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Apr 5, 2016 4:47 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Lyzon Hat Shop Gets New Foundation; Restoration Work Begins On Historic Structure

The Lyzon Hat Shop in Hampton Bays is being put on new foundation. COURTESY OF ROBERT STRADA
Apr 7, 2016 11:07 AM

A Hampton Bays landmark, left atop steel beams for the past decade, finally has a new footing along Main Street.

Work began last Wednesday, March 30, on relocating the Lyzon Hat Shop, made famous by hat designer Walter King, when crews finished installing a permanent foundation for the structure, which was donated to the Hampton Bays Historical and Preservation Society about 10 years ago and dates back to 1896.

The house has since been set atop its new foundation, which is set back about 80 feet from West Montauk Highway, and next door to the fully restored Prosper King House, according to Brenda Sinclair Berntson, the president of the Hampton Bays Historical Society. Her group’s headquarters is inside the Prosper King House.

Now that the long-anticipated move has been completed, officials are focusing their efforts on restoring the hat shop, designated a local landmark in 2012 by the town’s Landmark and Historic Districts Board. The plan is to celebrate the building’s grand reopening by early summer—if all goes as planned.

“It’s very exciting that it is finally being restored,” Ms. Berntson said this week. “It was deteriorating and it’s good that it’s going to be saved.”

Robert Strada, the owner of Robert Strada Design in Amagansett, said this week that the plan is to have all of the work, including the restoration, finished by this summer.

Ms. Berntson, who noted that Southampton Town is paying for the relocation and future renovations, said she expects the house to be completely restored by July. The project is expected to cost $594,360, according to Mary Wilson, the manager of the town’s Community Preservation Fund.

“It’s going very well,” said Mr. Strada after visiting the site last week. “It’s a beautiful day to move a building.”

The Lyzon Hat Shop has long been considered a local landmark, well before the town’s recognition of its status. The building was originally located on the south side of Montauk Highway when it served as a general store. In the early 1900s, the building was transformed into a hat shop, popular with locals and visitors alike. Many people would frequent the shop to purchase the one-of-a-kind hats made by Mr. King.

After its hat shop heyday, the house stayed in the King family and became known as the art space Camp King. The building was sold in the 1980s to Brian Whalen, who eventually donated the house to the Hampton Bays Historical and Preservation Society in 2006 which, in turn, handed over ownership to Southampton Town in 2013—one year after it was designated a landmark.

Mr. Strada said he was glad to have the opportunity to preserve the hat shop. “It’s a very unique, historic building,” he said.

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Good news!
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Apr 6, 16 10:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
Great work and looking forward to see the final phase when complete,how disapointing to se the see the garbage in the adjoining vacan lot..what can be done I WOULD be happy to help clean it up if the owner is not willing.
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Apr 7, 16 9:49 AM
So nice to see a part of Hampton Bays history being preserved and not being lost; i.e. the "Hercules" statue and the HB Railroad Station (a beautiful building with a ticket master booth & mahogany benches, etc). The group should be commended for all the work they do for Hampton Bays ..... and lets not forget the work being done to preserve the Canoe Place Chapel.
By leo (19), hampton Bays on Apr 9, 16 9:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
Great news! Our hamlet needed a face-lift and every little move is a step forward.
By SHTownHB (75), Hampton Bays on Apr 11, 16 8:55 AM