by Carolyn Bick & Cindy Boyer
It’s been awhile since we’ve updated our readers on the status of the Campbell-Whittlesey House so here’s a report on the newest steward of the house:
The Landmark Society is thrilled to announce that it has sold the Campbell-Whittlesey House to Landmark Society member Dr. Ronald Yearwood, who will be the latest in a line of good stewards for this 175 year old structure. The house was a private home from 1836 to 1937. In 1937 The Landmark Society saved and restored the house and operated it as a museum until June of 2010. It was decided to list the former museum in August 2010 as a result of several years of strategic planning and a refocused mission to promote preservation and planning practices that foster healthy, livable communities. Maintaining a static museum was no longer congruent to this mission.
The return of this building to private hands will ensure that this home remains a living and viable resource. The sale was accompanied by protective covenants that will ensure preservation of the home’s significant architectural details. These covenants will remain a part of the deed during Dr. Yearwood’s ownership, and will pass on to future owners, giving perpetual legal protection.
Dr. Yearwood is in the process of completing his residency in general psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He was born in Venezuela and raised in the country of Grenada. He attended college in England where he received his master’s degree in system analysis, design, and project management before embarking on his medical career. A full national scholarship awarded by the government of Grenada allowed him the opportunity to pursue his medical career in Rochester.
Before deciding to finish his studies and settle in Rochester, Dr. Yearwood toured the U.S.A. He decided the location and the wonderful quality of life in Rochester was the most attractive option. Dr. Yearwood told us “I had no intention at all of buying a house. But then I saw information about the sale on the internet. I couldn’t believe what a unique opportunity this was. I saw it as a way to become part of and support the local community.” After the sale closed, he was struck with the enormity of the responsibility to safeguard and ensure the proper stewardship of one of Rochester’s oldest homes.
Dr. Yearwood comes from a family of architects, interior designers, and art historians. His mother is an art historian in London and will be consulting on this project. Dr. Yearwood will also call upon the expert advice from the New York State Historic Preservation Office, the Corn Hill Neighbors Association, and— of course—The Landmark Society.
Dr. Yearwood is proceeding very carefully. “I recognize this is not a project that will be completed quickly, and I am very comfortable with that.” He is working on a master plan that will proceed in stages, starting from the outside of the building with needed paint and repairs to the building envelope, then gradually proceeding to interior work. He expects the major work will take place over a timeline of 3 to 5 years. Dr. Yearwood is very familiar with long term goals: he still has 18 months to complete his residency.
Dr. Yearwood’s intention at this time is to keep the Campbell-Whittlesey House as a private residence. Future plans include locating his private practice in the building, Corn Hill Center for Healthy Living and Healthy Minds. Some of the additional space will be used to incorporate art, pet and humor therapy as part of the services offered to his clients.
The Landmark Society appreciates his passion and investment in the Campbell-Whittlesey House. Our whole community is incredibly fortunate to keep this property in such thoughtful and caring hands.
Adapted from the Fall 2011 issue of Landmarks, a quarterly publication of The Landmark Society.