In December 1959, the East Hampton Town Building Department issued a building permit to James Brooks, the Abstract Expressionist Painter, for the construction of a “purpose built” art studio. Brooks had become a leading member of the Abstract Expressionist Movement with his good friend and Springs neighbor, Jackson Pollock. Designed by Brooks and constructed in the early 1960’s, this modern structure is a prime example of functional design.
The research provided by Helen A. Harrison of the Pollock-Krasner House Historic Site tells of a story that “begins in 1948 when artists James Brooks and Charlotte Park leased property on Fort Pond Bay in Montauk after visiting their friends Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner in East Hampton. Like many artists before and since, they were drawn to the luminous maritime light and unspoiled rural environment, which infused their abstract imagery with vitality.”
From a shingled cottage on this Montauk bluff it was a short walk to the rustic building on the shore that served as their studio. Pollock and Krasner were frequent visitors, as were other members of the growing artists’ community. Sadly, on August 31, 1954, the property was severely damaged by Hurricane Carol, which destroyed the studio building and some of their paintings as well.
Fortunately the cottage survived. With redevelopment in the area beginning in 1956, a permit was issued in March 1957 for its removal and relocation. Brooks and Park had purchased land on Neck Path in Springs, and they hired Kennelly House Movers, Inc., of Southampton to move the cottage. The building was trucked to a barge operated by Jeffrey Potter’s marine contracting firm, East Hampton Dredge and Dock, and floated across Napeague Bay to Springs, then trucked to 128 Neck Path, where it remains.
At the East Hampton Town Board meeting held on July 17, 2014, Resolution RES-2014-945 was unanimously adopted authorizing the Brooks-Park Historic Designation for the property. Ownership of the property purchased with Community Preservation Funds remains with the Town. The Town will complete all agreed upon renovations on the property during the proposed 18-month renovation period.
On May 8, 2017, the Town entered into a licensing agreement with Peconic Historic Preservation for the Brooks Studio and the home he shared with his wife, Charlotte Park, as well as Charlotte’s Studio which are all situated on Neck Path in Springs.
Upon completion of the proposed restoration of the buildings, Peconic Historic Preservation is now licensed to use the premises for artistic activities and programming to benefit the community.
Ellis Squires House
Ellis Squires House Hampton Bays, New York
Ellis Squires built his Federal style home in 1785, two years after the end of the American Revolutionary War. It is believed to be the oldest remaining dwelling in the hamlet of Hampton Bays. Now, over two hundred thirty two years later, on February 14, 2017 the Southampton Town Board adopted Resolution 2017-112 authorizing Supervisor Jay Schneiderman to execute a stewardship agreement with Peconic Historic Preservation, Inc., the “natural and logical steward of the premises” for the purposes of restoration and management of the property.
Ten years ago, on July 24, 2007, the Town of Southampton recognized the architectural, historic and cultural values and significance of the building and setting and designated it a town historic landmark with the adoption of Town Board Resolution 2007-1071 pursuant to Southampton Town Code 330-321 declaring the Ellis Squires House is an important historic resource and contributes to the Hampton Bay’s hamlet’s historic properties.
Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, Peconic Historic Preservation, Inc., agrees to preserve and maintain the exterior form, features and original interior details of the Ellis Squires House and will undertake the historic restoration of the building in strict accordance with the Secretary of the Interiors Standards for the Preservation of Historic Buildings.
The Ellis Squires House, located at 186 Newtown Road, is a two-story, gable roofed, shingle clad dwelling of the late 18th century period and is built in that classic Federal style. The building incorporates single story extensions to the north (rear) and east. This house is painted white with white trim and roof is currently covered with non-historic composition tab asphalt shingles. Its front façade faces south and is characterized by three window bays with a front door in the left hand bay that retains side lights and a pedimented entry embellishment with molded pilasters. The house is supported on its rubble stone foundation that is characteristic of its original construction period and retains a principal brick chimney that dates from the 19th century.
The massing of the main dwelling is roughly square in shape, measuring 22’-6” wide by 28’-6” deep, and the walls are covered with wood cedar shingles measuring their exposed facing at 6” long on the sides and 13” long on the front façade. It is entirely likely that the longer shingle type may be original and its associated nailing pattern is characteristic of the mid-to-late 18th century construction practice. The predominant window type is nine-over-six and the sashes are set within molded window casings that are typical of 18th century design. Several four-over-four windows also survive from this period. The larger, six-over-six sashes on the side walls are associated with a mid-19th century alteration.
The north (rear) extension and screened porch extending to the east are largely of 20th century construction, although the original 18th century kitchen, which retains hewn structural framing, is incorporated within a portion of the back extension. The exterior stucco wall treatment and multi-paned windows are typical of early 20th century Long Island “half-house” design and construction practice.
Our goal will be to preserve and maintain critical interior features of the house which include the front parlor mantelpiece, glazed cupboard, panel doors and trim; center room mantelpiece and chair rail; front hall stairway including treads and risers, newel posts, balusters and handrail; board-and-batten doors and hardware; wide board flooring; ceiling frame components including exposed beaded floor joists in the center room and back extension.
