The Hampton Bays Historical & Preservation Society has several ongoing projects to restore historic buildings and sites within our town and surrounding areas of Southampton Town.
Canoe Place Chapel
At the present time, a small chapel stands by the side of Canoe Place Road. It hasn’t always been located on this postage-stamp piece of land. There are numerous accounts regarding the chapel’s location; however, we do know that prior to 1898 the chapel stood on land south of the chapel’s current location based on the Fithian map dated 1848 on which the chapel is designated ‘Indian Meetinghouse.’
This chapel or meetinghouse served the community of Warnertown (Canoe Place) for generations. From local accounts the congregation was comprised of a mixed group of parishioners, black, white and Indian. Services were led by a series of itinerant ministers on Sundays, but during the week, did the structure also serve as a meetinghouse for the local families?
Based upon research conducted by Henry Moeller, emeritus member of the board of directors of the society, and Zach Studenroth, architectural historian, the design of 18th and 19th century Long Island meetinghouses and chapels evolved from 17th century building traditions in New England. The term ‘meetinghouse’ signified an assembly place built not only for church services, but also for town meetings and other public gatherings.
The Hampton Bays Historical & Preservation Society arranged to have the deed for the chapel signed over to the Town of Southampton by a surviving trustee of the chapel, Charlotte McAtic, who is a direct descendant of the Warner and Fanning families who were referenced in the 1898 deed. The historical society in an agreement with the Town of Southampton acts as steward for this structure.
An archaeological survey of the original site of the chapel/meetinghouse at 38 Canoe Place Road will begin shortly to ascertain the exact location of the structure in 1848. Then the building will be moved to that site and restored so that it can once again be used by the public for religious, community, educational and artistic purposes.
In the process of researching this building by various professional historians, it is our belief that the true history of the chapel/meetinghouse will be revealed.