Preservation and Revitalization
In 2010, a two acre parcel of property in the center of the Village of Florida, Orange County, was entrusted to the Village by the Town of Warwick. The Village of Florida is a municipality within the Town of Warwick. The site had been largely neglected for nearly fifteen years, but was deemed to have significant historic value. It is what remains of the birthplace of William Henry Seward, former Governor and Senator of New York, Secretary of State in the Lincoln administration and driving force behind the purchase of Alaska in 1867. On the same land is another house, known as the Mapes House named after Horace Mapes, the man who had it built for his family in 1887. It is a Queen Anne style Victorian with many of its original features still intact, having served as a funeral parlor for a good part of the last century.
In early 2009 Mrs. Anne T. Higgs, the owner of the Seward homestead and the Mapes house, began to seriously consider selling the property to the village of Florida. The primary obstacle was obtaining the money needed to purchase the property. That was resolved when the Warwick Town Board agreed to fund the purchase from the Community Preservation Fund.