Our exterior restoration will include paint removal by hand techniques in order to establish a suitable base coat foundation for repainting; preparation, priming and repainting wood features and surfaces; installation of new roof covering using 18” wood Perfection red cedar shingles measuring a minimum of 6” exposure; replacement in kind of exterior wood shingle siding to match the original 30” Atlantic White Cedar shingles with a 13” exposure and Tremont galvanized cut nails consistent with the original nailing specifications.
Our project begins with the preparation of a Historic Structure Report and architectural drawings. The HSR provides documentary, graphic and physical information about the Ellis Squires House history and existing conditions. The report provides a thoughtfully considered argument for selecting the most appropriate approach to treatment prior to commencement of the restoration work, and outlines a scope of recommended work. The report records the findings of research and investigation, as well as the processes of physical work, for future researchers.
The Town of Southampton remains the fee title owner of the real property on which the Ellis Squires House is situated and acknowledges and supports Peconic Historic Preservation, Inc., in their efforts to raise funds for both the acquisition and preservation of the Premises and the restoration of the existing historic house and its original architectural details. The Ellis Squires House is set upon a 24,506 sq ft parcel that is adjacent to a 5.9286-acre natural site that is owned by the Town of Southampton Community Preservation Fund. The proximity of both parcels to the Squires Pond and important wetlands provide a setting for the preserved historic structure that will reflect exactly how Squires lived in the early days of the new nation, over 232 years ago.
On September 28, 2017, following a detailed review of our application, the State Review Board recommended to the Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, who is the New York State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), that the property be listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places. On November 9, 2017, we received word from Albany that the Ellis Squires House has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1740 Colonial Classic
1740 Colonial Classic Southampton, New York
Historians date this house to 1740 wot its period massive center-chimney design. It was originally built in Connecticut and, in the late nineteenth century, moved across Long Island Sound to Sag Harbor before reconstruction in Southampton on Little Plains Road just off Gin Lane and the Atlantic Ocean beachfront. We secured the funds necessary to deconstruct this important historic structure, preventing it from being demolished and lost lost forever. Now we are fundraising through the Peconic Historic Preservation General Fund to secure a new site to reconstruct this unique example of early American architecture.
The early domestic architecture of the American colonies, applying the criteria of truth as the fundamental principle of architecture, was unmistakably pure. Up to about the middle of the eighteenth century, when the central-chimney period drew to a close, “utility” had been the determining influence on the evolution of each stage of a house plan. The chimney had been the central feature. From its position behind the stairs, it not only dominated, but also actually governed the floor plan. This decisive factor then gave way to other influences: Economy and intimacy of room arrangement were replaced with spaciousness and formality; massive construction was replaced by elegance and refinement of detail. This house, then, possesses both utility and refinement of detail, as shown in the following images, which reflect the massive timber frame structure that is completely original and typical of the first building period in America and their refinements of the craftsmanship and architectural details.
Early houses were extremely simple, and their simplicity was the naturally the result of finding forthright solutions to design problems, which were intrinsically anything but complex. The glazed transom design above the front door was more the result of actual need than a deliberate attempt at ornamentation, as shown below. Giving it the character of an architrave, moldings were applied to the casing and glass transom lights were added above the door itself, but enclosed by the doorframe. Simple crown moldings were added above the architrave trim making this entire composition dignified and well proportioned, though of the utmost simplicity and completely original. Original pilasters are found at either side of the entrance.
The original barrel-back corner cupboard, shown above and in the following image, has a prominent position in the house because of its classically beautiful form. The corner cupboard is generally to be found in the “best room,” or parlor. Its position against the outside wall was well fixed and it is rarely found against the chimney wall. The corner cupboard is always to be found divided into two parts, an upper and a lower, by a shelf that is generally placed about thirty inches from the floor. This cupboard has handsomely paneled doors, which are flush with the rest of the woodwork.
The crown molding at the top of the corner cupboard is only one of two crown moldings to be found in the interior of the house. This is a vestige of tradition in the early Colonial homes, where the broad-ax hewn timbers straight from tree trunks remain the only characteristic of ornamentation. In the earliest homes, built before the advent of plastering, the exposed portions of the girts, posts and summers, which projected into the rooms beyond the thickness of the walls, were left perfectly bare. It was the massive timbers made typically from oak, as in this house, that provided the needed sense of security that was exposed as decoration. Oak was the material chosen by the early builders for the house frame because they knew from experience that, although it was extremely difficult to shape and handle, once it had been put in place it undeniably stayed put.
Prior to the advent of plastering, wainscoting was used to finish the interior walls of the earliest homes in America. Consisting of broad pine boards with beveled or molded edges, wainscoting extended from floor to ceiling and it is quite remarkable that these original paneled walls found in this historic house exist today as a testimony to this elegant example of early American architecture. The occurrence of even a single room, which is wainscoted throughout, is rare.
