Thursday, October 21, 2010

Balcastle


This brick house, with octagonal tower (roof terrace on top) and battlement embellishments, known as “Balcastle,” was built circa 1910 by and for Joshua Edward Elliston, Jr., known as Edward. It is on the northwest corner of Little Plains and Herrick Road and is often included on house tours. It is currently for sale (4+ million) and I stopped in during a recent open house. It was a complete pleasure to tour and the real estate representatives didn’t mind those sight-seeing at all. If there are additional open houses, and you have 10-15 minutes, you really should see it.

Edward Elliston was a builder, cabinetmaker, and woodcarver who was born in Southampton in 1870 and died here in 1951. He was 6’-7” tall, a giant even by today’s standards. He was Irish with both parents being born in Ireland. His wife, Emma Rose, 14 years older than Edward, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, as she was the daughter of a whaling captain. In 1916 Edward and Emma lived on North Sea Road just south of where Noyac Road runs into it, on the way to Conscience Point. Edward grew up on North Main Street, just south of North Sea-Mecox Road. They did not have children. Emma’s family owned extensive property in Southampton, and when she died in 1933, Edward inherited it, and donated much of it to the Town, part of which created the Emma Rose Elliston Park in North Sea, where one can access a fresh pond for a dip in the summer.

There are numerous Ellistons all over the south fork of Long Island. Just recently I researched the property history for the African American Museum of the East End and found that property dating back to a large farm owned by Samuel and Eliza Elliston. Turns out this is probably Edward’s uncle.

Edward built at least two of his brothers’ houses on North Main Street, the two closest to County Road 39, on the east side of the street. The northern most one, with a gambrel roof and a large contemporary addition, was for Andrew George Elliston and his family, and the house to its south was for John Elliston and his family.

“Ansley Elliston recalls that it was to have been a school and that Dr. Charles Jagger, a Southampton man and “a Ph.D from Princeton” was to have joined in the venture as the instructor. Others have suggested that the two men had a “falling out,” which may have accounted for he castle’s unfinished state. Sme insist that there never were any plans for a school at all.”[1] Ansley was Edward’s niece, Andrew George Elliston’s daughter, and Dr. Jagger lived across the street from them, on North Main (an area known as “Jaggertown”). Ansley also explained that the large windows originally intended for the rest of the house, were installed as the enclosure to the gazebo in the rear yard of the property, which was Edward’s studio, and now acts as amazing guest accommodations.

Edward Elliston died after complications resulting from a car crash. His Model T coupe was broadsided at the intersection of Sandy Hollow and North Sea Roads in 1951. He was 81.
The house is currently owned by architect and designer, Bill Sofield, who redecorated the interiors beautifully.
[1] “Craftsman’s Legend Lives In Southampton Landmark,” by Mary Cummings, The Southampton Press, 11/22/84

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