The Rye City Council is once again exploring the idea of restoring one of its Benjamin Franklin mile markers, this time without the help of the city Landmarks Advisory Committee.
Councilwoman Emily Hurd, a Democrat and liaison to the landmarks committee, said both the Rye Historical Society and City Council are aiming to deliver on an upcoming proposal to restore one of Rye’s three milestones, known as the 25th, which is currently embedded in a stone wall running along Boston Post Road.
The plan involves commissioning the A.M. Art Conservation Company, which was responsible for restoring mile markers in the town/village of Scarsdale, to preserve the landmark in its current position within a protective mold.
However, according to Maurio Sax, a member of the landmarks committee, the City Council has kept the committee in the dark about this new proposal.
In April, the landmarks committee rescinded a proposal of its own before the City Council to relocate the milestone to where it was believed to be its original location on Old Post Road near the Osborn retirement community property.
But leaders from both the Jay Heritage Center and the Rye Historical Society spoke out against the move.
At the time, Suzanne Clary, the president of the Jay Heritage Center, and Sheri Jordan of the Rye Historical Society questioned whether the milestone was originally located near the Osborn property.
Initially, members of the City Council supported moving the milestone, which has suffered significantly through years of weathering and vandalism; however, with additional information surfacing about the mile marker’s history, city lawmakers pulled back their endorsement.
“I’m taken back about all of this,” Sax told the Review, adding that it’s so far been a “turf battle” between the city historical society and the landmarks committee over what to do with the milestone. “There’s a lot of controversy over the way this is being handled and it’s just disturbing.”
The historical mile markers were first established to create postal rates. In 1763, Benjamin Franklin, who was the deputy postmaster general at the time, constructed 230 milestones at 1-mile intervals for regulating postal rates and aiding mail delivery between New York City and Boston.
After an alteration in the route between the two cities in the early 1800s to make the traverse shorter, the Westchester Turnpike Authority placed a second set of milestones along the road.
That set of milestones, which includes the 24th, 25th and 26th, were repositioned again along the current Boston Post Road by former Rye Mayor John Motley Morehead almost 100 years ago in an effort to preserve them.
The Jay Heritage Center is the location of another one of the city’s three mile markers, locally known as the 24th.
As of press time, there is no further information on the upcoming proposal.