BY LANDY ERLICK
Bruce MacDonald is the President of Ashwood Restoration. He has worked with many notable historic site professionals, architects, and preservationists, including craftsmen at Historic Hudson Valley, Philip Johnson, Toshio Odate, Stuart Elliot, members the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and more. He is currently leading the restoration of structures at the Jay Estate which most recently include a 100+ year old Ice House. Here is his take on preservation from the perspective of a student, through his longtime partnership with the Jay Heritage Center, and beyond.
How did you find yourself at Jay Heritage Center?
Well that was in 1992. I had met Dee Dee Paschal, who was one of the five women who helped save the [Jay Estate], back maybe four years earlier at a New York State preservation conference. She was with Karen Kennedy, a preservation advocate within the County of Westchester Planning Department and [she] was the key to the fight, helping guide and inform the Jay Coalition. So Karen introduced me to Dee Dee. It was a two minute thing describing the site. Dee Dee said “We’ll call you when we get the site.” So I said “Thank you very much” and moved on. I was working on a project in White Plains in August when my phone rang. [Dee Dee] said, “The deal has gone through and we need you.” So that was the beginning. We started work doing emergency repairs. Someone had torn a third of the copper roof off the mansion. And the next day it was starting to rain so we had to scramble.
Bruce MacDonald in his workshop