Monday, February 28, 2011

11. Did You Know...........................

Numbers 78 (above) and 74 (below) Moses Lane used to be joined together to make one house. Someone who used to own #78 told me this once and I am finally getting around to looking into it. They were split sometime between 1916 and 1932 according to various maps. Interesting, huh?

Houses used to get split more often than you’d think. I’ve recently become aware of at least three houses in Bridgehampton that were split. People today really have no idea how infrequent demolitions occurred compared to today, to the point that houses were even divided and moved to become multiple dwellings rather than being torn down. Now, just as buying an apple pie is less expensive than making one, building a house is often thought of as less expensive than renovating. But in the case of architecture, the rehabilitation of an original will often result in a much higher quality and level of detail. “They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.”

Moses Lane is one of the oldest streets in Southampton Village, but even though the houses on this street were built circa 1910 (with some older and newer exceptions), it is considered a very mediocre street. Go figure.

So can you imagine these houses linked? Above is a little sketch for you just in case you wanted a little help. I ‘m sure this isn’t exactly what the house used to look like, but it’s a possibility.
The entire eastern half of Moses Lane used to be owned by Daniel Hildreth Halsey (1860-1924). He was a farmer who lived in a lovely home that still exists today at 345 Hill Street (above) with his wife, Harriet (Hatty) [Jagger], two children, and mother-in law. That is one of my favorite properties in the village. It has been added onto and improved but the original architecture of the main house is clear as can be. The owners often hang a large American flag on the front of the house in the summertime which I love, and they have some beautiful peonies in the front yard too.
In 1909 Daniel Halsey subdivided the +/-13 acre eastern half of Moses Lane (between Hill and Armande streets) into 13 individual parcels and started selling them off. In 1919, George M. Stumpp bought the property where the two split houses now sit, having previously bought Daniel Halsey’s homestead on Hill Street sometime prior to 1916.

In 1976 George Stump III sold the Moses Lane property to Jody Donohue-Auerswald (b. 1925), Martha Olson, and Bernard (Bernie) & Vion Schram. In 1983 the property was subdivided into three parts for Jody, Martha, Bernard & Vion creating a new parcel behind the front two split houses which is still owned by Jody today.

Friday, February 25, 2011

"The State of Historic Preservation in Southampton"

The Town Landmarks Board is launching a massive public education/outreach campaign across Southampton with which I am very much involved. Read about it here:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

135 Little Plains Road

This adorable little pink cottage with gingerbread trim detailing and decorative shingle patterns seems to have been built about 1895 by and for Mr. & Mrs. Edward H. Tooker. It has always caught my eye when passing by because of its quaintness of scale and character in comparison to the larger structures on Little Plains. It is refreshing to have smaller structures retain their usefulness and relevance in an area which has seen some significant ‘super-sizing’ over the last several decades.

The Tooker’s got the property from Harvey & Mary Hallock who didn’t own it for long. The Hallock’s got the property from James & Sarah Jennings. At that time it was part of an acre rather than a quarter acre. The Jennings got the property from Susan R. Herrick, who inherited it from Cornelia Huntting.

Sarah Phebe [Barto] Tooker (1859-1943) married Edward Henry Tooker (1858-1929) in October of 1880. She was from Islip, the daughter of a carpenter; he was from Mastic. I wonder how they met and what brought them to our village? Edward Tooker was a house carpenter, leading me to believe he built the house. I’m not sure about the garage though. While the old maps always show an accessory structure in the same location, it looks more recent, especially as the trim details and roof pitch don’t match the house. Of their 10 children, their eldest son, Herbert Cyril Tooker, was the second owner. According to the 1920 census, at the age of 36 he was still living with his Mom & Dad and two sisters at 135 Little Plains Road and was working in a Sporting Goods Store.

Today the property is owned by David and Kathryn Hausman Smith, owners of a fashion accessories company named Medusa’s Heirlooms, in New York.