The original six-panel doors are constructed very simply, consisting of cross rails tenoned into the vertical stiles and enclosing bevel-edged panels. The door panels consist of two lower panels equal in size to the two middle panels with the door hardware positioned mid- way. The two smaller panels sit at the top of the door and are horizontal rectangles, nearly square, with those below being rectangular and longer.
Even after the use of plaster for the front rooms of the house had become the rule, wainscot was still used for finishing the walls of the rear rooms, especially the kitchen and the less important rooms of the second floor. The plaster walls carry on from the floor to ceiling wainscot requiring a baseboard to finish the plaster against the wide plank floors. It might be said that the original wainscot shrank to become the present baseboard.
A very unique and original architectural feature of this 1740 Colonial house are the raised panels integrated into the lower section of the window frame detail or just beneath the nine- over-six (9/6) sashes. These raised panels are further evidence of the house actually consisting of two early structures that were combined because the raised panels are integrated only into the interior three window frames in the front corner room of the main floor and the front window at the top of the stairs and adjacent two front window frames in the master bedroom. This interior woodwork is outstanding because these panels are one of the few examples of ornamentation in the house.
The original winding staircase was deconstructed completely assembled and remains intact. The staircase is found directly in front of the massive central chimney, a design detail that became the rule and established stair placement throughout the first building period. Stairs from that period also became standardized in dimensions and type. There appears to have been no fixed rule as to whether the stairs were made right- or left-handed (right-hand stairs are those which have the handrail on the right-hand side, so that the person ascending the stairs turns to the right; left-hand stairs reverse this arrangement).
The original balustrade exists intact and reveals the early form of turning and finishing the wood. Simple but elegant. The newel post at the bottom of the stairs is typical of the period. It is turned and finished with a molded cap that is formed by the mitered intersection of the handrail. There is no newel post at the top of the stairs, only the winding of the handrail to join the top horizontal section.
The wide plank flooring observed throughout appears to be original. It is indeed very old, but simply because floors received more actual wear than any other part of the house, often having to be replaced, it is difficult to say if all of the wide plank flooring is from the original house. A variety of hard pine succeeded oak as a flooring material and this material is of that native variety.
As we mentioned earlier, wainscot as a form of interior wall covering gave way to plaster, although the use of wood as a covering of the fireplace walls persisted until a later date. The paneling of fireplace walls from 1740 – 1750 onward is nearly always of great beauty and elegance and forms one of the most distinctive features of the house. The paneling, shown in the image below, above the mid-20th century fireplace, is original. The use of paneled woodwork on the fireplace wall did not persist after 1800. As reported in the Southampton Press story written by Michael Wright in 2006, the mason who reconstructed the chimney actually revealed his identity by signing the stone: W. Darby, dated his work January 11, 1944.
The niche in the master bedroom, shown in the following image, reflects the transitional period for the refinement of detail. Here we see the only other crown molding in interior of the house, the other being at the corner cupboard on the first floor. The moldings shown in this niche are fabricated by hand with a set of specially designed planes. Inasmuch as every builder had his own set of planes, the individual builder often employed moldings or combinations of moldings, which remained particular to their work and strongly flavored by his taste. The imperfections found in the niche molding reflect the handcrafting of the wood.
So join our effort to secure a new site to reconstruct this unique example of early American architecture. Your contribution to our General Fund will help make the reconstruction a reality.
Pyrrhus Concer Homestead
Pyrrhus Concer Homestead Southampton, New York
The structural frame and surviving architectural detailing of the Pyrrhus Concer Homestead, formerly located at 51 Pond Lane in Southampton, NY, has been carefully investigated, labeled, disassembled and removed from its building site and placed in temporary storage. The salvaged house frame appears to date from the early to mid-19th century, but was substantially enlarged and altered in the modern period. The concealed structural elements are of historical importance and link the house to the life of the noted African-American Southampton resident, Pyrrhus Concer. Identification and salvage of significant architectural fabric makes it possible to reconstruct and restore the Pyrrhus Concer Homestead as a landmark having local and potential national significance.
EXTERIOR PRE-DECONSTRUCTION DESCRIPTION
Prior to its disassembly and removal from the site, the house was a two-story, six-bay dwelling with a flat-pitched gable roof and small brick chimney centered on the peak of the roof. A long, shed-roofed porch supported on six Doric columns stretched the length of the front (east) façade, and was made accessible via a wooden staircase. Lean-to extensions from the back of the house (west) were of one story. Most of the exposed foundation, visible on the side (south) façade was constructed of concrete blocks cast to simulate real stone and were characteristic of early 20th century construction technology and design. Window sashes, doors, gutters and leaders, and architectural trim had been replaced or altered; the painted wood shingle siding, having a 5” weather (exposure) and concealed nailing, was also replaced in the modern period.
The massing of the house prior to disassembly, when it consisted of an elongated two-story rectangular block and one-story extensions to the back, provided little evidence of its historic origins and held little promise for discovery. Only the irregular spacing of the window sash on the front façade and the survival of eave boards and moldings on the north façade offered visible clues to the possible antiquity of the original structure.
