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.
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.
This store or shop is closely related to the Prosper King House. For many years it was located adjacent to the King House and its history is tied to the King Family. It appears as “King Store” on an 1896 Hyde Map. Historian, Winifred Penny, indicates that this building was in existence prior to 1896 and owned by Barney Smith. The structure has not yet been examined professionally by an architectural historian and we need to obtain a more exact date for its construction.
Based on information provided by Myron Lyzon King, great-grandson of Prosper King, the Lyzon Hat Shop was originally a general store operated by his grandfather, Elisha King. In approximately 1910 the store had a fire which partially demolished the building. From fabric that survived the fire in the store, Elisha’s son, Walter Howard King, began designing hats.
Walter was born and raised in Good Ground; he commuted to Patchogue to attend high school. Later, he attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where he studied commercial art and window dressing. After Walter’s mother became ill, he returned to Good Ground to take care of her. With his design talents and his wife, Helen’s, millinery skills they soon had a profitable business, “Lyzon Hats.”
Initially, Walter and Helen worked out of the front porch on the Prosper King House. By 1920 they rebuilt the burned structure next door adding a second story and a large work shop in the rear. The work shop originally came from the World War I Camp Upton, Brookhaven, NY where the building served as the camp theater. Over the years, the work shop was allowed to deteriorate to the extent that the Town of Southampton required its demolition as an unsafe structure in 2006.
At this time, the Hampton Bays Historical & Preservation Society while actively restoring the Prosper King House recognized the importance of saving the Lyzon Hat Shop as well. With the consent of the developer, Bryan Whalen, the hat shop was lifted and moved about thirty feet to the east where it is now sited next door to the King House.
Walter developed a large following for his hats after he made a trip to Paris to enter a fashion show. The US Ambassador to France complemented Walter in saying that Lyzon brought American style to Paris. After Walter’s return to Hampton Bays his clients included the well to do of Southampton society as well as European royalty.
To accommodate his patrons, Walter placed card tables on the front lawn of the shop so that all of the chauffeurs could entertain themselves while their ladies were having hats created . The historical society has amassed a collection of Lyzon Hats that we plan to exhibit when the shop is restored. At present, plans have not been finalized for its location or use.
In 2004 an historic building (Ada’s Attic) was put on the market for sale. Title research undertaken by Henry Moeller, member of the HBH&PS’ board of directors, showed this house was built circa 1830 by Prosper King, a member of a prominent Southampton Town family. Members of the historical society approached the owners of Ada’s Attic and obtained a promise from them not to sell the structure until the society had an opportunity to raise monies to purchase it for their headquarters. All of the Hampton Bays’ civic organizations united behind the society in its fundraising efforts. There was a groundswell of public sentiment to save the King house from demolition. At this time the Southampton Town Council voted to purchase the building with Community Preservation Funds and to have the historical society act as stewards in its restoration. The house was purchased in 2005 and landmarked by the Southampton Landmarks and Historic Districts Board.
The stewardship agreement between the Town and HBH&PS explains that the building will be used as an historical, educational, and cultural center, which may include exhibits in a museum setting, art galleries, and a local history repository library. The King House will become the home of the historical society in which state of the arts preservation facilities will insure proper storage of the society’s archives to benefit future generations.
An architectural historian, Zach Studenroth, examined the building after it was gutted and determined that the structure was older than first estimated. Instead of dating to 1830, the construction methods and materials indicated that the building dated to circa 1790—making it one of the oldest buildings in Hampton Bays.
Archaeologists, Chris Matthews and Jenna Coplin, from Hofstra University conducted research on the site and obtained numerous artifacts that assist in the conducted research on the site and obtained numerous artifacts that assist in the dating of the building and in showing the material culture that existed in its early history.
Restoration of the building to date has included lifting the structure to install a new foundation and new supporting beams. The goal of continuing restoration efforts is to return the building to its appearance in 1850 which has been documented from a Chace map (1850) of Suffolk County, NY.
Within the hamlet of Hampton Bays are Southampton Town-Owned Cemeteries and Monument:
• Fournier Cemetery
• Hubbard Cemetery
• Paul Cuffee Monument
The Hampton Bays Historical & Preservation Societyrecognizes the cemeteries are of hamlet-wide concern and interest, the society formed a Cemetery Task Force comprised of thirteen members from various local civic organizations in November 2007.
The committee members were informed of the ongoing research work taking place for all Town owned cemeteries by the University of Pennsylvania. This project began three years ago through the urging of Dr. Henry Moeller, then Historian to the Town of Southampton and the leadership of Linda Kabot, then Town Councilwoman. Zach Studenroth, architectural historian and director, Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, outlined the various phases of the project and enlisted the U of PA to complete the survey of gravesites. To date all of the cemeteries have been studied, their tombstones photographed with a detailed description of the data contained on the stones, a condition assessment of the stones, and their exact location.
This information is on CD and paper format within the Southampton Town Clerk’s office.
Paul Cuffee Monument