Friday, December 11, 2009

2. Did You Know....................

Many of you may already know this, but the existing Town Hall used to be the High School. There was a lovely article in the Southampton Press on August 15, 1912 detailing the proposed design and showing a front elevation, the first and second floor plans, and a building section. Its proposed cost was $100,000 and a vote was held on September 13, 1912 to approve the bond not to exceed $116,000. There was a competition held for the high school’s design and twenty entries were received. First place was awarded to Hewitt & Bottomley, second place was awarded to Alfred Hopkins, and third to F. Burrall Hoffman. In the center of the building, on the second floor toward the rear was an auditorium with balcony which sat five hundred, and toward the front was a large study hall, similar to the main reading room at the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, except equipped with 160 individual desks. The plans were carefully laid out to provide the boys and girls with separate lunch rooms, locker rooms, playgrounds, and entries to and from the exterior, the gymnasium, and their respective spaces. Boys areas were on the eastern side, girls areas were on the western side.

After construction began, and as is typical, the builders discovered that the $116,000 was not going to be enough, and proposed to the village that either they reduce the plans by eliminating the auditorium, or increase the budget by $40,000 to allow for the auditorium. There was some public griping by the ‘summer residents’ questioning the need for such a large auditorium and the fact that $156,000 would result in a higher cost per student than anywhere else on Long Island. Ultimately, the votes passed and the school was built with the auditorium.

While the building is no longer the high school, it stands largely in-tact on the exterior, with the exception of some minor alterations on the rear. The interior has been changed significantly.

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