Wednesday, August 31, 2011

207 Meetinghouse Lane: Linderskold Residence

This house is on the northwest corner of Meetinghouse Lane and Lewis Street. It is currently used as apartments but was originally built circa 1900 as a residence for the Linderskold family, of Sweden. It is around the corner from the hospital, and some think it now houses some of its employees.
The house is a two-story Queen Anne style structure with some key embellishments dressing up its front facade: a bay window with a roof that leads perfectly to an elaborate second story double-hung window, and a lovely triangular dormer. I imagine it used to have patterned shingles and a larger front porch at some point. It is a lot larger than the scale of its street front leads you to believe, just take a look at the other photos describing its impressive size and other characteristic Queen Anne detailing.
Mary Louise Linderskold (b.1858) and her husband Axel were masseuses from Sweden, immigrating to the Unites States in the 1870s. Axel was also a Lieutenant and a fencing instructor, and was even mentioned in William Steinway's diary in the late 1890s. In 1886 they had a daughter, Marta (1886-1956) who taught music before becoming a well known "social secretary," consistently involved in the coordination of charity events in New York City and the East End of Long Island. She would take reservations, act as treasurer, host musicians, and sell tickets. In a 1937 edition of Vogue, the Linderskold family was said to come "from Swedish nobility," and Miss Marta in particular as "a right hand to some of America's most famous hosts and hostesses." The Linderskolds primary residence was in Queens, but curiously, while Mary was always listed on census records as married, with Marta living with her, Axel is always absent.
In 1939 Marta lost the property in foreclosure, and in 1940 it was acquired by William B. Platt, Jr. (1906-1990). Mr. Platt lived his whole live in Southampton and was a lawyer, along with his father and brother and son. He was the Village Attorney from 1938-1961, he drafted the Village's first zoning codes in 1957, and also served as the director of the Southampton Hospital Association for 6 years. The home continues to be in the Platt family.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Don't Be Mean Irene!"

Hildreth's has said it best, "Don't be mean, Irene!" Southampton is doing its best to 'brace for impact' as hurricane Irene approaches. I am praying she 'peters out' and leaves us, our farms, our natural resources, and our wonderfully historic architecture alone. I took some photos of some of the shop-keepers' preparations while out and about this morning. People seem to be in good spirits and making the best of the situation. Stevenson's Toy Shop was mobbed! Hurricane toys (and glow sticks!) for all! Stay safe everyone!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Little More Info About #179 Hampton Road

After a bit more digging I discovered the following:
The house was built in 1915 for Michael & Beda Komm, German immigrants involved with the private gardening business.
When it was acquired by the Komms in 1914 from Willis Van Brunt & John Goodale, Wooley Street was called Willis Street (after Mr. Van Brunt), and the deed included a restriction that the property can never have anything to do with alcohol/liquor.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Before & After #5: 179 Hampton Road

This is only the fifth time I have done a “Before and After” and most of the time I haven’t really been a fan of the outcome. But this time I am showing you an example of a ‘Before & After’ that, in my opinion has had a positive outcome. Not perfect, but positive nonetheless.

Located on the northeast corner of Wooley Street and Hampton Road, this eclectic Colonial style home was built circa 1910 and is a two story three bay home with symmetrical composition and center entry. The windows on the front are almost exactly as they used to be, except that the double hung windows used to have a 9 over 1 divided light pattern (which I found charming) and they now have a 6 over 1 pattern. I am so glad the new owners chose to keep the arched 3rd story dormer windows and main entry porch with elliptical arch supported by paired slender columns (even though the sidelights to the

entry door were replaced with wood panels) as I find both very attractive and essential to the street fa├žade’s appearance. However, the center window on the 2nd story, both on the front and back, was made shorter. I understand the desire to raise its sill above levels of predictable snow accumulation, but wish they could have remained a little longer so as to remain more proportionally in-line with the windows on either side and not to draw attention to themselves. I also wish the arched windows on the side elevations hadn’t been removed and replaced with ordinary double-hung windows.

