On the Record With Linda Monte
President of the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society
Linda Monte was a stay-at-home mom when she began working with the Vander Ende-Onderdonk House, the city’s oldest Dutch Colonial stone house. She volunteered to help with the educational programs, and as her kids grew up and she got more involved with the house, she ended up being the one who did the grant paperwork for years.
Today, as the president of the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society for the past nine years, Linda Monte is responsible for the whole operation of the Onderdonk house, located on Flushing Avenue in Ridgewood, Queens.
“The house really is a reminder of our past,” she said. “It’s such an important thing to do, to preserve the treasures in our neighborhood.”And that’s what Monte and GRHS have made it their mission to do. The roof has been in disrepair for years, but she remains hopeful that the ongoing fundraising efforts will eventually get the GRHS to its $200,000 goal.
Monte said the Onderdonk house is useful in educating both children and adults, standing as a reminder of New York City’s early Dutch farming community.
“It represents that part of our history, why people settled in America and why they lived where they lived. The house changed the same way our city changed,” said Monte.
There are other changes in store for the house as well. GRHS hopes to make the upper level of the Onderdonk House more serviceable by adding heating and air conditioning.
The biggest problem Monte faces as president of GRHS is obtaining a steady stream of funding for the house’s maintenance, and also making sure the right decisions are being made. However, she admitted GRHS has done a pretty good job for being an all-volunteer organization.
“It all really spans the history of our city as well as the history of just the house or the families that lived here, “ said Monte. “Are willing to preserve our past to learn about the future?”