The large summer residences along South Main Street are just part of the reason why Southampton was once known as “the Newport of Long Island.”
In July of 1887, The New York Sun proclaimed Southampton as “the most charming of all small cities by the sea.” South Main Street, the southernmost portion of the second settlement area laid-out by the Town of Southampton, New York in 1648, largely gave way to second home owners, otherwise known as the summer colony, from 1870 through the 1920s, transforming a street dotted with Colonial homesteads and farmland into one lined shoulder to shoulder with large, architecturally impressive summer homes frequented by the world’s most recognized personages, such as John D. Graham, a Ukranian-American mentor to Jackson Pollack and Willem de Kooning, a relative of the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, of Highclere Castle, more famously known today for the Downton Abby television series, and movie stars like Ginger Rogers, James Stewart and Gary Cooper.
Situated next to the town pond, the occupants of South Main Street cottages benefitted from more recreational pleasures than the average, landlocked summer getaway, such as fishing, walking, bicycling, sailing, ice skating, and more, not to mention the stage coaches and ice cream carts traveling up and down the street all day long throughout the summer season. The original summer cottages of South Main Street have endured both the test of time and unpredictable public values by being diminished by only five since 1887. Local author Sally Spanburgh uses her historical and architectural expertise to tell the stories behind the construction and occupants of these beautiful summer homes, continuing with those which line Lake Agawam’s eastern shore.
Available at the Southampton Historical Museum.