There were four coniferous trees in the front yard that were removed, which is a shame but sometimes necessary due to the dangerous proximity of the trees’ roots to the house’s foundation, and sometimes due to the poor health of the trees. And I find it the choice of the color for the asphalt roofing curious; now it coordinates well with the natural color of the shingle siding. Do they plan to stain the shingles? If not, they will weather to a brown or grey, depending on how they are treated, whereas the asphalt
roofing will stay tan.

Overall the property has had a nice “sprucing-up” and has added some commodities that are desirable to home-buyers today, such as a pool, an outdoor deck, replacing the garage with a pool house, and the maximization of a third floor. It’s unfortunate that some of the charm of the former detailing (original or not) was compromised along the way, but great that the property has a bright future, instead of looking a little abandoned, as it had previously.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

80 North Main: The Halsey Farm and Homestead

This lovely colonial house was originally built in the mid-1700s for the Halsey family and still survives today. While the house has been added onto over the years, and small details have changed via maintenance and repair work, its integrity and purity of form are intact and it continues to be a vital contributing historic resource in Southampton Village.

The two story Colonial style house sits on the east side of North Main Street but its main entry door faces south, a common trend in Colonial days. It has a center hallway and symmetrical interior chimneys. Its pedimented entry trimwork and corner boards are likely 20th century modifications. Its rear wing is an early addition and was enlarged more recently. There is an accessory garage which seems contemporary, but there was a large barn associated with the property which I believe still exists but has been converted to a residence and belongs to an adjacent owner to the rear.

While the property is thought to have been originally developed in the 1700s, I was only able to trace the chain of title to Caleb & Maria R. Halsey and so I will start there. Caleb (1794-1881) was a direct descendant of Thomas Halsey, (1592-1678) one of the first European settlers to arrive in Southampton circa 1640. The Halsey family “was of high social position” in England. Caleb’s family were farmers and they tended their land, which years ago encompassed much more area, stretching north to Layton Avenue and east to Hildreth Street, until 1950 when Carrie L. Wilde acquired the property from the Halsey heirs outright. Sometime before then it was split in half, with the eastern portion along Hildreth Street owned by a Real Estate company, and acquired by Ms. Wilde in 1947.

Carrie L. Wilde was the wife of Anthony Wilde. Anthony was partners with Arthur Havens in a joint real estate company named Havens & Wilde. The Havens were notorious real estate brokers and land owners in Southampton Village history. So you see the story coming together here. While Charles Selden Halsey inherited the farm from his father, and left the property to his heirs, Carrie L. Wilde was somehow able to step into the inheritance. But the Halsey heirs and Ms. Wilde co-owned the property for 38 years before she owned it outright, and then she passed it to her heirs who owned it for the next 28 years. So you have to imagine that both the Halseys and the Wilde’s were quite smitten with their property, as I would have been too. But it does leave room for questions.

The current owner is Henry Koehler, the renown American equestrian painter. I had the privilege of meeting him earlier this year and touring his house. He is a charismatic gentleman and I would have enjoyed spending the whole day with him, so easy to talk to, so charming, and filled with stories about his experiences and collections. He is also very proud of the heritage of his home which will hopefully be passed to his children one day, assuring its careful survival for many more years.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Changing View Over Halsey Neck Pond

This is a photo I took today from Coopers Beach. Gloomy weather leads to gloomy photos, but that's the mood generated by two enormous homes looming over Halsey Neck Pond. First there was the facsimile of "Tenacre" (on the right) which must now be nearing completion, and
now there is the amazing height of the new house rising on Meadowmere Place (on the left). Whether these houses are aesthetically appealing or not, gone are the days houses were proportional to their lot sizes, or nestled quaintly into their settings. Its sad.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

12. Did You Know...............

I was recently perusing the book South Fork Place Names by Sag Harbor native William P. Mulvihill which is filled with interesting historic morsels about how some of the roads and areas in our Village, and other places on the South Fork of Long Island, have received their various names. Some of them you may know, others you may have assumed, but I’m sure, like me, you don’t know everything. Here are some excerpts and tidbits. (Historic post card images courtesy Eric Woodward.)

Agawam: “William Wallace Tooker’s research led him to believe that the Algonquin word means “low flat meadows that are frequently inundated.” [It] was once a marshy area called Job’s Swamp….Agawam was also thought to have meant “a place abounding with fish.”

