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The Denton House Before Restoration

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The Denton House After Restoration

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The Denton House Interior After Restoration

(From Historic Preservation Magazine)


Not many fast-food restaurants have patrons who claim to have once lived on the premises, and it is a rare prospective bride who wants to have her bridal portrait taken on the stairs to a McDonald's dining mezzanine. But then the McDonald's in New Hyde Park, New York  is in some ways exceptional. Yes, the ubiquitous Big Macs and immutable McNuggets are here defrosted, fried, assembled, and delivered with the familiar dispatch.  And yes, the I40-seat interior exhibits the predictable McDonald's themes. But patrons of this restaurant, located along Long Island's Jericho Turnpike, dine within the shell of a circa 1860 house.

The original owners reportedly were descendants of Richard Denton, a Presbyterian minister who arrived in the New World in 1630 and helped to found the village of Hempstead in 1643. Another Denton, Augustus, was a Nassau County politician at the turn of the century.  After World War l the house was no longer inhabited by Dentons and became first one and then another restaurant. It was the son of one of these restaurateurs who claimed to have occupied the upstairs.

When McDonald's acquired the Denton property in 1985, says Lawrence J. Anderer, Jr., the current owner/operator, the company intended to demolish the then dilapidated house and build one of its standard eateries. But residents of the village of New Hyde Park and the Town of North Hempstead obtained local historic designation and struck an agreement whereby McDonald's would restore the Structure's exterior to its appearance in a 1926 photograph -- with an allowance for a low-profile, single story addition to the rear.

McDonald's doesn't keep track of how many of its restaurants are in buildings designated historic, but it does claim this to be its 12,000th  to open.  And that, of course, is history.