Lawn Doctor, Hamptons, Lawn Care, Mosquito Control, Tick Control. Lawn Maintenance

Story - News

Feb 24, 2010 8:42 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bridgehampton Historical Society moves forward with renovations to Rogers House

Feb 24, 2010 8:42 AM

Discerning passersby of the Nathaniel Rogers House in Bridgehampton may cringe at the two-by-fours holding up the columns in the front of the stately mansion and shudder at the dirt and rot in the siding. But three years from now, they’ll likely be amazed by the transformation that will have taken place.

The long-awaited $3 million restoration of the mansion is set to begin on March 8, according to Bridgehampton Historical Society Director Dr. John Eilertsen. On that day, construction crews will embark on phase one of the project, which will include the removal of those braced columns that have long framed the face of the house, which was built in 1824. After that, each of the building’s five sections of roof will be replaced, and the historical society will have contractors repair the foundation, framing, gutters and leaders of what will one day serve as the society’s new home, Dr. Eilertsen said.

All of the exterior renovation work will be completed over the next year and a half, and interior work will be finished after that, the director explained.

The restoration/renovation, which has been in the works since 2003, will restore the Greek Revival-style mansion to its former glory as the Hampton House, a posh inn run by the Hopping and Hedges families from 1890 to 1940, Dr. Eilertsen said.

The Nathaniel Rogers House was built in 1824 by Abraham Rose, a judge who also constructed what is now known as the Bull’s Head Inn. The namesake of the structure, Nathaniel Rogers, expanded Mr. Rose’s work in 1840, turning it into the iconic Greek Revival mansion it is today.

Figuring out the intricacies of the structure—how the smaller structure was incorporated into the mansion—delayed the historical society on its path toward renovating the home, Dr. Eilertsen said.

“We’ve always had some obstacles to overcome,” he said. “The biggest slowdown was that structural engineers wanted more information about having a large house wrapped around a smaller house.”

The society purchased the home in 2003 for $550,000, Dr. Eilertsen said. The same year, Southampton Town purchased about 6 acres surrounding the house for about $3 million with Community Preservation Fund money.

The historical society has collected about $2.5 million of the approximately $3 to $4 million needed to restore the home, Dr. Eilertsen said. Southampton Town and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation have provided significant funding, as have private donors.

When it’s finished, the mansion will serve as the historical society’s new headquarters and the Corwith Homestead, the current headquarters, will be turned into an 1890 farmhouse museum.

“It’s another side of the 20th century,” Dr. Eilertsen explained.

The 6,000-square-foot mansion was last owned by James Hopping, who moved out in 2004 and died last year. Dr. Eilertsen explained that Mr. Hopping did very little work to the home, which helped it stay historically accurate.

“He kept it heated, and the lights and water running. He didn’t do a lot of upkeep on the house,” Dr. Eilertsen said. “But the great thing he did do is he didn’t take things down ... He didn’t keep it as spiffy as some people would have liked, but he didn’t destroy anything.”

Fund-raising for the effort is ongoing. The next event is a bus trip to Manhattan to see the new musical “The Addams Family” with Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth. Tickets are $500. The society is also doing direct solicitations and plans to have cocktail parties later in the summer.

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

its about time. This building has been an eyesore for what seems like an eternity. I am all for preserving historical buildings but this building has been neglected for so long the best thing would be to rip it down
By razza5350 (1910), East Hampton on Feb 22, 10 2:56 PM
Has a thorough budget been developed and approved for the entire project? No point in starting a renovation which will become The Money Pit IMO. It may not be fiscally prudent to renovate a building like this which may be "too far gone."

Is the framing sound? Are there pockets of rot, and how extensive? Has there been an engineer's report on everything?

Lots of questions TBD, and I doubt if the new Town Board wants to sign on to an "unknown" budget.

If the renovation is ...more
By PBR (4936), Southampton on Feb 24, 10 12:33 PM
BHHS, Please set a reasonable timeline for this noble undertaking. We all know that funds are scarce in this economy. Whatever architectural merit this structure has will be gone if we have to look at the disrepair for another 20 years (like the beverage center across the street). If it can't be done in a reasonable time SHT will need to step in to protect this gateway to our Town but what will that cost?
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Feb 25, 10 9:26 PM
power tools, home improvements, building supplies, Eastern Long Island