The Foster-Meeker Heritage Center in Westhampton Beach will be getting a makeover as the local historical society in charge of its stewardship was recently awarded a $37,400 grant.
Awarded by the Robert Lion Gardiner Foundation, the grant matches money previously donated to the Westhampton Beach Historical Society by several donors. The nearly $75,000 will be spent on interior renovations to the heritage center. That work will include installing a fireplace, hearths, a working replica chimney and a historic beehive oven, the latter of which features a dome shape and dates back to the Middle Ages; all items would have been used in the original structure, which was constructed in 1735, according to historians.
Believed to be the oldest building still standing in Westhampton Beach, the 281-year-old Foster-Meeker House was saved from demolition in 2008 when it was donated to the Westhampton Beach Historical Society by owner Water Goldstein. The group then moved the 1,100-square-foot Cape Cod-style building from its longtime location on Main Street to its new home on Mill Road in the village, where the Historical Society is now based. The building sits directly next door to the organization’s headquarters, the Tuttle House.
The Foster-Meeker House is listed on both the national and state registers of historic places. Officials removed all modern features from the structure following its relocation nearly a decade earlier and is still advancing plans to completely restore it to its original condition.
According to Jon Stanat, president of the Westhampton Beach Historical Society, work on the structure will most likely begin in December and take most of the next year to complete.
“We are absolutely excited,” he said this week. “We wouldn’t be able to go forward without [the matching grant]. This is a real opportunity for us to proceed.”
Established in 1987, the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation strives to preserve New York history, with a focus in Suffolk County. It was created by Robert Gardiner, the Lord of the Manor of Gardiners Island, which his family has owned since 1639.