Two homes, one in Water Mill and one in East Quogue, recently received Landmarks Maintenance Awards through a new program managed by the Landmarks & Historic Districts board, according to town officials.
Once proposed maintenance projects are completed, owners of the Benjamin Foster Homestead in Water Mill and the Foster-Downs House in East Quogue, will each receive $10,000, to help pay for the cost of materials and labor. Both properties attained town landmark status last year, town officials said.
“While about 2,000 historic properties have survived within the Town of Southampton, many are threatened by neglect or deferred maintenance. These buildings are part of Southampton’s heritage and identity. While we cannot remedy all of the needs, this program can help protect and preserve important buildings that are owned by concerned people under financial constraints,” said Councilwoman Bridget Fleming.
Southampton's Landmarks Maintenance Award program helps to contribute to the preservation and long-term sustainability of designated properties. Projects can include exterior improvements, structural stabilization, window, door and shutter restoration, and the resolution of water-penetration issues.
Applicants are required to have Basic or Enhanced School Tax Relief status; the work must be completed in a year and verified by a Landmarks &
Historic Districts board member.
The Foster-Downs House in East Quogue, located at 556 Montauk Highway, was built in 1857 for Capt. and Mrs. Josiah Foster. Foster was a whaling captain and also a descendant of Christopher Foster, who is buried in the adjacent Methodist Church cemetery, town officials said. The building is a Greek Revival style residence with later Italianate style embellishments.
Meanwhile, the Benjamin Foster Homestead, located at 84 Montauk Highway in Water Mill, was built before 1798 for Benjamin Foster, who was born in 1734. The main portion of the Foster Homestead is a one-and-a-half story half-Cape form from the Federal style period, which was dominant from about 1780 to 1840.
Funding for the program comes from the historic preservation reserve fund, created as a community benefit by developers of the Sebonack Golf Club planned development district to help foster historic purposes.
“We expect to award about $20,000 annually for the next five years. This provides another incentive to owners of undesignated historic resources to seek designation. In addition to the maintenance award, local town landmarks are also eligible for a tax abatement program and a preservation easement acquisition,” Sally Spanburgh, chair of the Landmarks & Historic Districts Board, said.