In 1894, Edward Everett Quimby, an inventor and patent expert, purchased 32 acres in Bridgehampton on the east side of Ocean Road on Sagg Pond, from the estate of B.F. Sandford.
At first he and his family lived in an existing cottage, but as their family grew, he subdivided the property and built several homes over the next 15 years to form the Quimby family compound. Son William built a home a bit back from Sagg Pond; daughter Kate (Wiley) built “Half Acre,” next door to her father in 1902 (#219); Kate’s brother-in-law, Charles Wiley, built #229, and closer to Ocean Road, daughter Minnie (Mills) built #94; and in 1900, Edward built “Annesden” for daughter Annie (this Tudor style home was demolished in 1994). The original driveway to the compound eventually became a street, Quimby Lane, named after the compound creators.
This month a request was made to demolish #229, one of the seven original Quimby compound homes built for Charles Wiley circa 1900. Only two of the original eight houses have been lost, the one previously mentioned in 1994, and one much longer ago, a lovely Stick Style home, perhaps in the 1938 hurricane. This means that six of the eight still survive, leaving most of the compound largely intact today, until now. Furthermore, #229 certainly seems to be in excellent condition (i.e. not falling down or suffering from neglect) and was listed for sale at nearly $20 million dollars, and sold last October for $16.2 million according to Zillow.
The compound’s history was highlighted in the ’s “Ocean Road” exhibition during the summer of 2010, and Quimby family descendants still live in Bridgehampton today, some of which I’m honored to know. I can’t imagine witnessing the disintegration of one’s personal connection to this historic area. The demise of #229 will represent a tragic loss within the Quimby compound, to the hamlet’s heritage and to the architectural character and identity of Bridgehampton. Poor Bridgehampton, it’s not only losing much of its farmland, but so many historic structures also. I guess eventually it will only have the Main Street area and a few other gems, like the .
Last week the huge accessory buildings on the Villa Maria property in Water Mill were torn down. Just like that. Don’t blink. As soon as you read this column again, you’ll likely to be reading my next preservation obituary.