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Rye Jay House Enters National Restoration Contest

RYE, N.Y. – Rye’s Jay Heritage Center has entered the 1838 Peter Augustus Jay House into Dwell Magazine's "Rethinking Preservation" Contest for a chance to win $10,000 for the non-profit's restoration project. The Jay House is one of 50 nationwide entries vying for the prize, which is in part decided by a people's vote.

"This is the perfect contest for us, because it illustrates what we do," Jay Heritage Center President Suzanne Clary said.

According to Clary, the contest is conducted "American Idol style" as the top ten vote getters become semifinalists while the winner is ultimately chosen by a panel of expert judges.

The Jay Heritage Center is a non-profit organization that sits on the property of New York's only native founder father John Jay. The 1838 Peter Augustus Jay House, a national landmark, was built by John Jay's son.

What makes the house unique is not just its Greek revival style and soaring Corinthian columns, but the house is the is the oldest National Historic Landmark structure in New York State using an energy efficient geothermal heating and cooling system. It's the implementation of that system that Cary hopes will nab the center the contest prize.

"The Jay Heritage Center has dedicated themselves to make the restoration process a teachable moment," Clary said. "The building and its grounds are active classrooms where the art of preservation and green sustainability can be observed."

Clary said the building acts like a living history book, and describes it as a new and innovative way of preserving history.

"One of the things we’re known for is taking older buildings and instead of filling them with furniture, we fill them with people, ideas and stories," Clary said.

While voting ends Feb. 20, (to vote click here!), Clary expressed excitement at simply being considered for the contest.

"It's like the Oscars, just to be a candidate is exciting for us," Clary said. "I think we have a lot to contribute to the city of Rye. I don't think people realize that Rye has a lot of history."

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