Coming Up: Tour Historical Southampton Houses

Event slated for May 11 will show off some homes that highlight the area's architectural history.

Fans of Hamptons historic homes, mark your calendars. The Southampton Historical Museum on Thursday released plans for its May 11 historic house tour, and swank event set to show off some of the region's classic architecture.

The event, which costs $75 in advance or $90 day of tour, will take visitors on a tour of six classic estates, hailing from as early as the 18th Century. The tour runs from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and ends with a Champagne art exhibit at Rogers Mansion at 17 Meeting House Lane in Southampton Village.

Here is a list of the estates covered by the tour, with info provided by the Southampton Historical Museum:

Quintessential Queen Anne

Located on one of Southampton’s most picturesque and architecturally interesting streets, this handsome house, built circa 1894 for the Seely family from Southold, is one of a nearly unbroken string of late 19th- and early 20th-century wood-frame residences that give the neighborhood its unique historic charm. Sensitively renovated, it retains the distinctive features of the American Queen Anne style that was prevalent at the turn of the last century, including all the original woodwork, doors and hardware. An elegant but cheerful interior is achieved with floral-patterned fabrics and furnishings that are functional but at ease in rooms that have existed for more than 100 years. In the summer months, the garden with its flowering trees, roses and perennials is a sunny and peaceful oasis.

Setting Sail

This chic retreat near the heart of the village, built in 1899, was once the home of Captain William Bennett, a whaling captain who went on to become the Chief of the US Coast Guard in Southampton. The stem to stern restoration is a nautical fantasy, the kind of home a ship’s captain would have lived in after years spent exploring the world. With a sure sense of color and design the house was restored with period details including custom millwork and salvaged 18th century beams incorporated throughout and walls painted in soft hues that bear names like “Harbor Mist”, “Sea Haze” and “Conch Shell.” The property, which feels more like a compound, includes a small guest cottage and a large pool house with copula and columned porch painted in misty shades of blue that opens out onto the pool and grounds.

Post Family Farmhouse

This home built for the Post family sometime before 1858 has acquired many embellishments over the years, including a coat of burgundy red paint that gave it a high profile for several decades when it was known as “Cranberry House.” Its crimson covering has since been replaced with a more subdued coat of beige paint and its current owners have filled it with furnishings that reflect their immersion in the fine arts. But that has not prevented them from honoring the historic roots of their residence with, among other tasteful reminders, an elegant display of old tools. Nor would any farmer fail to admire the thriving wisteria out in the yard, where it climbs over the roof of a diminutive accessory building that sports a tribute to a more recent past in its burgundy detailing.

Swan Pond

It takes a certain imaginative genius to put together furnishings from different periods and different countries and create beautiful rooms in which they “live side by side very comfortably.” The words are those of the woman who has done just that in this handsome European-style home. When she moved from a beach house with a stylish but spare décor into this village residence, she took an entirely different approach to arranging its interior, filling it with fine antiques. Among other treasures, there are Russian end tables, an Italian parquetry wedding table, an English bookcase and a Japanese screen. Assembled with flair and confidence, the rooms reflect a deep knowledge of fine furniture and also a love of nature. Animals and birds make frequent appearances as free-standing objects or decorative motifs. As the name of the house suggests, she has a particular affinity for swans which can be found in many guises, even forming the legs of an elegant table.

Bon Acre

“Bon Acre,” with its porte-cochere, turreted tower, immense porch and widow’s walk, is one of Southampton’s architectural and historic treasures. The house was built by Dr. P.F. Chambers around the turn of the last century on land owned by Thomas Reeves, who had large property holdings in Southampton in the 17th century. Dr. Chambers, a gynecologist who practiced with the legendary Southampton summer colony pioneer Dr. T. Gaillard Thomas, became a leading figure in Southampton himself, serving as president of the Southampton Village Improvement Society and as an early consultant at Southampton Hospital. “Bon Acre” has been the residence of several prominent figures since it passed from the hands of the Chambers family. Like the famous beauty and Conde Nast heiress, Chesbrough Lewis Patcevitch, they have put their stylish stamp on “Bon Acre” without impinging on its historic beauty.

1708 House

If walls could talk, no structure in Southampton would have a more fascinating tale to tell than the 1708 House, the historic structure that is currently a boutique hotel in the heart of the village. Sixty years before the 1708 date, which was taken from records that refer to the present structure as “having been occupied” by that time, Jonas Bower laid the foundation for his house on the same spot and his basement survives today as the hotel’s wine cellar. In 1698, Isaac Bower built a bigger house over the original and the present owners speculate that conspiratorial patriots might well have gathered in the ancient cellar to exchange information on the activities of the hated British occupying forces during the Revolutionary War. The prominent Huntting family of local whaling fame took possession of the house in 1799, after which the Foster family became the owners. In 1993, the present owners undertook the painstaking restoration that has preserved one of the village’s most treasured landmarks.

St. Andrew’s Dune Church

The Church is located at the foot of Lake Agawam and is one of Southampton’s most picturesque landmarks. Originally built as a life-saving station, it was acquired by Dr. T. Gaillard Thomas and donated as a church in 1879. A local carpenter was hired to create its beautiful rustic interior, which is filled with treasures, not the least of which are its 11 Tiffany widows. The church has come under assault from raging seas on several occasions, including in 1938 when it was nearly destroyed by that year’s terrible hurricane. It was lovingly restored and has twice been moved back from the sea. Though it is non-denominational, its summer services are organized under the direction of Southampton’s Episcopal Church.


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