Thursday, April 28, 2011

39 Lewis Street: The Home of William Bishop

There are so many lovely homes on Lewis Street, a street with a lovely scale and character, more or less still intact. I think the symmetrical shed dormers must have been added at some point as they seem to interfere with the symmetrical hipped dormers on either side of the front facing gambrel. Oh well. I especially love the enclosed porch and that this gambrel-roofed house has so much more character and originality than all of the gambrel roofed monstrosities out there built as speculative homes.

This home was one of the first to be built on Lewis Street which opened sometime circa 1898. It was built for William Post Bishop (1874-1930). William was born in Westhampton to Mary J. Post and C. Watson Bishop. He was a Presbyterian and a book-keeper. Prior to relocating to Southampton Village in 1898, boarding initially somewhere on Main Street, he would often help manage E. H. Bishop’s store in Westhampton. In 1901 he married Harriet Mallory at her parent’s home in Deposit, New York and they had three children together: George M., Elizabeth, and Emily. Harriet had been a teacher at Southampton High School.

In 1910 William was considered for the position of village post master but lost to Edward P. White. He served as a juror for the county on more than one occasion. In 1906 he was a juror in the Hincksman murder trial. Otis Hincksman was ultimately convicted of killing his father on Thanksgiving Day by firing bicycle ball bearings out of a gun. Apparently there was a dispute over who owned the Hincksman home.

The property has remained in the Bishop family to this day. I just love when that is the case.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Preservation Briefs and Historic Structure Reports

As the Canoe Place Inn restoration/renovation slowly works its way through the permitting process (initial PDD review was April 8th) it occurred to me that part of that process will (or at least should) include the completion of a Historic Structure Report for the building. Yahoo! Those are terrific resources. Read about them on Patch here:

Postcard Image Courtesy Eric Woodward.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Preservation Analogy

A friend of mine, and fellow preservationist, was recently rhumenating in response to the disappointing public hearing that occurred in Town Hall regarding amending the current landmarks legislation. With their permission, I am delighted to share.

Some time ago, I read a book called "The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Art Treasures Under the Nazis," and sometime after that viewed the documentary by the same name. Details can be skipped. Suffice it to say that war is hard on cultural assets.

While in the car [recently] driving along Montauk Highway in Water Mill, I remembered the book, and an analogy of sorts came to mind. The thought was that if there were a team of arsonists loose in Southampton-regularly targeting the Town's heritage-one and all would be very upset and share in the communal loss. There would be outrage. Something would have to be done, and right away, to ensure that nothing else burned to the ground.

Forget for a moment the arsonists' obvious criminality. Consider only that an army of bulldozers (enabled by what amount to over-the-counter demolition permits) are achieving the exact same 'to-the-ground' result. Strangely, though, only a few 'hysterical' (i.e. historic preservation) types bother to notice and then struggle to convey that something is terribly wrong in the land. For their effort, however, these sentimentalists are basically told that despite the same loss outcome-and while the actions of the first are very bad-those of the second are good, right, just, proper, and legal, as well as progressive for the economy and the general cause of preserving individual liberty in the face of an oppressive bureaucratic environment.

I couldn't have put it better myself. The images at the top of this post will be the next historic structures to go: the original accessory buildings on the Villa Maria site, built in 1887.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Say Goodbye to the Villa Maria Accessory Structures

Vincent Camuto, who also owns our village's very own Wooldon Manor, or what's left of it, wants to tear down the original 1887 Red Gables accessory structures on the Villa Maria site. And here I thought he was a lover of historic structures. Read about it on Patch here: Maybe I should start a countdown list of remaining historic structures.......

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Preservation Basics

I’ve been very tardy in perusing the blogs I follow. I have been working like a dog without much time for anything else, barely meeting deadlines moments before things are due. But finally life has calmed down a bit and I am starting to catch up.

Preservation in Pink has recently posted the seventh in a good series of blogs that are a must read for anyone acquainting themselves with the field of preservation ( This 7th blog also lists links to the previous 7 (6, plus intro). I highly recommend it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lining Agawam Park with Cherry Trees

Did you hear the recent proposal by the Southampton Garden Club? They wanted to donate cherry trees and have them planted in Agawam Park. But the proposal wasn’t to plant them randomly, but rather to line the inside of the low-hedged oval-shaped clear grassy area. It sure is a well-intentioned and generous offer, but it hasn’t received much positive response. Ouch.

