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Walking Through East Hampton’s History

Thu, 05/25/2023 - 11:18
A trail at Napeague State Park
Durell Godfrey

The East Hampton Historical Society and the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society have planned 20 collaborative events, starting next week and running through September.

“Each hamlet has its own unique history,” said Irwin Levy, the Trails Preservation Society’s president, and the events will focus on that. “Combining a hike with a presentation by a like-minded organization has been a winning formula for E.H.T.P.S. Collaborating with the historical society is a logical next step for us that benefits the entire community.”

“There are few places in America where so many people are passionate about the past,” Steve Long, the historical society’s executive director, said. “It’s one of the things that makes this community really special.”

Mr. Long and Mr. Levy met last year when the latter’s group hosted Brooks-Park: The Intersection of Art and Nature, a hike of the trails around the 11-acre property that belonged to the Abstract-Expressionist artists James Brooks and Charlotte Park. That was part of a larger, ongoing effort to preserve the artists’ residence and studios. “I’ve been very interested in that project,” Mr. Long said. “I knew about E.H.T.P.S., but wasn’t quite as aware of all of the historical tours that they did.”

The timing was fortuitous, as the Trails Preservation Society began to diversify its programming last year. “We stayed true to who we are as enthusiasts of hiking and outdoor activities,” Mr. Levy said. “But combining the hiking component with a presentation by a like-minded organization created an entirely new lane for us. We increased participation and membership by offering an alternative to a trail walk. Partnering with these other organizations was mutually beneficial, as it raised awareness for both the partner organization and E.H.T.P.S.,” a goal of its board of directors.

“The opportunity to partner with the East Hampton Historical Society brings the upcoming series of 20 events to a larger audience than either of us could do on our own,” he said. “This benefits not only the Historical Society and E.H.T.P.S., but the entire East Hampton community.”

Though most of the sites it preserves and oversees are in East Hampton Village, Mr. Long said, the historical society was founded to serve the entire township. “By collaborating with the E.H.T.P.C., we’re really able to highlight all of the historic landscapes and landmarks throughout East Hampton Town.”

The series launches on Wednesday at 10 a.m. with Napeague: Where Water Flows Over Land, a two-plus-mile hike through the area of Napeague where the Peconic Estuary almost meets the Atlantic Ocean. Those interested have been asked to meet at Napeague State Park, at the end of Napeague Meadow Road.

Other upcoming events include A Walk-Through Art History: Brooks-Park on June 7, the Wainscott Heritage Project on June 14, a hike of the oceanside community of Beach Hampton in Amagansett on June 28, the Seven Nathaniel Dominys on July 15 in East Hampton, Something Is Fishy in Promised Land on July 22, a tour of the Springs Historic District on Aug. 5, the D’Amico Studio and Archives at Lazy Point on Aug. 12, Gerard Drive in Springs on Aug. 26, and the Eastville Historic District in Sag Harbor on Sept. 6.

The collaborative programs will conclude with the Fascinating Story of Leisurama with the Montauk Historical Society on Sept. 27. A fall festival at the Mulford Farm happens on Sept. 30. The Trails Preservation Society’s full schedule is at

The historical society has also announced the reopening of its historic sites and museums for the summer season, including the Mulford Farm, the Thomas and Mary Nimmo Moran House and Studio, Clinton Academy, and the Town House, all in East Hampton Village, and the East Hampton Town Marine Museum in Amagansett.

Unlike in past years, the sites will be accessible only via guided tour led by a trained history educator. Those programs begin tomorrow with a tour of Main Street in East Hampton Village. Participants have been asked to meet at Clinton Academy, at 151 Main Street, at 5:30 p.m.

The historical society has a busy walking tour schedule this weekend: following tomorrow’s visit to Clinton Academy, a tour of the Moran House and Studio happens on Saturday, and a tour of the Marine Museum happens on Sunday, both at 10 a.m. It will host more than a dozen tours each month through the summer.

Other annual historical society events include a golf outing today at the Maidstone Club in East Hampton Village, which is sold out, the membership party on June 17, the East Hampton Antiques and Design Show, July 14 to 16 at the Mulford Farm, and the lecture luncheon on Aug. 10. Its full summer schedule is at

Historical Society tours and collaborative events with the Trails Preservation Society are free for members of either group and $12 for nonmembers. Preregistration is required, and all events are limited to 30 participants.

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