INTERIOR PRE-DECONSTRUCTION DESCRIPTION
The interior of the house was altered and modernized with ceiling, wall and floor finishes, new doors and hardware, and trim. On the first floor, partitions were removed at the center of the house to create an “open floor plan” and the staircases leading to the second story and cellar were rebuilt. A fireplace with partially exposed brick and a polished stone hearth projected from the north wall of the central room. A cluster of small rooms at the south end of the plan retained 5-panel doors and hardware of a type associated with the early 20th century (consistent with the concrete block foundation visible beneath them and visible on the exterior). A large, modern kitchen occupied the central and north lean-to spaces projecting at the back. Only the small northeast corner room, which preserved two six-over-six windows on the front façade and a single window of the same configuration on the north, appeared to date from the 19th century. Its recessed wall panels beneath each window and molded casings were characteristic of the late Greek-Revival style, c. 1850. Closer investigation revealed a surviving door casing leading from the room into the central room, which also appeared to date from this historic period. Later removals revealed much of the lath-and-plaster system to be consistent with this period as well.
On the second story, the staircase led to an open landing set against the back wall, from which access could be made to bed chambers and bathrooms arranged along the front (east) wall. Doors and windows, hardware, ceiling and wall fabric all appeared to have been updated. Only one distinctive feature – wide pine floorboards – was partially exposed, suggesting historic construction. Another element proved more indicative of the massing of the original house and suggested that more of the structure survived within the wall frame. These were the “knee walls” at the front and back, which projected into the rooms about 2 feet above the floor, but no longer supported the roof frame which had been raised to a full second story. The “knee walls” proved to be a key architectural feature that survived from an earlier house of only one-and-one-half stories; a house that was more compact, and one that clearly pre-dated that which was later enlarged and altered.
On the basement level, the overhead tier of joists that supported the first floor was fully exposed, making visual assessment possible. Four distinct systems of structural framing were visible: one at the center of the house supporting the large middle room; a second underlying the northeast corner room; a third stretching across the back, and corresponding to the kitchen/lean-to; and a fourth supporting the south end of the main house and its associated west lean-to. Three of these systems appeared historic; the fourth at the south end was of later construction and appeared to date from a 20th century extension of the house. The relatively large sectional dimensions of the historic joists and sills and the parallel saw marks were indicative of their date(s) of fabrication, suggesting a date of construction spanning from the early to the mid-19th century. The center section, which preserved hewn wooden perimeter sills characteristic of even earlier workmanship, may date from the late 18thcentury. The northeast section and back lean-to areas were more similar in appearance with each other and indicative of later 19th century work.
A summary of the structural evidence on this level is that the center, north and back lean-to systems of floor joists and sills were historic and dated from the 19th century, and revealed an additive sequence of construction with the center being the first and enlarged first to the north and then to the back.
POST DECONSTRUCTION DESCRIPTION
With compelling structural evidence supporting the hypothesis that a historic house frame survived within the enlarged and altered house at 51 Pond Lane, careful deconstruction by hand was commenced. Features such as the surviving knee walls of the second story revealed not only the massing of a one-and-one-half story house, but also that its wall posts, studs and braces (front and back) were likely to survive as well. Similarly, despite the raised roof frame across the entire structure, the north end wall framing with its original pair of rafters was likely to remain embedded beneath later wall covering (exterior and interior). Wide pine floorboards were thought to survive beneath later flooring. And so on. Systematic disassembly of the house frame proved the hypothesis that much of the historic structure remained intact.
Despite the near total loss of interior architectural fabric such as doors and windows, baseboards and casings, mantelpieces and decorative trim, the Pyrrhus Concer Homestead survives as a structural frame preserving wall posts, studs, and braces as well as interior floor joists and a pair of rafters that will serve as prototypes for restoring the roof. Although wall and ceiling lath-and-plaster also survived in part, it obstructed the disassembly and preservation of the frame and after study and documentation, was removed. The brick chimney, which appeared to preserve some historic fabric, had been extensively altered and therefore removal after photo documentation was appropriate. The one-and-one-half story house, with corner posts rising above the second floor to create front and back knee walls, became the focus of the salvage work, which succeeded in identifying and removing a substantial amount of the original frame.
One of the most challenging aspects of the project is envisioning the appearance of the original house and its historic additions. In fact, preliminary investigation, salvage and analysis suggest that the earliest section of the frame – the portion that corresponded to the large middle room of the house – was probably not a house to begin with, but more likely an accessory structure, like a small barn. The primary structural evidence for this is its lack of a heating system (chimney); despite a relatively intact system of floor joists on both first and second story levels, no chimney appears to date from the original structure. This lack of a heating source – a defining feature fundamental to all domestic architecture – suggests that the building first served an alternative purpose and may have been an outbuilding within a village farm setting at first. The surviving brick chimney appears to have been built at a later time, after the earlier structure was enlarged and converted for use as a dwelling, in a period in which cast iron stoves were employed as supplementary heating sources.
