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Future Unclear for Museum's White House [Empty in Southampton]

What would you like to see happen with the Southampton Historical Museum's Capt. George White house?

The Capt. George White house, a circa-1850 Greek revival at 159 Main Street in Southampton Village, came into the hands of the Southampton Historical Museum in 2008 and is on the market.

Madeleine DeWeil White, who died in 2007, had bequethed the house to the museum with no restrictions, meaning the museum can sell the property to anyone and cash in, putting the money toward capital improvements at its primary historic properties, such as the Halsey House. But, the museum trustees decided that they would only sell the house with a number of caveats in place, to ensure its historic integrity. That move may have brought down the value of the property, as a developer could not buy the prime real estate, knock down the White house and put up something new.

Executive Director Tom Edmonds and museum trustees asked the Southampton Village Board in 2008 to consider buying the house, perhaps to use as offices for the building department, but a purchase never came to fruition.

The asking price was listed at nearly $3.0 million at the time, but has since been reduced to $1.8 million.

Though the house was most recently a residence, it is in the village business district, giving potential buyers many options for using the building. According to the Corcoran Real Estate listing for 159 Main Street, the house sits on .80 acres and has five beds and one and a half baths.

The property is adjacent to the Waldbaum's parking lot, and there has been talk in the past of a portion of the yard being sold to Waldbaum's so the grocery store can add parking spaces, but Dennis Schmidt, the president of the museum's board of trustees, said during a recent Village Board meeting that the trustees are against selling to Waldbaum's.

The museum occasionally puts on antique sales at the White house grounds, but otherwise it is rarely used.

According to the museum, Capt. George White was a Southampton native who went to sea at the age of 13 and and traveled the world before heading to California during the gold rush and eventually returning to Southampton, where he became a village trustee and advocated preservation and fought development on the beaches.

What would you like to see happen at the White house — and what do you think would best serve the community? A private residence? A bed and breakfast? Offices? Something else? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Rick February 22, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Capt. White was President of the Southampton Town Trustees and we all can thank him for his leadership in the fight to keep the beaches open to the public.
James February 22, 2012 at 02:57 PM
The town should buy it as land preservation, why allow some developer to destroy it to build something new, it is a piece of history in the village. What if it were made into a Town Trustee museum, something that shows the history of the waterways from the Dungeon Patten through present day. I am sure there are documents and pictures to fill it.
Brendan J. O'Reilly February 23, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Interesting idea about a Town Trustee museum. And to be clear: The Southampton Historical Museum will only agree to sell the building with covenants in place to prevent it from being demolished or radically altered. Plus, it is in the village historic district, so the Board of Historic Preservation & Architectural Review would have to sign off on a demolition permit.
Ken W March 21, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Move it to the triangle that's at Windmill and Nugent, opposite the Library. -Ken

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