Monday, December 21, 2009

Moving Cottages

"Sally, I am a recent fan of your column and have owned a small cottage in north sea for over 10 years. Since purchasing my home I have noticed countless vernacular structures of modest sizes demolished. I applaud you for keeping score of the disappearance of an element of Southampton that gives it a unique architectural character. ………. I am a fan of simple shingle and fisherman style cottages which as you note in your blog are fast disappearing. I have a dream of relocating two simple existing structures to my property that are contextual as a means of saving this type of architecture. Are you aware of a way to do this within the village or town of Southampton? …….. Would love any suggestions you might have of finding a home to rescue or a means to do so."

You know, historically, house/cottage moving was big business and a commonplace occurrence. A neighbor would decide they didn’t want their grain house, or barn, or carriage house anymore, and a neighbor would just haul it over to their property. The Southampton Historical Society was moved from its original location on Main Street. The Sayre house was moved from its original location on South Main. The May house next to the Samuel L. Parrish house (north side) on First Neck Lane was moved to that location from its original location. The Dune Church was moved to its present location. It happened all the time, that is, until relatively recently. Now it’s become very expensive thanks to overhead wires and incredibly inflated mover’s prices. Did you see that suggested reading, Cottage for Sale, Must Be Moved? Her whole budget for buying the cottage, having it moved, and connecting it to her house was something like $30,000; not anymore, and definitely not in the Hamptons. There was a great article on the subject in the Southampton Press October 14, 2009 which said around here, moving a cottage/house could easily fall in the $20-35,000 range unless the building is not tall and/or the second story can be cut-off, and then re-attached, avoiding ‘wire drops’ along the moving route.

In any case, I stand up and applaud anyone wishing to relocate cottages to their properties and share those dreams myself. (I am so enraptured by all the structures that Ralph Lauren has saved and relocated in East Hampton; boy do I wish our village had such a savior!) My only suggestions are to forward your name and contact information, along with a letter explaining your desires of course, to the Southampton Village ARB, the Southampton Town Landmarks Preservation Board, and the Village, and Town Building departments (because many demolitions don’t need permission). I guess you could also hang signs here and there, at the schools, the libraries, the book store, etc. And classified ads could help spread the word too. There are so many people who would gladly give away their structures rather than seeing them torn down, I’m sure one of those avenues would prove fruitful for you; you’ll probably have a whole litter to choose from. Kudos! And Good Luck!

p.s. The image above is the little accessory structure at 43 Osborne Avenue, doomed for demolition. Isn’t it just precious? With a little 'TLC,' wouldn’t it make the cutest kids playhouse?

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