With the addition of the rooms to the north, there is no question that the structure had became a dwelling as a result of this program, as evidenced by the decorative window treatments so characteristic of the Greek Revival style. It is likely that the chimney was constructed at this time as well, to furnish heat to a building converted for residential use. It is also probable that the back lean-to was built at this time as well, to provide space for another necessary domestic function – the kitchen. The floor joists that support the lean-to appear to date from the same period as those that support the north room, thus an expansion and conversion for residential use of the original accessory building at one time in the mid-19th century appears likely.
This “layering” or additive sequencing in the construction of the Pyrrhus Concer Homestead provides a fascinating glimpse into the way in which some domestic architecture evolved and adapted in 19th century eastern Long Island. In fact, the re-purposing or alteration of pre-existing structural frames was not uncommon in post-Colonial America;
One early example dating from the late 17th century survives in Easthampton in the form of a utilitarian warehouse that was recycled as an addition to a contemporary house. The inherent value of sawn building elements pre-assembled as a structure serving any purpose has been self-evident across the centuries, and their adaptive reuse was appropriate and not uncommon. The preservation and restoration of the Pyrrhus Concer Homestead is enhanced by an understanding of how its structural frame and finishes evolved to suit the owner’s and his family’s needs.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRESERVATION
The Pyrrhus Concer Homestead is an architectural resource of great historical significance to the Village of Southampton. Its association with a person of importance not only to village history, but also to that of the town, region and nation as a whole, provides ample context for its reconstruction and restoration elsewhere within the village. It is recommended that a site be chosen that provides the best possible opportunity for recreating both the house and the setting within which Pyrrhus Concer left a lasting imprint on the Village of Southampton; i.e., in the vicinity of Lake Agawam.
To provide lasting protection and recognition, it is recommended that the Pyrrhus Concer Homestead be granted landmark designation in accordance with village code. The relevant criteria that would justify and fulfill that designation are village criteria numbers one and two: “Special character or historic/aesthetic interest or value as part of cultural/political/economic or social history of the locality” and “Identified with a historic personage.” Landmark designation of the Pyrrhus Concer Homestead would signify a broad understanding of the important role that African-Americans have played in the development of the Village of Southampton.
Identification and salvage of significant architectural fabric makes it possible to reconstruct and restore the Pyrrhus Concer Homestead as a landmark having local and potential national significance.
Canoe Place Inn
Hampton Bays, New York
We consulted with Rechler Equity Partners, who acquired ownership of the seriously dilapidated historic structure, and the Planning Board for the Town of Southampton, New York to establish an appropriate scope of work for rehabilitating the historic Canoe Place Inn. The original Inn predated the Revolutionary War.
Amagansett Life Saving Station
Coast Guard Life Saving Station Amagansett, New York
When the Amagansett Station was constructed on Atlantic Avenue in 1902, it was one of a network of thirty life-saving stations on the south shore of Long Island. Through each night and in bad weather the men at these stations kept watch from the lookout tower and by foot patrol along the beach. Discovering a ship in distress, the life-savers would perform a rescue by launching their Beebe surfboat or by firing a line to the ship and taking people from the distressed vessel with a breeches buoy. From 1902 to 1937 the crew of the Amagansett Life-Saving Station, most of whom were experienced local fishermen and shore whalers, kept watch over this beach and rescued sailers and passengers from a number of shipwrecks. The Life-Saving Service and the Lighthouse Service were the two Federal programs intended to increase the safety of coastal navigation. These two services were later joined into the United States Coast Guard. The Amagansett Station complements the Montauk Point Lighthouse in recalling that era of our maritime history when ships sailing the ocean provided the principal means of transporting people and goods in coastal America.
Charles Ives Studio
American Academy of Arts & Letters New York City, New York
On Sunday afternoon, April 13th, 2014, at three o'clock at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Charles Ives Concert began in the auditorium at 632 West 156th Street in New York City. The concert was devoted to the music of Charles Ives, a unique 20th Century American composer, to celebrate the opening of the newly recreated Charles Ives Studio and an accompanying exhibition in the galleries of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The studio is a faithful reproduction of the room originally located on the ground floor of the Ives home in Redding, CT, where Charles Ives worked for the last forty years of his life. There, on the studio's modest upright piano, he composed and finished several of his major works, including Three Places in New England, The Fourth Symphony, The Second Orchestral Set, The Fourth Violin Sonata, and about forty songs.
Eighteen months earlier, Pi Halsey Gardiner, the executive director of the Old Merchant's House in New York City, suggested to Virginia Dajani, director of the American Academy, that Strada Baxter Design/Build was the right choice for a very special restoration assignment. The goal was to surgically remove, piece-by-piece, artifact-by-artifact, the original contents and materials comprising Charles Ives Studio in his Redding, CT, home and faithfully recreate it at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City. So began the working relationship that we so truly enjoyed as part of the team assembled by Virginia Dajani and Harry N. Cobb, founding partner with I.M. Pei of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, an international architectural firm based in New York City. Working with Harry was delightful, somewhat challenging but always focused on the seamless transition of Ives Studio exactly as Ives would recognize it today. The New York Times summed up or process as "Ives' Connecticut Studio is resurrected in New York, Inch by Inch."
