Historic site markers were erected on some locations as long as 70 years ago. Therefore it is to be expected that on occasion some of these will turn up missing. Whether loss is due to snowplows, automobile accidents, road widening projects, or vandalism, it is often frustrating trying to relocate and reinstall missing markers.
All markers erected as part of the state program, since 1926, will have a credit line at the bottom that states "State Education Department" or other state agency designation. These markers, but usually not the posts on which they are mounted, belong to New York State, and usually to the State Education Department. They may not be disposed of without permission. They may be temporarily removed for maintenance or repair, however, or may be permanently removed at the request of the landowner. In the latter case, the Education Department should be notified, since the markers are public property.
Other markers have been erected by other agencies and organizations, without use of state funds. Many of these are identical in appearance to the state markers. These markers belong to the funding organization. If such markers were erected on state lands, such as highway rights of way, the state has some jurisdiction over them, but does not own them.Searches If it is obvious that a marker has been vandalized or damaged, or if it is believed a marker has been stolen, contact the local law enforcement agency. If it is known a marker was a state-funded one, contact the State Education Department at the above address and the State Police. If it is known that the marker was privately erected, contact, if possible, the organization which erected it and have them contact law enforcement.
If it is obvious the missing marker was damaged by plowing, automobile accident, or removed during highway construction, contact your county, town, and state highway agencies to determine if they have it in storage. In all cases, if the marker is not damaged, the agency responsible for its removal should be asked to reinstall it at an appropriate place and time. If it is unclear what happened to the marker, the first points of your search should be local highway agencies, then the county and town historians, then any historical societies, libraries, and museums in the area. To determine the text and location data on the marker, if it is a state-funded one, you can look up the marker text on our searchable markers database. If the marker does not appear in the database, but you are certain is was erected by the State, you may contact us at the email address listed below and ask for a copy of the data files for the missing marker.
If a marker is intact, but has been broken from its mount, and responsibility for the breakage can be determined, the person or agency responsible should be asked, or required, to reinstall it.
If it is damaged, the person or agency responsible for its damage should be asked, or required, to replace it with a new marker. If the marker was removed for some purpose, such as the widening of a highway, it should be re-erected at an appropriate location at the appropriate time.
InformationThis program is on temporary hiatus, there is not a current contact person.
Locate contact numbers for local historical agencies or regional transportation agencies in the government pages of your phone book. The main information number for the State Department of Transportation is (518) 457-6195.