The Little White House 10375 Main St Clarence
If you travel West on Rt. 5, right before the Clarence Fire District Fire Station on the left side on Main St. sits the Little White House (LWH). There used to be two houses here, but the Town of Clarence bought the property, demolished one house to make space for the Fire Department, and left the Little White House standing. It’s pretty old, probably of the 1800’s vintage, but no one really knows for sure as of this writing. Right now, it’s just sitting there deteriorating. If nothing is done to preserve it soon, it will be too damaged from our harsh weather to be saved. The Town has owned the property for quite a while and has no plans for it looking forward.
Recently a group of local residents formed a grass roots group to help preserve the LWH. “Friends of The Little White House” would like to see the house rehabbed and made into a cultural center. Some of the ideas floated around for the house have been: making the house into a Welcome Heritage Center with a welcome/gift shop, wall mounted TVs with programmed history of the area, and vending machines for refreshments. The bedrooms could easily be converted into offices for the Town Historian and genealogy records storage. There is also a garage that could be used for a recreational hub with bike rentals, tennis racket rentals and sales of related sports equipment that people can use to enjoy at the Main Street Town Park. They envision a Community Garden in the front yard and would like to offer Master Gardener Projects to help with the landscaping. The Clarence Arts and Crafts Society would like to create an Art Trail that would be part of the bike path/trail system that is already in place.
Currently, there is no way to buy the LWH from the Town, and the Town has done little to preserve it. The Friends of the LWH have gone to the Clarence Town Board and offered a GIFT of a shiny new shingle roof, installed by a local contractor selected by The Friends and paid by The Friends. They also offered to patch holes, and windows etc to keep the critters from Wintering in there and causing more damage. They would acquire all of the permits, insurances and licensing required to get the project done as well as follow all local zoning laws. The Town has rejected this offer, but had a tarp placed over the roof to help keep moisture out.
The Friends are in the process of forming a 501c(3) non profit charity to help in raising funds to save and rehab the LWH as they do not want the Town to incur any costs associated with the project. The Friends want to keep HOPE alive that together, they can find an adaptive reuse of the property that will enhance the area as a whole.
If you are interested in getting involved, you can join the Facebook Group: Friends of The Little White House. It is a CLOSED group, so you have to request to join from the group page. John O’Hare is the administrator. The group is up to over 1200 members and counting.