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
A small chapel stands by the side of Canoe Place Road. It hasn’t always been located where it is now. While there are numerous accounts regarding the chapel’s location; we do know that prior to 1898 the chapel stood on its current location, based on the Fithian map dated 1848 on which the chapel is designated “Indian Meetinghouse.” Between 1898 and very recently, the chapel stood on a postage-stamp sized lot a little north of where it stands today, on the west side of the road at the top of the rise. There are also some accounts that it once stood along Montauk Highway, not far from Reverend Cuffee’s grave. Before the advent of overhead wires, it was not unheard of to move entire buildings where they were needed, rather than build new ones.
On the rear of the current property stands a small cemetery, which is privately owned. While the original stones are missing due to vandalism, there is a stone which lists the names of the few souls buried there.
The term “meetinghouse” signified an assembly place built not only for church services, but also for
town meetings and other public gatherings.
In Colonial America, a Meeting House was quite often the first public structure built. This chapel or meeting house served the community of 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 the structure also served as a meetinghouse for the local families.
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.
This past summer, with the help of the Town of Southampton, the building was moved to its original site and restoration has begun!