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.