Prior to the Smiths, Norman & Joyce Keifetz owned this home. Ms. Keifetz was a well known author and editor who just passed away a few months ago. A graduate of Smith College, she was the youngest ever to be Editor-in-Chief at Abelard Shuman, and the first female writer for Playboy magazine, among many other extraordinary accomplishments.
Property Owners (present to past; incomplete):
David Smith, 1995-present
Kathy Hausman Smith, 1984-1995
Eleanor Billet & Barbara Oberlin, 1981-1984
Norman & Joyce Keifetz, 1971-1981
Richard O. & Anna H. Luke, 1959-1971
Thorwald I. & Helen Swensen, 1949-1959
Herbert C. Tooker, 1943-1949
Sarah P. Tooker, 1894-1943
Harvey C. & Mary E. Hallock, 1893-1894 (1/4 acre; vacant)
James E. & Sarah E. Jennings, 1892-1893 (1 acre)
Susan R. Herrick
Cornelia H. Huntting

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Applications: Village ARB Public Hearing, Feb. 28, 7pm

Check out the new ARB applications on Patch here: Included is one for repairing and reinforcing the property boundary wall of the well known Wooldon Manor House property, near the Bathing Corp, as well as a curiously historic house at the south end of Coopers Neck Lane.

Monday, February 21, 2011

143 Years Ago, Part IV

Continuing along with this historic series, here are excerpts from the fourth of a series of articles published by The Southampton Press titled “Southampton Sixty Years Ago,” beginning in December of 1927 and written by Benjamin C. Palmer. [In other words, the series, written in 1927, was referring to conditions in this village circa 1867.]

“The adjoining property north of Capt. Charles Howell’s was owned by Col. Benjamin Foster, whose fine country residence stood, as was common in those days, close to the street, and being quite a farmer the background was filled with neatly kept farm buildings, all of which some years ago were moved to make room for Southampton’s progress. This house in later years was bought by Mr. Samuel L. Parrish and moved down to First Neck Lane, fitted up as a summer cottage, where it has since remained as such (above).......

These two residences, Howell’s and Foster’s, with the Sayre house near Bridgehampton road, and Capt. Albert Rogers’ at Meetinghouse Lane corner, were all the residence s on that block of Main Street unless, perhaps, the old Pelletreau house, which was soon to disappear when Mr. Josiah Foster acquired the property on which to build his home until recently owned by Mrs. Hummell. The shoe shop and the Methodist Church (above) being the only other buildings.

People lived to a good old age, the larger proportion over-reaching the three score years and ten allotment, yet people would die just as they always have and always will, therefore the services of an undertaker were just as necessary then as now, and they had one here and a good one, Mr. Albert Foster, who owned and lived where the Episcopal Church now stands (above). (Rev. Mr. Fish lives in the same house, somewhat made over.) …….Mr. Foster left a son, James H., who succeeded the father in business and also became a highly respected Justice of the Peace…………….

Scattered along on either side of the street were other residences, homes of substantial citizens, descendants of the original settlers, and we recall the standard old family names like Post, Herrick, Pierson, White, Reeves and others, ‘till we stop for a moment to think over how the block where the Post Office now stands looked.

The Academy (above), on the corner, was the masterpiece of architecture at that period, as a school house. Then came the old Larry house, and further on where Guldi’s Electric Store now is, stood the Penny homestead, built so close to the street that one could lean up against it and still keep one’s fee on the sidewalk….. These houses like all the older type, had long sloping roofs, the slope extending from the front peak back and down to a little above the back door. We have always wondered why these old settlers built their houses that way as it gave them sloping low rooms and it would seem that a valuable lot of room space was lost that otherwise could have been made available, they did.