First reactions were that the proposed organization of the trees is too fancy/formal. And now it seems that the Village’s Commission on Veterans Patriotic Events is “adamantly opposed” but for unknown reasons.

While I agree that the originally proposed layout is a bad idea for a variety of reasons (blocked views, too formal, reduces the open green area, etc.) cherry trees in general are lovely. I planted one in my yard a little more than 8 years ago and it blooms on or around my daughter’s birthday every year. But ours is a weeping cherry. And I’ve never been bothered by all the blossom droppings. Good grief. Why must everything be so manicured?

The Mayor is positive that some sort of compromise will be reached. That’s nice, but it seems more to me like the whole idea is going to fade away.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Southampton Town Landmarks Codes

The important public hearing regarding amendments to the Town Landmarks codes occurred last Tuesday. I wrote a difficult but positive recap of it for Patch which you can find here: I'd love to expand upon it one of these days...............

Photo above is an historic water tower on the Nash property in Water Mill, where Tim Maran also owns an historic carriage or caretaker's cottage.

By the way, I know I haven't been blogging about my lovely village lately; life has been hectic......don't worry, I have loads to write about and will catch up soon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Historic Preservation in Southampton Town

Wouldn't it be great if our Town had the same degree of [supposed] protection of historic architecture as our Village does? Tomorrow there will be a public hearing regarding this very subject in Town Hall at 1pm in which I am very involved. Read about it on Patch here:

FYI: The image above is a glorious house in Eastport that could be torn down without any hiccups whatsoever.

And don't forget there's a Village ARB meeting tonight at 7pm. Stay tuned for my recap on Thursday.

Friday, April 8, 2011

New ARB Applications for April 11, 2011

As usual, you can read about the new ARB applications on Patch here: There are only five and nothing super sensitive in my opinion, but the agenda is still long because of the 17 new applications two weeks ago.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

58 Layton Avenue: John J. Mansberger

While was watching the permitted “restoration” of the house across the street at #67 (I use quotes because only a small fraction of original materials exist …something I will surely be writing about once it’s completed) I became smitten with this adorable cottage and just recently looked into its history. I especially love its eyebrow window. Aren’t original eyebrow windows so much nicer with their real ogee geometry than the those built nowadays?

This house was built upon property that was once, like so many others, a large swath of Halsey farmland. This Halsey was Charles S. In September of 1908 though, he sold part of his property to John Mansberger who built he and his family an adorable home circa 1909 which seems unchanged to a large degree.

John J. Mansberger (b. 1869) immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1884. He met and married his German born wife, Wilhemina, who immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1888, in 1904 the U.S. They had daughter Elizabeth in 1905, who eventually became a public school teacher, and son Walter in 1912. John was a house carpenter.

Son Walter got the house next, followed by daughter Elizabeth, who married Harold J. Korte Jr. The property stayed in the family until 1968, a total of almost 60 years. So nice.

Property Owners (present to past):

Robert M. Horton, 1996-present

Sharon Lee Moore, 1980-1996

Dr. Gilbert & Mary K. Baumslag, 19?-1980

Mildred Banner, 1968-19?

Harold J. & Elizabeth M. Korte Jr., 1951-1968

Walter Mansberger, 19?-1951

John Mansberger, 1908-19?

Charles S. Halsey

Monday, April 4, 2011

Preservation Heroes

Once in awhile, especially when it seems I am too often bombarded by bad news on the preservation front, I will peruse the internet for some good news in order to become re-inspired, refreshed, re-invigorated, and re-committed to this endeavor locally.

Thankfully one of my favorite blogs, Preservation Nation, easily satisfied this need, providing me with a whole host of inspiration via a series they have highlighting individuals and organizations they deem as their own “preservation heroes” each year. If you’ve got a few minutes, read about their latest 2010 winner, Tony Goldman, of New York City revitalization fame:

And here are more of Preservation Nation’s Preservation Heroes:

These people truly inspire me!

Interesting Adjacencies

I have always thought it would be interesting to have brief walking tours from time to time but which focus on the interesting dialog that comes up when drastically different architectural styles are next to one another rather than about a structure's history. Read something along those lines on Patch here:

Friday, April 1, 2011