James Vincent Czajka, project architect, Dick and I worked tirelessly to capture every detail of the existing studio, right down to Ives' pencil sharpener with its content of lead shavings from 1954. Ives lived in the modest house in Fairfield County from 1914 until his death in 1954. The accompany photograph depicts the collage of ideas, paperwork and newspaper clippings that Ives attached to the inside of the Studio door, where they remained until we packaged the doors by hand, crated them before driving them to the Academy where the exhibition curator would carefully restore the documents. Our work at the Redding Studio over the course of many months was at times hair-raising and, on one occasion, deeply saddening. One very cold Thursday evening, working with only incandescent lighting, Dick surprised by by playing Ives' Unanswered Question on his iPhone. You could feel Ives presence in the room. Then there was the horribly saddening experience on December 14, 2012. We drove to a nearby deli for lunch only to become glued to the television report of the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in the next town, Newtown, CT. The magical moments of working in Ives Studio ground to a halt as the noise of sirens and helicopters filled the air for the remainder of the day.
Deacon Thomas Cooper House Quogue, New York
While many surviving houses of the mid- to late 18thcentury in Southampton Town are more modest in scale, the Deacon Thomas Cooper Homestead was a full 2-story, 5-bay house with center door and flanking windows that equates to the largest house type of this period in the region. Although the Quogue Purchase had been negotiated between the Town proprietors and the Native American inhabitants in the 1650s, actual settlement of this westerly part of the town followed slowly. Dwellings of the 1730-50 period like the Cooper Homestead are therefore among the earliest in the community. Despite its relocation in the early 1900s and prior alterations and additions, the house preserved its architectural integrity and important association with the early families – the Coopers, Fosters, Herricks and Howells – who settled and developed Quogue village in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Cooper Homestead was renamed “Antiquity” c. 1917 by Mrs. Josiah P. Howell after relocation to Quantuck Lane from its original site on nearby Quogue Street. The history of the house is summarized in Quogue’s Heritage Road(2009), in which it is said that Deacon Thomas Cooper (1710-1782) built the house in the 1740s at the northeast corner of Quogue Street and Lamb Avenue. In 1834 the house and 100 acres north and south of Quogue Street were sold to John F. Foster, and by the late 1800s the house was acquired by Mrs. Josiah P. Howell, who built a large, 3-story addition and operated the facility as a boardinghouse known as the Foster House. After the Victorian-era wing was destroyed by fire, the original section was relocated to the site on Quantuck Lane.
The Jessup Homestead Quogue, New York
Like many surviving structures of the 18th and 19th centuries on Long Island, the Jessup Homestead, known affectionately as “the Weathervane,” located on Quogue Street in the Village of Quogue, evolved over many decades and preserves the evidence of construction practice and design features of several architectural periods. But with “the Weathervane” in particular, this metamorphosis appears to be unusually complex. In fact, it is difficult to trace the earliest period(s) of the house due to the structural deterioration or the recycling of early fabric into successive building campaigns.
12 East Union St
Sag Harbor, New York
Built in 1880 by C.F. Stillwell, who signed and dated the attic window, this Sag Harbor house was locally known as one of the Bulova Watch Case Factory residences. The noted 19th Century watchmaker opened a manufacturing operation just a few blocks away in a three story brick building in Sag Harbor, an historic village known for its whaling and maritime activities. The exterior clapboard siding was maintained where possible and matched precisely with new custom cedar where necessary.
The window sashes are all 2/2 except for the three original ground floor windows facing East Union Street which are 7’-6” 6/6 true divided lights consistent with the 8’-6” first floor ceiling height.
11 High Street
1860 Greek Revival House
Sag Harbor, New York
The first photograph of this historic house was taken just before it was moved in 1971. The house sits on its original foundation on Elizabeth Street near the corner of Division Street. The local school grounds were being expanded and it was in the best interest of the community to move the house.
Remarkably, it was not completely demolished.
The vertical line shown on this photograph is drawn through the middle of the house using a ballpoint pen with the hand written text indicating which part of the house was “to be moved” and which part was “to be torn down.”
The next photograph shows the journey along Route 114 to High Street in Sag Harbor. Note how the porch was removed. The house was sited on High Street without rebuilding the porch.
Others have suggested that a portico should be added to the present facade, but that temptation was resisted when no historic proof could be found in Sag Harbor Village records or upon close inspection of the original wood framing to prove that the porch was part of the original Greek Revival design. Added years after its original construction, the porch was inconsistent with Greek Revival design details.
This unique residence originally built on Elizabeth Street in 1860 in the true Greek Revival style with its recognizable pediment and gable end facing the street was reduced in size but not in character.
The paneled pilasters, or corner boards, are not as pronounced as those on the off-center entry with its last pilasters and entablature with side and transom lights. The front door, as well as other interior and exterior doors, is constructed with a five-panel design and not the typical four-panel design which was common in Sag Harbor at that time. All window sashes are elongated with six-over-six panes.