We frequently met an elderly, mildly-spoken gentleman of medium size, with flowing pure white locks. His pleasing “good morning” and his genial personality made an impression of the kind that lasts. This was William Huntting, father of our present Mr. E. P. Huntting, who lives in that old colonial residence just north of the new town building (detail above). Over the door we read the figures 1707. This was the residence of Col. Benjamin Huntting, father of William.[Now 1708 House Hotel.]

The front part represents the old part of a house built long before the time of Benjamin, but after a visit to England, Benjamin, on his return had the back part of the house remodeled and rebuilt, and various improvements since have been made by the successive occupants. The large old time fireplace has been removed and the house warmed by modern methods. General Washington was a guest at this house on several occasions.
After 1840 a new type of building commenced to be erected after a pattern brought from England; quite a number are now standing in different parts of the village, of which the Sayre house, corner of Bridgehampton road, and Capt. George White’s (above), opposite the Methodist Church, are fair types and certainly were more adapted for family purposes than the old time sloping roofs…….”

I love these accounts. Hope you do too. Part V will follow.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Historic Village Homes For Sale

Happy Valentine’s Day! I have the perfect Valentine for you! How about a unique, one-of-a-kind historic home?

If you’ve always wanted to live in a historic home, and if you’ve always wanted a home in the Village of Southampton, both of those dreams could come true! Now’s a great time to pursue a historic Southampton Village house, for a great price. I myself am envious of anyone able to scrape enough together to make that happen. I’m holding on to the dream of renovating for now, as a way to ensure the survival of my 20s cottage, before I move on. Anyway, there are so many architectural treasures with wonderful history and roots to this village and the lives that have contributed to that history available in gorgeous Southampton Village. I always notice for sale signs around town, as they are all too common these days, but as I was recently perusing the internet looking for a few images of a house I am researching, I was surprised at how many more there were for sale than I realized. Not just any houses, but historic homes of all price ranges.

Here is a small taste of what’s currently available (makes me nervous frankly, demolition always being a concern). And don’t pay too much attention to the listing price; a very historic house on South Main Street recently sold for significantly less than half of its asking price. The realtors always seem wary of lowering the actual list price, but what the owners will accept often seems a completely different story.

This is 82 Prospect Street, listed for $535,000 with three bedrooms and three bathrooms! In 1902 it belonged to James M. Jagger, a carpenter. ID#24837.

This is 436 Hill Street, on the southeast corner of Halsey Neck Lane. A perfect location in the village, walking distance to the Main Street shopping area and biking distance to Cooper’s Beach. These days when most of the homes with gambrel roofs are bad McMansions, this is perfectly refreshing. It even has two adorable accessory structures, one for guests and another as a quiet parental refuge. The shutters have quaint horse head cut-outs. Built circa 1920 for Raymond Augustus Halsey, a veterinarian.

This is 77 Elm Street, which I wrote about on February 10, 2011. Built in 1893 for Frederick H. Thompson, it is an architectural landmark (not literally, figuratively) in this village, and is listed for 3.95 million. See ID#18853.

This is a house located within the exclusive and unique “Art Village” just outside of the Southampton Village boundary lines. It was designed in 1911 by Charles Ewing as one of William Merrit Chase’s artist compound houses. It is listed for 6.5 million. See ID#25668.

This is Balcastle, another house I’ve written about built circa 1910 by and for Joshua Edward Elliston, Jr. “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 the castle’s unfinished state. Some insist that there never were any plans for a school at all.”[1] It has been impeccably decorated and appointed by the current owner, architect and designer Bill Sofield. It is listed for 3.9 million. See HREO ID#18760.

And of course I couldn’t leave you without showing you something really off-the-charts price-wise. This is 408 First Neck Lane, on the west side of Lake Agawam, designed circa 1923 by Pohlemus & Coffin for Kenneth O’Brien who was not to be outdone by his father, Judge Morgan J. O’Brien, who lived in several fine village residences. It is listed for 39 million. See ID#23126.

