SOMEWHERE close to New York City — but far, far away, up a narrow driveway and into the woods — lies Crow House, a rambling Arts and Crafts mix of architectural styles: an eccentric "not to everyone's taste" kind of stone house designed and built in the 1920's by Henry Varnum Poor, for many decades one of the country's most famous painters and potters.
Although Poor, who died in 1970, is largely forgotten, his house now stands at the center of a complicated round robin of conflict that involves preservationists who have formed a group to save it; his son, who vows not to watch the house deteriorate and has just signed a contract to sell it to a local entrepreneur; Poor's granddaughter, who opposes her father's decision to sell but feels powerless to prevent it; and town officials who had begged in vain for more time to consider making the house into a museum.
Preservation advocates say they fear that the prospective owner, who has already shown the site to an architect, will tear down the house or substantially alter it. Land values are high in this part of Rockland County: Crow House is only a 45-minute drive from Midtown Manhattan.
The photograph of potter Henry Varnum Poore's home, Crow House, is by New York Times photographer Fred R. Conrad.