Thursday, February 9, 2012

Look-Alikes #2

Layton Avenue, a street laid-out circa 1885 which runs in the east-west direction between North Main Street and Elm Street, contains at least two sets of twins or look-alikes, and one set of them are numbered 83 (pictured just below) and 95 (pictured further below) respectively, located on the north side of the road. 83 is on the northeast corner of Maple Street, and 95 is immediately east of 83.


Lots along Layton Avenue seem to have begun being developed in 1887 when a subdivison map called the "Eldridge Block" was filed. Built circa 1888, both 83 & 95 are in the Queen Anne Style and are two stories tall with primary front-facing gables and shallow side cross gables. They are practically twins and only differ in their detailing and roof slopes. Being among the oldest and most nicely detailed houses on the street, they add a lot of character to the neighborhood.

83, on the corner, has windows that are not symmetrically arranged and gable ends that are projected. It also has a second-story projection over its western bay window which may or may not be original.

95, one east of 83, has symmetrically arranged windows, different eave details which turn out at the ends, and has had part of its wrap-around porch enclosed.

Both of them have wrap-around porches but one has simple square columns and the other has a half-wall and shingled columns; both of them probably had turned columns originally. Also, they both have two-over-two double-hung windows and use a variety of shingle patterns to decorate their elevations, a very common Queen Anne detail.

An architect named Daniel T. Wells seems to have been the mastermind behind these houses. He lived at #83, and the builder of the homes, Harry Clancy, lived at #95; a convenient arrangement.

Daniel T. Wells (b. 1854) was from Southold and married Carrie B. Ginty in 1878. Together they had one daughter, Ruby, in 1886, but sadly Carrie died in 1890, not living long enough to enjoy her daughter, or her new Southampton home.


Henry "Harry" Clancy (1861-1942), the builder, was also a widow. He married his first wife in 1891 and they had one child, a son (Leland), who died as a young man serving our country during the first World War. He was delivering a message via motorcycle when a bridge he crossed was blown-up by the enemy, causing him to drown in the river below. Harry went on to marry again to a woman 22 years younger who eventually outlived him. She sold the house to a neighbor, Howard Uhll, in 1946, four years after Harry died.

At the time that Wells and Clancy had their homes built, the land across the street to the south was a farm. But slowly the farm owner (a Halsey) sold off pieces of the property until the southern side of Layton Avneue became fully lined with new houses, around 1915. In 1910 at least 8 of the heads of households were involved in the building trade, making Layton Avenue more like "builder's row."

Coincidentally, the current owners of #95, the Fanning family, are planning to add-on to and significantly renovate their house in the near future; the application is scheduled to be reviewed at the next Architectural Review Board meeting on Monday, February 13th. I wonder how much it will resemble #83 when it's finished? The additions are mainly to the rear, but what worries me are the plans to give the house a new foundation, new siding, roofing, windows, doors, electrical wiring, and plumbing. It sounds like a total reconstruction (and conversely not a restoration/rehabilitation), leaving little left of the original architecture, like we recently saw occur at #67 Layton. I certainly hope that will not be the case here, eliminating yet another historic resource from our lovely village. I hope at the very least, windows with two-over-two divided lights and the variety of shingle patterns will be maintained, continuing the house's Queen Anne style, and its relationship to its neighbor.

1 comment:

  1. The Fannings are not the current owners of the home but the home stood for more than architecture because it was a place where the whole neighborhood called home. The Fannings sold it to a builder who promised to restore the home and bring it back to its original place. The 89 year old Mrs. Fanning was thrilled to find someone that would embrace its history. Oh well, who knows what that builder is really going to do.

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