There are plenty of speculators who say we have seen the bottom of this difficult economic climate, and boy do I hope they are right. But before the upturn begins, or the spring real estate frenzy, consider the privilege of owning and living in not only a piece of local history, but an architectural gem less than a mile from the best beach in America….and the fact that you can get one for a bargain!

[1] “Craftsman’s Legend Lives In Southampton Landmark,” by Mary Cummings, The Southampton Press, 11/22/84

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Applications: Village ARB Public Hearing, Feb. 14, 7pm

Patch just posted my review of new applications scheduled for the next Village ARB meeting on Valentine's Day. Here's the link:

The Home of Frederick Thompson, 77 Elm Street

This exquisite home on the northwest corner of our beautiful Elm Street and Post Crossing was built in 1893 for Frederick H. Thompson (b.1851) who purchased the property from Albert J. Post. It is so iconic with the character of Southampton it, in my opinion, sets the bar for period architecture in the community.

Albert Jessup Post (1832-1907) owned a lot of property in the Elm Street neighborhood as an heir of his father, Captain George Post, who “was a whaling captain who made many successful voyages, and was a man of sterling character, of extended information, and a very influential citizen…….In 1853 [Albert] was a teacher in the “North End School.” In 1858 he was elected Town Clerk, and held that office for four years. For forty-one years he was one of the Trustees of the town…….When the “New Southampton” was established in 1894, he was elected President of the village.”[1]

Frederick H. Thompson grew up in Hempstead and was the son of a prosperous farmer. He was a stair builder by profession along with his younger brother George (b. 1853). It’s amazing that this architectural gem was built by a stair builder. You would think it had been built for someone much higher on the social ladder, but perhaps this stair builder had generous and talented architect and builder friends. Just look at the detail on the chimney, and the ogee curve of the tower roof, and the unique porch railing design. The enormous carriage house, not shown, is also a beautiful structure in its own right.
The next owner, Henry Culver (1844-1920), was one of nine children by Merritt & Caroline Culver. He married Lydia Maria Tuthill (b.1847) in 1879 but they did not have children. He was a descendant of Edward Culver “of Dedham, Mass., a wheelwright, was the first of this family known to be in America. Henry was a Village trustee from 1909 to 1911 and was often remembered for his home on a street named after him, Culver Hill. That home eventually became the Agawam Hotel. He sold that to purchase #77 Elm Street in 1909. He was a farmer and his brother Charles, two years older, lived with him and worked on the farm.

The next owners, Alexander (b. 1897) & Helen (b. 1890) Coutts, were lodgers with Lydia Culver. Helen may have been hired as Henry’s private nurse. After Henry’s death, Alexander is listed as a golf club bookkeeper according to 1930 census information.

The property is currently for sale by the Estate of Peter & Louise McGuinn, listed at 3.9 million (see ID#18853). Dr. Peter McGuinn, the last owner, died in 2005. He was a well-known dentist, in practice with the late Dr. Charles Schreier, and Dr. Gary Manowitz. He was also very involved with the community: he was on the Southampton Hospital Board and Dental Staff, a President of the Southampton Rotary, and a founding member of the Southampton Golf Club. His wife Louise has also been very active with the community as a volunteer with Human Resources of the Hamptons (which helps those in need to fight hunger, illness and homelessness), her church, and the Village Beautification Committee among others.
Property Owners (present to past):
Estate of Peter W. & Louise J. McGuinn, 1977 – present
Thea & William W. Korte, 1945-1977
Jennie Lamb, 1930-1945
Alexander & Helen Coutts, 1920-1930
Henry Culver, 1907-1920
Frederick H. Thompson, 1893-1907
Albert J. Post, before 1893

[1]Celebration of the Two Hundred and Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the Founding of the Town of Southampton, N.Y., June 12, 1915

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Say Goodbye to the Blacksmith's House in Watermill

