Saturday, March 2, 2013

43 North Sea Road - Tate's Bake Shop


Nestled in a tiny little building as one approaches the heart of Southampton Village’s great shopping area is the wonderful, and nationally known, Tate’s Bake Shop. It took me awhile, but eventually as I stood in line one morning to buy a cup of coffee and gazed at all the baked goodies, I stopped and wondered, “What’s the history behind this place?”

My research suggests that the structure was built on this site around the turn of the 20th century but it sure could be older, maybe even moved to this site. It’s strong corner pilasters and windows along the eaves alude to the Greek Revival period, popular locally 1840-1880.

Before 1889, the property was owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Adams (b.1843). She was an African American woman, and a widow to William Adams who had been employed as a farm hand. Elizabeth lived on the property and earned income as a laundress operating out of a seperate building there, which may have been the long rectangular little building along the southern property line which still exists.

In 1889 Elizabeth Adams sold the property to Harriet A. Anderson, another African American woman. “Hattie” and Elizabeth were related, both to each other and cousins of Pyrrhus Concer (1814-1897), the now well-known freed local slave that made a name for himself as a whaler and taking people on boat rides on Lake Agawam (see Mary Cumming’s lovely article about him on Patch here: http://southampton.patch.com/articles/pyrrhus-concer-was-born-a-slave-but-made-history). The property soon after passed to Henry B. and Mosalena “Lena” Anderson (of Poughkeepsie, NY) and was even owned briefly by the second Polish family to arrive in Southampton Village, that of Joseph and Julia Buttanowicz.

From 1912-1918 William L. and Bertha V. (Fanning) Donnelly owned the property – he was a builder. From 1918-1920 it was owned by Francis A. and Jeanette A. Hamilton – he worked for the telephone company.

For the next fifty-one years 43 North Sea Road was owned by the Napiorski family, specifically Helen, Chester and Alice. Chester too was a builder. I think Chester Jr. may have been the principal of the Tuckahoe school district in the 1940s. Another Napiorski, Clement, was a local police officer.

In 1971 the property was purchased by Michael Capo and Michael Louis who ran an antique business, and in 1983 Kathleen N. King bought it. Kathleen is a daughter of Richard “Tate” King, of the locally beloved North Sea farming family. He participated in a local history interview along with four other farming fellows this winter put together by the Southampton Historical Museum and Rogers Memorial Library. It was wonderfully informative and entertaining and taught listeners that his nickname “Tate” came from being referred to growing-up as “little tater” or little potato after his small size and the crops they grew. The interview was video-taped also, and I believe those are available to the public.

That day when, instead of focussing on Kathleen King’s extraordinary array of baked goods, my curiosity took over wondering about the property, I asked one of the regular employees if she new the original use of the building and she thought it had been a restaurant. I found no evidence of that, but if anyone knows differently, please let me know!