The Southampton Village Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation was scheduled to host two public hearings on Wednesday, 25, to discuss possible plans to demolish two non-designated historic buildings.
According to the agenda for the September 25 meeting, which was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., after the Southampton Press went to print, the two houses on Meadow and Pond lanes would be torn down to make way for new structures. This week, Sally Spanburgh, a village resident and preservationist, said the homes have significant historic value. The first, located at 51 Pond Lane, is one of the older homes in the village. It is the home where Pyrrhus Concer, an African-American slave, was born in 1814. Mr. Concer is a prominent figure in Southampton history, according to Ms. Spanburgh, having become a whaler in Sag Harbor after he was freed. While on a whaling expedition, he was on a boat captained by Mercator Cooper that rescued several Japanese sailors who were in distress, becoming one of the first American boats to dock in Tokyo. Upon returning to Southampton, Mr. Concer launched the Lake Agawam ferry service.
After he died, the house was sold to a number of prominent Southampton families, including the family of Elihu Root, an American attorney and Nobel Peace Prize winner, and the Brees family.
“It is a very important historic resource in the village of Southampton and should not be allowed to be torn down because of its age and because of its associations, and I hope that several people would speak against it being demolished,” Ms. Spanburgh said. “I won’t be surprised if the applicants come armed stating that it is in terrible shape, but that is from a lack of maintenance.”
The second home in questions, at 40 Meadow Lane, was built in the 1880s by the Betts family, the family responsible for building roughly 12 of Southampton’s original summer colony homes. The house, which was named A-Wheel-Y-Mor, according to Ms. Spanburgh, was modified to include modern amenities and is currently in contract to be sold.
“It is an important piece,” she said. “It has survived countless hurricanes when almost everything around it has not. It is important.”