One of the things I love about writing for Patch is that I can broaden my focus beyond this beautiful village. Yesterday Patch posted this article, about the demolition of a historic house on Halsey Lane, right in the heart of the triangular common in Water Mill. It wasn't the most beautiful architectural creation on the east end, but it sure was a surviving piece of that hamlet's history. Not anymore. See the article here:

Monday, February 7, 2011

10. Did You Know..........................

Did you know there used to be a house in the middle of Bowden Square? The image above is a detail of the 1902 map showing this little bit of land fully developed.
Who were the occupants of this home? I would love to know but my research proved quasi-fruitless. The names associated with the property on all the available historic maps are Mrs. Sayre (1873), M. C. Hallock (1894), Richard A. Dawson (1902), and Ralph A. Dawson (1916). The Dawsons were from England arriving in the U.S. in 1878. Ralph Dawson was the proprietor of a Hay, Feed & Grain Store (see image of store and home below) which he built circa 1900. “In 1903, he also branched out as a manufacturer of carbonated beverages and has equipped his plant with the latest improved apparatus for the manufacture and bottling of soda, ginger ale, sarsaparilla and the various kinds of mineral waters……Mr. Dawson has been a resident of Southampton for the past 20 years and is one of the best known and reputable business men today in the village…..Since buying the property, he has remodeled the house, built the warehouse and made a lot of improvements to a third building in the rear, so arranging it that his stable is in the basement.”[1] In 1910 Ralph was married to Marion who was 28 years his junior and had 4 children. In 1920 he was married to Celia who was 35 years his junior. Good grief Ralph!
Bowden Square got its name from the Bowden family of course. In 1817 George Stephen Bowden (1792-1843) “came here from England after a tempestuous voyage of one hundred and ten days duration.”[2] He first married Hannah Jagger, with whom he had two children, Edward and Lewis, the former of whom moved to Brooklyn. Lewis, a real estate, insurance agent and notary public – who specialized in renting cottages - married Helen Davidson of Ann Arbor, Michigan. They had two children, daughter Harriet and son Livingston. George Bowden married his second wife, Hannah Ruland in 1830. Livingston E. Bowden was the superintendant, general manager, and treasurer of the Southampton Ice Co., and a wealthy one at that. He married Myra Terry, 35 years his junior. “Mr. Bowden is a director of the new First National Bank and has always been classed among the most active and progressive men of the village.”[3] Myra was Cicero Terry’s grand-daughter, and L. Emory Terry’s daughter, both of whom lived on or near Bowden Square. In 1875, when Livingston was a young boy, he was written about in The South Side Signal for having swallowed a balloon at a Riverhead Fair without consequence.

By 1926, the triangle spit of land and any trace of structures were gone. The little triangle green is now there again, but void of structures.

[1] Seaside Times, 1913
[2] Early History of Southampton, L. I., George Rogers Howell, 1887
[3] Seaside Times, 1913

Thursday, February 3, 2011

19 Halsey Neck Lane

Believe it or not, the photo above is of the FRONT of a house. I have been so curious about this house and am finally getting around to commenting on it. It is located near the top of Halsey Neck Lane, across from the infamous Claverack, and adjacent to an Italianate sort of house that is for sale to its north. A friend of mine said she even used to live in it (rental) which just refreshed my curiosity.

As one drives by, you can’t help but notice the blank brick wall that faces the passerby, sandwiched between the large shingle-clad homes which predominantly line this estate district avenue. Believe it or not, in this case, I actually don’t mind that the parking is in front. This house doesn’t have a face as its east and west walls are solid brick walls that “bookend” the body of the house. The west wall creates a sort of courtyard for the parking of a car or two. Then again, the entrance to the owner and anyone else for that matter, could be more celebrated not to mention made more obvious. One feels as if they have to sort of tip-toe around before the location of the main entrance becomes clear.

