Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dismantled

Did you know May was National Preservation Month??? Sure didn’t feel like it in Southampton Village to me with the destruction of 477 Halsey Neck Lane.

Anyway, the traditional colonial house shown above once stood at 444 Little Plains Road for about 76 years. It was originally built in Connecticut circa 1740 and later (during the 19th century) moved by boat to Sag Harbor. It stayed there for a few decades before being moved, this time by the Dixon’s, to their property at 444 Little Plains Road, in this village. But by 2006 the owners were selling the property and the new owners wanted to demolish the house to build a new one (see photo below).

In this case however, the house wasn’t lost, it was dismantled and saved! Robert Strada, a contractor from East Hampton, miraculously heard about the house and swooped in about 30 days before demolition would have occurred to take it down and reconstruct it on property he and his wife owned in Amagansett. The project was outside the historic district boundaries so the ARB did not have jurisdiction to save it from demolition. At that time there was no requirement that anything built prior to 1926 had to have the ARB’s approval. Yikes! The dismantling took approximately two weeks and was funded completely by the Stradas, which was likely to have cost in the six figures. Add in relocation and reassembly, and you would easily reach one million.

After learning about this project, thanks to a nice reader of this blog, Mr. Strada has become one of my official preservation heroes. Get this: The Stradas also bought the condemned building on Windmill Lane (#22) that no doubt many of you have driven by and wondered, “what’s the deal with that building?” Well, that building was built around a historic house called the Henry Rhodes House “which experts have called one of the best preserved examples of 18th century design in Southampton. ”[1] It was built in 1760 on the corner of Main Street and Hampton Road and moved in 1925 to make way for what is now the Town Hall. The Stradas intend to renovate and restore the original house. Bravo!

[1] Southampton Press, June 29, 2006, page R1

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