History

THE FIRST ENGLISH SETTLEMENT IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK

historic meadow club
The Meadow Club circa 1900

BRIEF HISTORY

The Village of Southampton was incorporated in 1894, but its history can be traced back to 1640 when a small group of Puritans from Lynn, Massachusetts settled here — the First English settlement in the State of New York.

Because it was easier to travel by ship from New England than by land from New York City, the Southampton community tended to be more closely tied to New England than to New York City. In fact Southampton was actually part of the Connecticut colony until 1664.

That all changed with the advent of the railroad around 1870, and Southampton has since evolved from a community of farming, supplemented by fishing and whaling, then to a first class summer colony, and finally into the fashionable resort recognized throughout the world today.

EXPLORING SOUTHAMPTON VILLAGE’S HISTORY

North Sea: The First Step – No period document records the words of the travel-weary woman who is supposed to have exclaimed, “For conscience sake, we are on dry land once more,” as she stepped ashore in 1640 on a small point of land jutting out into North Sea Harbor. And we know for a fact that the boulder, which now marks the spot known as Conscience Point, wasn’t there. But there was that first step from which so much has grown. – Hamptons.com January 17, 2007

Southampton Village: Before The Resort (1640 – 1870) - Like the small band of Europeans from Lynn, Massachusetts, who came to Southampton in 1640, each wave of new arrivals tends to experience the same thrill of “discovery.” When another influx of newcomers – a small band of prominent New Yorkers – arrived and founded a “summer colony” in Southampton, they, too, felt a frisson of “discovery.” – Hamptons.com February 28, 2007

Southampton Village: The Transition to Stylish Resort – Even before the Long Island Rail Road extended its tracks eastward and arrived in Southampton in 1870, a few hardy souls had thought the village’s leafy streets and pristine beaches worth the trip. Over the years cottages sprang forth around Lake Agawam and the fight for the beaches began. It was a time when the resort bloomed and took hold of the village. – Hamptons.com March 21, 2007

Southampton Village: The Premier Resort – In 1880, prescient pioneers of what was not yet the premier resort it was about to become might have purchased an acre of Southampton Village’s prime real estate on the shores of Lake Agawam for $300. By 1888, the price was up to $4,000 in a spectacular escalation that has yet to lose its upward momentum. – Hamptons.com May 30, 2007

The Things that Remain the Same – Red Geraniums, Maidstone tennis, the hemline debate, navy blazers, country club colors, tyrants and tycoons, social code, Tom Wolfe, Brooks Brothers, golf at Shinnecock Hills, Lily Pulitzer, and cigars; these are just some of the elements that remain the same. Dreadnaughts do still exist, the story of Southampton Fashions circa 1880′s – 1980′s – Hamptons.com May 4, 2004

Adaptive Reuse in Three Acts – Sometimes a landmark is a landmark simply because it has always been there. Sometimes, however, a landmark endures change after change, and over time builds a unique history. Here is the story of three such local landmarks, including the transition of “The Orchid,” an estate designed by the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White to the Condominium complex “Whitefield” – Hamptons.com August 10, 2004

In Southampton, History’s Footsteps Are Right Below Your Feet - Southampton is a place rich in American history. Born of early fishing clans and stoic farm families, the village was settled by sheer determination as the first New York settlement in 1640, only 20 years after the pilgrims first touched ground in New England. And it is fitting that this Fourth of July, for the first time, the Southampton Historical Museum and Research Center will have an entry in the annual village parade. – Hamptons.com July 3, 2008

Colonial to Contemporary: Hamptons Architecture – The architectural evolution of the Hamptons has taken us from utilitarian Capes built by the First Settlers in the 1640′s to the classic shingle style homes that defined vacation architecture in the 1890′s, to the dramatic contemporary houses that appeared in the 20th century, and established the Hamptons as the white-hot center of modern architecture. – Hamptons.com June 11, 2007

Hospital Marks Centennial Year By Celebrating Its Humble Beginnings: Where Country Docs Meet City Folk – According to historian and author Mary Cummings, the beginnings of Southampton Hospital were not exactly meritorious. Now, for the hospital’s 100th anniversary, the Southampton Historical Museum will be host to a large-scale exhibit honoring it’s storied history. – Hamptons.com May 15, 2009

The Southampton Historical Museum and Research Center maintains some wonderful historic homes that are open to the public.

To view historic photos of Lake Agawam, click here:
Historic Photos of Lake Agawam

Guns of Southampton – A history of the military canons, carronades and other fortress and naval guns found in Southampton Village as researched by historian Bob Enrione, a client of ours.