Thursday, February 10, 2011

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

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