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Sep 19, 2013 12:04 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Two Historic Homes Slated For Possible Demolition In Southampton Village

Sep 24, 2013 5:59 PM

The Southampton Village Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation was scheduled to host two public hearings on Wednesday, 25, to discuss possible plans to demolish two non-designated historic buildings.

According to the agenda for the September 25 meeting, which was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., after the Southampton Press went to print, the two houses on Meadow and Pond lanes would be torn down to make way for new structures. This week, Sally Spanburgh, a village resident and preservationist, said the homes have significant historic value. The first, located at 51 Pond Lane, is one of the older homes in the village. It is the home where Pyrrhus Concer, an African-American slave, was born in 1814. Mr. Concer is a prominent figure in Southampton history, according to Ms. Spanburgh, having become a whaler in Sag Harbor after he was freed. While on a whaling expedition, he was on a boat captained by Mercator Cooper that rescued several Japanese sailors who were in distress, becoming one of the first American boats to dock in Tokyo. Upon returning to Southampton, Mr. Concer launched the Lake Agawam ferry service.

After he died, the house was sold to a number of prominent Southampton families, including the family of Elihu Root, an American attorney and Nobel Peace Prize winner, and the Brees family.

“It is a very important historic resource in the village of Southampton and should not be allowed to be torn down because of its age and because of its associations, and I hope that several people would speak against it being demolished,” Ms. Spanburgh said. “I won’t be surprised if the applicants come armed stating that it is in terrible shape, but that is from a lack of maintenance.”

The second home in questions, at 40 Meadow Lane, was built in the 1880s by the Betts family, the family responsible for building roughly 12 of Southampton’s original summer colony homes. The house, which was named A-Wheel-Y-Mor, according to Ms. Spanburgh, was modified to include modern amenities and is currently in contract to be sold.

“It is an important piece,” she said. “It has survived countless hurricanes when almost everything around it has not. It is important.”


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"It is unclear what the owners wish to do with the property."

Let me guess -- put up a McMegaMansion?
By btdt (449), water mill on Sep 19, 13 7:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
12 million for 40 Meadow property no room for pool, tennis court or garage... crazy unless restored by right owner... but who?
By blackduck1 (20), southampton on Sep 19, 13 7:50 PM
Pyrus Concer's house ought to have been included in the historic district. It sits high on the hill above Lake Agawam and reeks with character. If village officials allow everyone to tear down anything they want, Southampton will look and feel like a generic town. Don't they get that?
By oystercatcher (126), southampton on Sep 19, 13 8:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Extrapolating say, 150 years from now... will people be screaming for the preservation of the homes of Calvin Klein, Stephen Spielberg, Martha Stewart, Chuck Close, and others? Will we note how the people who once occupied them are popular/important figures in the history of America? Will we talk about the architectural relevance of Matt Lauer's horse farm?

Historic preservation is important, for sure. Historical properties on the east end are priceless, that can be argued. But one ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 19, 13 8:21 PM
How could they even consider permitting these iconic houses to be demolished!! I thought that Southampton Village established Historic Districts to protect these local treasures! If these are allowed-what next? Flood gates opened.....please say "No"!
By ocean27 (21), Southampton on Sep 19, 13 9:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
property rights. A property owner has to agree for a home to be designated a historic structure
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 20, 13 9:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
Ditto re: property rights. Southampton Village, or a private person/entity/trust, is always free to purchase the houses in question, if for sale. Or the Village could exercise its right of Eminent Domain to force a sale.

Supply and demand . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Sep 20, 13 9:47 AM
It is my understanding that these houses were designated historic landmarks on the National and State Registers twenty-five years ago!!--as part of the c.1988 Southampton Village Historic District. So the "new" owners should have been aware of this when they purchased.
By ocean27 (21), Southampton on Sep 20, 13 5:28 PM
It would be a real shame if either of these houses were torn down. Both are unique and beautiful, part of what made Southampton what it used to be.
By M. O'Connor (147), Southampton on Sep 19, 13 11:07 PM
1 member liked this comment