22 Windmill Lane
Southampton, New York
A building with a remarkable history, located in the historic district of Southampton Village sits vacant and misunderstood. Local historians are call it one of the best preserved 18th century interiors in Southampton.
Henry Rhodes built the house in 1760 on the corner of Main Street and Hampton Road for his family’s residence. One hundred sixty-five years after its completion the building was moved from that site to make room for the new Southampton Town Hall that opened to the public in 1926.
Ironically, there lies the connection between the Canoe Place Inn, destroyed by fire in 1922 in Hampton Bays, and the Southampton Town Hall opened in 1926: Both were designed by William Lawrence Bottomley.
The house that Bottomley moved from Hampton Road and North Main Street in the early 1920’s is presently situated at 22 Windmill Lane adjacent to Jobs Lane and Hill Street.
The original roof structure and central chimney design reveal the building’s 18th century heritage although one must, although one must look beyond the poorly constructed 20th century facade to recognize it. The false facade was added to the Colonial structure during the 1920’s after it had been moved to the Windmill Lane site.
Plans have been developed to restore and recreate the original Henry Rhodes residence with its paneled wainscoting, original corner cupboard and oak post and beam structure. However, Health Department obstacles have remained a challenge to any restoration effort.
Topping Rose Inn
Bridgehampton, New York
The house had experienced significant removals, alterations, and replacement of a back wing, which was designed for reconstruction in the new adaptive use project. An assessment of surviving exterior and interior historic features was undertaken by the consultant and photographic documentation of all existing fabric was undertaken prior to the start of work. The emphasis of the documentation was placed on fabric that was scheduled for removal, repair or reconstruction. Special attention was placed on the “before” conditions of the window sashes, front and side exterior doors and doorways, stair railing(s), and porch railings which were planned for reconstruction.
The barn had undergone exterior additions and interior alterations, and was carefully surveyed to document the extent of surviving original fabric and to identify architectural features that could be associated with later construction methods and periods. Documentation took the form of extensive digital photography and physical inspection of such details as the structural frame (e.g. sills, posts and studs, roof rafters), foundation and other supports, windows and doors, and interior features such as flooring, hardware, and partitions.
It was concluded that the main section of the barn, which is rectangular in massing and rises two stories with a cupola centered on the ridge, was the earlier section and that the gambrel-roofed east extension was considerably later in date. Inasmuch as the target date for the restoration and rehabilitation of the c. 1842 main house established a preferred timeline for the preservation and restoration of the adjacent barn, it was decided that the late 19thcentury extension could be taken down after careful photographic documentation. Fabric that was deemed salvageable from the later addition – structural beams, floor boards and foundation stones – were preserved with the intention of recycling them into the restoration of the core building wherever practicable.
The final phase of documentation was a digital photographic recording of the work-in-progress of the stabilization, conservation treatment and restoration of the house and barn.Following the removal of later features (e.g. the non-historic back wing of the house was removed, and interior beams introduced in the 20thcentury that altered the interior layout of the barn were also removed), deteriorated elements were surveyed and missing elements identified. The repair of structural elementsin situwas carefully documented.Installation of restored and replacement elements, such as the window sashes and roof balustrades on the house, was similarly documented so that the final product – the restored Topping Rose House and Barn – is now fully recorded from the beginning assessment through the process of restoration until the completed project.
The original 6-over-6 window sashes of the house were removed for repair off site; following painstaking conservation treatment (window glass was removed, frames repaired and tightened, frames primed, original glass reinstalled and sashes top coated), the windows were returned to the site and reinstalled using historic sash weights. Both front and side historic doors and doorways were repaired in situ, and significant interior detailing was preserved, repaired and reinstalled following installation of mechanicals and reconstruction of walls and partitions.
With regard to the barn, disassembly of the non-historic east extension was following by extensive study of its supporting frame, exterior roof and wall coverings, and architectural detailing such as doors, windows and trim to determine the extent of needed repairs. In accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, historic features were repaired rather than replaced wherever practicable. When it was necessary, either due to severe deterioration or the actual loss of historic features, new material was chosen and fashioned to match the original(s) in design, color, texture and material.
Specific elements of concern in the barn were the underlying sills that support the posts and studs of the exterior wall. These elements had experienced extensive deterioration and were, in many places, previously removed or replaced. Other elements that were eligible for treatment and repair were the vertical posts, the bottom ends of which received extensive repair and consolidation with material that matches the original. Given the nature of the historic barn, which differs from the house in the sense that it preserves less architectural trim and interior detailing, the emphasis of conservation treatment and repair was on the structural frame. Window sashes and doors were in reasonably good condition and suitable for treatment and repair.
The back two-story extension of the house, documented to be a modern era addition, was taken down to clear the way for reconstruction of the historic back wing in accordance with approved plans and specifications. The design of the new wing was planned in such a way that the elevator, an essential component in the adaptive reuse of the main house, could be integrated into the project without adversely affecting the historic fabric of the house. The roof framing of the house was substantially rebuilt to ensure its stability and compliance with contemporary building codes.
