Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Bon Acre," 75 First Neck Lane

This lovely 2 ½ story home clad in shingles is located toward the top of First Neck Lane. Among it’s wonderful architectural features are a double-gabled porte-cochere, a round turreted tower, an immense two-story northern porch, and widows walk. This house is anything but boring to the passerby.

The Reeves family owned this parcel along with a great swath of land along First Neck and Ox Pasture Road since the late 1600s. The Reeves date back to the settling of Long Island’s East End. “The Southold tradition has it that two brothers, Thomas and James Reeves, came to this country about 1660 [from Wales] and took up a residence in Southold. About 1667 Thomas moved to Southampton.”[1] Edward Reeves, one of the sons of Henry and Emily Reeves who owned the Kirby House on the northwest corner of First Neck and Ox Pasture, probably inherited this parcel from his uncle Albert (see 1894 map image). He and his brother also owned many other properties in Southampton Village and enjoyed being landowners.

Sometime between 1894 and 1902 Dr. Porter Flewellyn Chambers (1854-1922) bought the property from Edward Reeves and built a house. Dr. P. F. Chambers was a gynecologist from Georgia that practiced with Dr. Theodore Gaillard Thomas (who is credited with starting the Southampton village colony development) for ten years in New York. Dr. Chambers married Alice Ely in 1893 and they had three children. He and his family were very social in Southampton and New York and mentioned frequently in the society pages. Dr. Chambers also served as one of the presidents of the Southampton Village Improvement Society. He owned #426 Gin Lane prior to building “Bon Acre.”

The property was owned by the Chambers for at least 70 years, before Dr. Flewellyn’s daughter finally sold it in 1967 to Mrs. Patcevitch.

Chesbrough Lewis Patcevitch (1913-2005) was a New York social figure and quasi-philanthropist. While she had been married four times, she became a widow of Iva S. V. Patcevitch, a former president and chairman of Conde Nast Publications, after 30 years of marriage. “A native of Perrysburg, Ohio, the young Chesbrough Lewis was a cafe society beauty photographed by Horst and Avedon.”[2] Her daughter, Chessy Rayner, was a highly regarded decorator and fashion writer and editor who died of cancer at the age of 66 in 1998.
Property Owners (present to past):
Barbara Lowy (1997-present)
Herbert & Lilian Fisher (1993-1997)
Paul H. Cohen (1973-1993)
Eleanor V. [Cernadas] Rutherford (1968-1973)
Chesbrough Patcevitch (1967-1968)
Alice Chambers Prosser (1949-1967)
William Ely Chambers & Ambrose Ely Chambers
P.F. Chambers
E. C. Reeves

[1] The Early History of Southampton, L.I., New York, with Genealogies, by George Rogers Howell
[2] New York Times, Jan. 10, 2005

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