities! The money the school spends on legal fees could be better used to have their grant writer obtain grants. The school lawyer himself ran a " Friends of the Marion Carll farm" organization until he disbanded it
DFUSCO December 06, 2011 at 04:17 AM
I still dont understand how the school district thinks they have the legal right to sell a property whose deed says ownership reverts back to the heirs if not used fr the donated purpose. I read about volunteers replacing a silo roof this summer on the patch, volunteers would jump at the chance to fix up the Carll farm but the district won't let anyone onto the property. The district should let an organization who legitimately cares about the farm take it over and run it successfully for educational purposes per the will of the donor - a real educator. Any few dollars the district would get for such a historic site would just be squandered on some step raise , administrative stipend, etc. Commack boards have a pattern of letting properties go into "disrepair" and then trying to sell them. Let the students who study trades, Boy scouts, contractor volunteers, supply house donations, etc. repair the damage perpetrated by the school administrators and then let a competent not for profit run and take care of it.
DFUSCO December 06, 2011 at 04:19 AM
The Silo roof replaced by volunteers was at Hoyt Farm I believe
Arthur Reilly Jr April 30, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Not a senior. There is both a moral dilema here as the owner could have sold it herself. Seems that fact is lost on many. Fee's associate with the Farm have been made up mostly of legal fee's as it is more like $25,000.00 per year in actual direct costs. The hole in the roof has been allowed to atrophy for over five years and only in 2010 did they place a tarp on it. No one has explained that either. With your rationale we may as well sell Hoyt's Farm as imagine how many homes and tax revenue we could appreciate with 130 acres. As far as other options the district had a contract ready to sign for a handicapped school adn equestrian center. Which by the way they could have proceeded with.


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