Couple who transformed crumbling historic buildings into Warwick gems receives award

| 23 Feb 2022 | 09:27

WARWICK – A restoration from ruins resulted in a Historical Landmarks Preservation Award for the owners of the Old Stone House Inn and Restaurant on Hathorn Road this month.

“This is the most ambitious historic restoration in the history of our community,” effused Warwick Town Historian Richard Hull about their venture .

He presented the honor, with Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton, to Arek Kwapinski and Sylwia Kubasiak “for the remarkable renovation and restoration of the historic Hathorn house and Estate, along with two adjacent historic buildings.”

The story begins with John Hathorn, who is buried in Warwick Cemetery, and was appointed as Colonel of the Orange County Militia in 1776. He was the commander in that historic Battle of Minisink. The Hathorn House, constructed of locally quarried stone, was built in 1773 by John and Elizabeth Hathorn and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Over the past two centuries, the ownership of the home and estate changed, but in recent years the historic building had been vacant and in serious disrepair.

“Several years ago,” said Supervisor Sweeton, “we were faced with the loss of one of Warwick’s most historic homes, the John and Elizabeth Hathorn homestead. While the Friends of Hathorn, led by Deputy Town Historian Sue Gardner, searched for solutions, an unexpected visit from a local realtor introduced the town to Arek and Sylvia who had a vision for an inn. Working together in a public private partnership, the homestead was restored, a museum to one of our most prominent citizens was created and another world class dining venue, the Old Stone Inn, was established. One of Warwick’s most historic homes was saved without cost to our taxpayers, thanks to Arek and Sylvia to whom we will be forever grateful.”

Hull explained that in 2016 the new owners took a derelict unoccupied pre-Revolutionary War nationally-registered landmark, meticulously renovated and restored it at great cost of time and money, and transformed it into an elegant first-class restaurant. During the presentation Hull praised the many other historic renovations in the community throughout the years.

Turning to the owners of the Old Stone House Inn , he said, “You not only made history but you preserved it.

When asked if there were any surprises or major obstacles to overcome during the five year renovation, Kwapinski replied, “Every day and every project was a surprise and a major problem.”

He mentioned the collapse of the chimney, floors that had buckled, walls that needed rebuilding, a caved in porch, having to completely replace plumbing and electricity, and foundation work while striving to maintain historical accuracy.

Hull ended his presentation with the words of the late Warwick resident and famous actor Richard Kiley, star of the Broadway hit, Man of La Mancha: “We must dream the impossible dream. Arek and Sylvia did and we are all benefitting from it.”

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PIC – One photo by Roger Gavan

On Friday, February 11,

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