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Rye To Restore 250-Year-Old Historic Mile Markers

Rye historic Mile Marker 25, placed along the Boston Post Road in 1763. The marker's writing has faded and a plaque denoting its historical significance has been removed.
Rye historic Mile Marker 25, placed along the Boston Post Road in 1763. The marker's writing has faded and a plaque denoting its historical significance has been removed. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

RYE, N.Y. -- Hidden throughout Rye are three historic landmarks, which date back to the days of Benjamin Franklin and which the city is working to restore and preserve.

The landmarks are sandstone mile markers, which were placed along Boston Post Road in 1763. Their locations were fixed by Franklin, who was serving as deputy postmaster general in the Colonies for the British at the time. A total of 230 were placed along the Boston Post Road by Franklin as he was developing a system of postal routes.

The three markers that remain in Rye are Marker 24, which is adjacent to the Jay Heritage Center , Marker 25, on the Boston Post Road near Parkway Drive, and Marker 26, which was outside Christ's Church but had to be moved inside City Hall to keep its condition from further deteriorating. In 1927, a restoration project was spearheaded by John Motley Morehead, president of the Village of Rye. According to the John Jay Heritage Center, his reasoning was that "there are so few landmarks in America having an age that these landmarks possess." Each marker was fixed with a plaque commemorating its historical significance.

Since that time, the plaques have fallen into disrepair and need to be restored again, according to Jack Zahringer, chair of the Landmarks Advisory Committee.

"Everybody ought to take a look at 25. It's a disgrace, it's falling apart, the plaque has been torn off," he said. The marker is embedded in a stone wall along Boston Post Road, covered in trees and with writing that's barely legible.

The city will contract A.M. Art Conservation for the restoration work, the company that preserved Scarsdale's mile marker. Zahringer said that the company will be able to restore Marker 25 where it is, without removing it from its location. "We were afraid if we took it out to repair it. We had that problem with 26."

Marker 26 will remain in City Hall, but Zahringer said once its removed it might be displayed in the Council Chambers, and a plaque placed in its original location in front of the church. Marker 24 is currently maintained by the Jay Heritage Center, which will handle its restoration.

The project will cost around $4,800 for the restoration of Marker 25 and 26. The Landmark Committee is hoping that the project will be started in September and finished later in the fall.

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