The exterior porches and balustrades, which were no longer preserved but documented in historic photographs and in fragments discovered in the house, were carefully restored. Surviving balustrade elements and designs from other historic houses of the same period were studied and replicated, and turned mahogany balusters of three sizes and associated railings and corner supports were fabricated and installed on the basis of this research. The porches were also rebuilt according to historic precedents.
The exterior massing and architectural detailing of the Topping Rose Barn was preserved and restored in compliance with accepted standards of preservation practice.Where contemporary building code required additional reinforcements of the frame, new architectural supports were fashioned to conform to the existing historic building.The visual impact of these code-compliant elements is minimal and preserves the original structural appearance of the building.
The defining exterior architectural elements of the historic Topping Rose House and Barn – roof balustrades and porches, window sashes and doors, and siding – are now fully restored. By following the Secretary of the Interior’s “Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties”, the restoration and adaptive reuse of both historic buildings has preserved the important features of the original construction period while meeting contemporary standards of use and occupancy.
John Hulbert Warehouse
Bridgehampton, New York
The Sag Harbor Express called it the “Three Hundred Year Old Surprise” when it was announced to the community that we had found John Hulbert’s purpose-built warehouse on the property of the Bulls Head Inn (now the Topping Rose House) in Bridgehampton.
Uline Greene, the Bridgehampton Library archivist at the time, invited me to examine John Hulbert’s Ledger that he started to record transactions and inventory in June 1760. Upon closer inspection the Ledger is identified as “Book C” (clearly leading one’s imagination to suppose that Books A & B existed at one time). This ledger was presented to the Bridgehampton Library by Edward Mulford Dering of Philadelphia and Sag Harbor in October 1926.
Quite a gift.
Smith Taylor Cabin
Shelter Island, New York
The Smith Taylor Cabin is modeled after a classic Adirondack style log cabin. Taylor's Island is located in Coecles Harbor on Shelter Island, New York. The original cabin was built around 1900 by Francis Marion Smith of 20 Mule Team Borax fame. The island is actually a tombolo, from the Italian tombolo, derived from the Latin tumulus, for a deposition landform in which an island is attached to the mainland by a narrow piece of land such as a spit or bar. Once attached, the island is then known as a tied island.
In 1937 Gregory Taylor (Soterios Gregorios Tavoulares), owner of the St. Regis Hotel in New York City, purchased the cabin and added a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, foyer and the landmark tower with catwalk.
The cabin was added to the New York State and National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
Duck Creek Farm Historic Site
East Hampton, New York
On June 30, 2017, the Town of East Hampton entered into a licensing agreement with Peconic Historic Preservation, Inc., for the Duck Creek Farm Historic Site located at 367 Three Mile Harbor Road, East Hampton. The Town Board designated this a historic landmark site nearly eight years ago on June 5, 2009. The Duck Creek Farm parcel contains the c. 1795 Edwards House and the c. 1890 Gardiner Barn.
John Edwards built the farmhouse that survives today in 1795. The farm was operated by Edwards, his sons and grandsons from 1795 to 1902. The farm contained 130 acres comprising nearly the entire east shore of Three Mile Harbor. The Edwards House is architecturally significant as an intact example of a two-story “half house”, featuring many existing exterior features including the nineteenth-century windows, the boxed cornice with Federal period moldings, and the early lean-to summer kitchen addition.
The artist John Little purchased Duck Creek Farm in 1948 and later that year moved a barn from the farm of David Johnson Gardiner on James Lane, East Hampton, to Duck Creek Farm for use as a studio. The c. 1890 Gardiner Barn is architecturally significant as a late representative of the three-bay “English” barn that persisted as the principal type of barn built in East Hampton from the 17th century through the 19th century. The sawn pine frame, the overhanging eaves and original sliding barn doors are among the characteristics that are typical of this later period.
Duck Creek Farm, as the home and studio of John Little, is also historically significant for illustrating the colony of East Hampton artists of the 1950’s and 1960’s who made important contributions to the artistic movement of abstract expressionism. The Gardiner Barn, which was John Little’s studio, is the building at Duck Creek Farm that most vividly recalls this era.
Peconic Historic Preservation played a timely and important role in establishing the licensing agreement with the Town of East Hampton. After encouraging the Arts Center at Duck Creek to establish their own true not-for-profit corporation, today the licensing agreement exists between ACDC and the Town.
Princeton Garden Theatre
Princeton, New Jersey
Built as a Vaudeville theater in 1935, singers, dancers, acrobatic performers and comedians graced the stage of this theater. When the Vaudeville Era came to an end the building was used as a public cinema. Without any regard for its rich artistic and cultural history, in the 1980’s it was converted into a twin-screen facility.
Today, the Garden Theater is owned by Princeton University and is used as a community cinema and lecture hall. After an extensive and costly renovation and restoration program, the building was returned to its original character and unique local community status.
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