I always imagined that these solid brick east and west end walls would give way to large expanses of glass facing the south side and some sort of glass and other ‘lighter’ material combination on the north side. I imagined that this rectangular volume would be laid out like a Chelsea loft, with the open public spaces along the glass, and the private spaces aligned with the solid walls. I was right, pretty much, except that the south wall does not have nearly as much glass as I expected.

I think the house was built circa 1958 by Eugene Murray and doesn’t seem to have been significantly updated since then. While it looks like a one-story house, it also has a basement that must be finished to some degree and is therefore larger than it seems. Also, while the lot is narrow, it has a nice patio on the south side, and a nice yard area in the back (east). It does not have a shed, a pool house, or a garage, and benefits nicely from its simplicity.

I do not yet know if Eugene is related to the Wickapogue Murray clan. There sure are a lot of them though!

Property Owner History (incomplete):
Gaspar & Marta Azakats, 1973-present
Eugene Murray, 1958-1973
Raymond E. Howell & Helen D. Lindsay, before 1938-1958

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Home of Henry A. Fordham, 56 First Neck Lane

[This is revised from being originally posted January 31st. I did some extra fact checking and have included many footnotes as a result, but it’s not much different. SS]

This lovely home was built prior to 1873 for Henry Augustus Fordham (1836-1901). It was enlarged in 1875[1] and has been modified and expanded over the years since. Small details that are no longer present include a railing over the front porch and shutters on the gable end windows. It was also described in the 70s as being of the Italianate style, but that’s not apparent to me.

Henry A. Fordham was a descendant of Rev. Robert Fordham, the second pastor of The First Presbyterian Church of Southampton who was from England and arrived in Southampton in 1648.[2] Henry was one of seven children by Daniel and Mary Fordham. Henry was very active in the Town and the Village and a member of the Democratic party. He was the secretary of the Southampton Village Improvement Association (while Dr. T.Gaillard Thomas was president), he was Secretary of the Southampton Literary Society before being elected president in 1895, and he acted as Southampton Justice of the Peace from 1892 to 1898. He married Harriet Howell Post (b. 1840) in 1860. They had daughter Helen Howell in 1866, and then Henry Post when Harriet was 41 in 1881. Harriet became ill and homebound for nearly seven years before passing away in 1888.[3] Henry then married Caroline A. Bishop (b. 1840) in 1889. In mid-September 1901, Henry and his wife were thrown out of their carriage when their horse was frightened by an automobile. “Both Mr. Fordham and wife were picked up unconscious, bleeding from cuts and bruises.”[4] Two weeks later Henry died and was buried in the Southampton Cemetery. Caroline went on to live until 1926.

During the Fordham’s ownership the house was often rented for the summer season as was and still is a common occurrence.
In 1973 the property was acquired by Fanne Wade Hearst (1916-1986) who was “a model in New York and Paris for various fashion houses.”[5] She was the third wife of John Hearst, the third son of the publishing magnate William R. Hearst. They married in 1938 and had four children together. He died “as a result of an asthmatic condition from which he suffered for 25 years”[6] in the Virgin Islands in 1958. She owned #56 First Neck Lane for 14 years until her death, dying here in Southampton. She gave the home its surviving name today, “Sitting Pretty.”

The current owners are Gary C. Udell and Cheryl L. Sterling. Ms. Sterling is or was recently the President of the Ralph Lauren Womenswear Collection.[7]

Property Owners (present to past):
Cheryl L. Sterling & Gary C. Udell, 1987-present
Fanne Wade Hearst Estate, 1973-1987
George A. McFadden, 1966-1973
Justus Eugene & Ruth V. Requa, 1920-1966
Henry P. & Charlotte P. Fordham
Henry A. Fordham

[1] South Side Signal, Dec. 4, 1875
[2] The Early History of Southampton, L.I., New York with Genealogies, George Rogers Howell, 1887
[3] Sag Harbor Express, Jan. 26, 1888
[4] Suffolk County News, Sept. 13, 1901
[5] New York Times, September 20, 1986
[6] New York Times, November 14, 1958