Inside ‘beautiful’ McDonald’s saved from bulldozers to become historic landmark

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When McDonald’s bought a run-down Georgian-style mansion in 1986, it planned to tear down the structure and put one of the chain’s signature restaurants in its place.

The fast-food giant had purchased Denton House in Long Island’s Nassau County, US, for a reported fee of $1million but had no plans to save the building – originally constructed in 1795 – after it had been badly neglected.

However, the local community fought back to save one of the oldest structures still standing in the area and in 1988 it was designated as a historic landmark.

Work then got underway to restore the building instead and a restaurant was constructed around the home’s original features, creating one of the most unique branches of McDonald’s you will find anywhere in the world.

The exterior of the restaurant still features shutters on the windows, a large balcony and a grand entrance, all of which were restored to match a 1920s photograph of the building, which still hangs on the wall by the tills, Insider reports.

McDonald’s is written above the main door in understated black, and from many angles it becomes hard for passing motorists to recognise it as a fast food restaurant at all.

A grand double staircase greets visitors as they make their way past two wooden benches at the entrance and the dining area opens up with a high ceiling and exposed wooden rafters.

It’s contrasted by the typical cashier area you would usually expect to find, with light-up menu screens, ice cream machines and giant touchscreen self-order tablets.

Historians says the building began life as a farmhouse in 1795 and was home to Joseph Denton, a descendent of one of the founders of the town of Hempstead.

It later went on to become a few different restaurants, most recently a venue named ‘Dallas Ribs’, before it was purchased by McDonald’s.

After originally being met with opposition by the town, it opened in 1991 having agreed to the restoration and conditions to protect neighbours from noise and smell.

McDonald’s New York regional vice president said at the time: “When we took over this building, it was a disaster, a real eyesore. There were pigeons all over. We had to gut the building, take it down to the rafters.”