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A House Tour Spanning Four Centuries

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 08:16
The house on Southampton’s Gin Lane known as the Windmill House is a favorite landmark and subject of photographers. In 1989 the current owners restored it and filled its interior, right, with modern conveniences while preserving its traditional design.

The Southampton History Museum’s house tour this year will open the doors to eight houses that illustrate Southampton’s architectural history from the 17th century to the present. 

The tour will begin on June 1 with a kickoff toast from noon to 1:30 at One Kings Lane, a home furnishings store in the original Rogers Memorial Library building on Job’s Lane. Houses on the self-guided tour will be open from 1 to 4, and a champagne reception catered by Sant Ambroeus restaurant will be held at the Rogers Mansion from 4:30 to 6.

Among the four private houses on the tour, the Windmill House is a local landmark with some history of its own. C. Wyllys Betts purchased the Good Ground windmill in 1880 and moved it from Hampton Bays to his cottage on Gin Lane in Southampton. In 1989 the current owners undertook a complete restoration of the mill and its sails.

The other three residences on the tour, though not historical, are traditional in design. The owners of Folly Fields re

quested a design that would fit into the neighborhood, and eventually added a movie theater on the lower level and a rose-covered pergola — the “folly.”

Completed in 2013, the Farm House at first resembles a quaint village residence, but its exterior belies the fact that it is made up of four floors of living space, including seven bedrooms. The eighth property was built in the classic Shingle Style of the South Fork, with rounded lines, deep wraparound porches, and asymmetric architectural forms.

The Thomas Halsey Homestead is not only the oldest house on the tour, it is New York State’s oldest English-style house. Thomas Halsey Sr., one of Southampton’s founders, established the family farm in 1648, and the current house was built circa 1683 by Thomas Halsey Jr. Managed today by the Southampton History Museum, it is notable for its wide-planked floors, hand-hewn beams, furnishings, textiles, and objects typical of domestic farm life in colonial times.

The 1708 House, which is today a historical bed-and-breakfast, has a wine cellar that reportedly dates to 1648. Built by Isaac Bower, the house passed to the Hunting family in 1799, and then to the Foster family. The current owners undertook the property’s restoration in 1993. Refreshments will be served at the 1708 

House as part of the tour between 1 and 4:30.

Originally built as a life-saving station, St. Andrew’s Dune Church was acquired by Dr. T. Gaillard Thomas and donated as a church in 1879. A local carpenter created the rustic interior, which originally included 11 signed Tiffany stained-glass windows. Two were lost during the Hurricane of 1938. St. Andrew’s is an ecumenical church to which “all Christians are welcome,” according to its website.

The original Rogers Memorial Library was founded in 1892 and designed by R.H. Robertson, a notable New York City architect who was a summer resident of Southampton. Grosvenor Atterbury, the architect of the adjacent Parrish Art Museum, designed an addition in 1915. After the library moved to its current location, the Parrish bought the building and used it for its educational programs. While it is now a retail location, it was bought by the architect Peter Marino in 2018 and will house the Peter Marino Art Foundation.

Tickets are $125 in advance, $145 the day of the tour, and can be purchased at or by calling 631-283-2494. They can be picked up or purchased after 10:30 on the day of the tour at the Halsey House at 249 South Main Street.

Southampton History Museum opens the doors to exclusive and historical residences

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