Restoration to start on historic Hampton Bays house

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Restoration of the future home of the Hampton Bays Historical and Preservation Society will soon be underway after a three-year wait.

Southampton Town bought the Prosper King House, located on a half acre on the north side of Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays, in 2005 with $477,000 in Community Preservation Fund money and put the Historical Society in charge of bringing it back to its original splendor.

The organization applied for a 
Suffolk County grant in 2005 to fund the restoration, and though $57,750 
was approved, the money did not come right away, according to Barbara Moeller, the president of the Historical Society. “It has taken until this year for the 
funds to finally be in the pipeline,” she said.

The town also recently set aside $300,000 in CPF money for the house, Ms. Moeller added. “I’m sure it will see us through to conclusion,” she said, explaining that the house needs the walls reinforced and a new roof as well as new windows and doors.

The rubble-stone foundation was already replaced with poured concrete back in early 2007.

“Now it has a modern day foundation, and it’s tied down for hurricanes and whatever else,” Ms. Moeller said.

The same firm that installed the foundation, the Huntington-based Historic Construction Management, will also carry out the rest of the restoration.

Tony Wetzel, a principal at the historic preservation firm, said the King House would be restored to how it looked in the 19th century, based on old drawings the society has and what the architects have found by investigating the house. “We can see the evidence in the original structure, as to where the windows were located,” he said, explaining that the plan includes reframing the window openings and installing historically accurate replicas, as well as bringing the slope of the roof back to its original pitch.

Restoration may begin within the next two weeks, Ms. Moeller said.

She added that she hopes the house will be ready for schoolchildren to visit in the fall as they learn about local history in class, and she also hopes young students will be drawn to the Historical Society’s new website, HamptonBaysHistoricalSociety.org, which launched last month.

“We’re expecting it to be an educational resource, so as near as we can we’ll have the correct history of Hampton Bays and the background of all the projects that we’re stewards of,” she said of the website.

Besides the King House, the society oversees three town cemeteries as well as a chapel on Canoe Place Road, built circa 1820, and the Lyzon Hat Shop building, a structure dating back to 1920 that sits next to the King House.

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