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Hamptons Life

Jan 19, 2015 12:08 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Historic Howell House In Bridgehampton May Be Demolished

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Jan 19, 2015 4:22 PM

The owner of a historic Bridgehampton home that dates to at least 1840 has applied to have it demolished.Located at 195 Quimby Lane, the house was built by Benjamin Glover for Benjamin Franklin Howell, who lived from 1801 to 1855. An original receipt from Mr. Glover, dated December 14, 1840, charges Mr. Howell “the sum of twenty two hundred and thirty dollars in full for building a house and all other demands.”

In contrast, the current owner purchased the home in 2000 for $3.5 million, and today the appraised value of the house and the 2.5 acres it sits on is $5.931 million, according to Southampton Town records.

“During the year prior to the start of the house,” said Julie Greene, a curator and archivist at the Bridgehampton Museum, “the men of the family sat around the fire in the evening and whittled pegs and pins of wood to use in the construction.”

Mr. Howell’s house was located not far from that of his father, the whaling captain Caleb Howell (1761–1841). Although Caleb’s house was removed before 1935, Benjamin’s remained.

In 1983, Wallace and Elise Quimby purchased the home and had it moved to its spot on Quimby Lane. The Quimbys are another family with historic roots in the hamlet, theirs dating to the 19th century.

The current owner is the architect Francois de Menil, whose sister Adelaide de Menil and her husband, Edmund Carpenter, donated a cluster of historic buildings that were used as part of the current East Hampton Town Hall. Numerous calls seeking comment from Mr. de Menil and his attorney, David Kirst of East Hampton, were not returned.

Sally Spanburgh, who chairs the Southampton Town Landmarks and Historic Districts Board, which is reviewing the demolition application, said on Monday, however, that Mr. de Menil is receptive to the idea of moving the house to another location.

The board’s role is strictly advisory and non-binding, intended to educate homeowners about their property’s historical significance and to make recommendations.

At two stories tall and five bays wide, the Howell house has three bedrooms and three baths, with a side gabled roof, double-hung windows and a central entry. Covered in cedar shingles with corner boards, it has one- and two-story rear extensions.

Old photos indicate that the home had originally been painted white. The property on which the house now sits has seen improvements, including the addition of a detached two-car garage and a swimming pool.

The residence has symmetrical internal side chimneys, a style of construction that dates to around 1800. A center chimney refers to construction before 1750, according to Ms. Spanburgh. A champion of historic preservation, she has been chronicling architecture and preservation in Southampton in her blog, The Southampton Village Review, where she describes the Howell house as “threatened” and historically significant.

“The preservation of these buildings is important in preserving the historic character [of Southampton], which I think is beloved by residents and second-home owners,” she said.

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This is maddening. The East End is losing both character and history daily. It is rapidly morphing into a place to leave instead of live.
By firecat911 (8), Sagaponack on Jan 19, 15 4:26 PM
2 members liked this comment
The landmarks preservation committe in the Town needs more teeth.

In Sagaponack and Southampton Village you can't touch a historic house let alone mention wanting to tear it down.

Unfortunately all Sally Spqmdbuhrg can do is make recommendations. There is no legal back bone to her committe which would disallow the dismantling of historical homes. It's time for this to change.

Moving the house is a good concession. In North Haven they let people keep the historically ...more
By Harbor Master (114), Sag Harbor on Jan 19, 15 5:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
another one bites the dust. continuing saga in the Hamptons as the money always wins.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jan 19, 15 5:54 PM
Southampton Village does not value its heritage any more than Southampton Town does, which is not at all. Both village and town need to wake up and do something meaningful to help induce owners of heritage houses to preserve them before we lose everything older than 1900 and we look like Great Neck.
By moonpie (43), Southampton on Jan 20, 15 10:08 AM