Bowden Square: named after Livingston Bowden, who lived on the north side of the square, which you would already know if you were a regular reader of this blog.

Boyesen Road: named after H. H. Boyesen who lived on the northwest corner of Boyesen and Halsey Neck (house pictured above). And again, which you would already know if you were a regular reader of this blog. His house was demolished and has now been reproduced with additions and alterations.

Breese Lane: named after James L. Breese who had an enormous house built on what is now Hill Street but near Breese lane and pictured above. The house is now known as Whitefields but was historically known as “The Orchard” and was designed by Stamford White of McKim Mead & White. At one point, before becoming condominiums it was a school for boys.

Halsey Neck Lane: “Named after David Halsey (1663-1731)…” Again, if you were a regular reader of this blog you would know David Halsey built the lovely home on the northeast corner of Moses Lane and Hill Street that was featured in this year’s house tour coordinated by the Southampton Historical Museum. It’s one of my favorites.

Job’s Lane: “An original 1640 Southampton settler, Job Sayre owned land in the vicinity of the Parrish Art Museum. A path here, created by cows, became known as Job’s Lane.”

Meetinghouse Lane: “Southampton’s early settlers built in 1641 a meeting house on the land now occupied by the Southampton Hospital. The meeting house was used as a place of worship, for town meetings and as a court house. When a new church was built, the town gave the building to Richard Mills, “to keep an ordinary tavern for diet and lodging.”

Moses Lane: “Off Hill Stree in Southampton. Named for Moses Culver. The family name is mentioned as early as 1698 in a deed from Isaac Halsey to Gersham Culver….”

Thursday, August 4, 2011

462 First Neck Lane, "Blue Haven"

Have you ever heard about, or noticed, “the house with the blue roof” in Southampton Village? Well it exists, on lower First Neck Lane, and it’s really not so far-fetched. It could have been fuscia afterall.

The house’s name, at least for the past 50 or so years, has been “Blue Haven.” “Blue Haven…was …a fixture on the Southampton social scene in the 50s and 60s, when Lisette and Frank Hunter (1981) painted it blue inside and out and turned [a] basement room …. into a miniature El Morocco.”[1] Mr. Hunter won the Wimbledon tennis championship in doubles (with Bill Tilden) in 1927, “owned a string of newspapers, and was president of 21 Brands for 35 years before he retired in 1962.” At one point even the driveway was blue, “which [Frank] admitted was somewhat gaudy but which he rather liked.”[2]

So the owner of a well-known liquor supplier, like today’s Constellation Brands or bigger, had a facsimile of a well-known night club in his basement and liked to adorn his property with the color blue. Interesting. I have heard of other basement nightclubs in Southampton Village, but none recently. And of course our village always has its share of eccentrics; not a bad thing.

But this property’s history goes much further back and is quite historic. It was originally developed in the late 1800s by the Betts brothers who were among the first to build summer cottages here. I believe “Blue Haven” to be a renovated version of the original home on the property (see 1902 map detail shown below) based on historic maps and aerial imagery, and because the house has similar features to all the other [six] homes they built in Southampton Village, numbers 2 (Golden Rod) and 8 (Sandymount) Gin Lane among them.

Frederic Henry Betts and his brother Charles Wyllys Betts were born in Newburgh, New York to Judge Frederic J. Betts and his wife Mary. They both became lawyers, Frederic becoming particularly successful as a well-know patent expert, and worked together in the same firm for many years. C. Wyllys passed away at the young age of 32. He was unmarried, and gave away his significant holdings of art, furniture, and land to his various relatives. It is his significant collections that is rumored to be the reason they built so many houses, to 'house' it all.

As you can see by the photos, the house is large, but low and sprawling, giving it a nice proportion and scale to its accommodating lot size. I believe, not too long ago, when its most recent renovation was before this village’s Architectural Review Board, the proposed blue tile roof was somewhat controversial. But it must have been convincing for there it is today. The blue driveway though? Gone. Now that must have been something.

[1] The New York Times, August 18, 1987
[2] The New York Times, September 18, 1981