Nice Historical Tour

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Nice Historical Tour

The Westhampton Beach Historical Society's inaugural His­toric House Tour went off today, seemingly without a hitch.

And despite less than optimal weather, approximately 100 of the genuinely interested, the mildly curious and the sim­ply supportive laid out $50 for the "self-guided" event.

I enjoyed it much more than I anticipated... I went into the event as one of the "simply supportive," and ended up firmly in the middle of the "interested" group.

Mainly I wanted to see what the homes on either side of me looked like today... I hadn't been in the Gill House1 since Mom Betts hosted a Super Bowl XXI bash in 1987.

While I wasn't afforded the opportunity to revisit the notoriously narrow stairway to the second floor, the rest of the homestead looked much as I remembered it from a quarter century past... with the notable exception of the black mable shower which seemed more suited to a Roman bacchanal.

But the reconstruction and restoration from the 1997 fire has been expertly done... good job!

I hadn't been in the Griffing Halfway House next door to me since midway in the previous owner's tenure almost 20 years ago, but the living room and the wet butler's pantry were exactly as I remembed them from the early '50s2, so a good job was done there as well.

(Bonus: I saw for the first time ever an ancient photo portrait of the woman, Mary Anna Raynor Griffing, for whom my mother was named.)

The four other houses on the tour were well-chosen3, but didn't hold the same interest for me.

I got a good laugh out of one of the tour destinations in Remsenburg...

Haggerty's place

...indentifed in the tour guide as "Wits' End," we always knew it, without affectation, as "Haggerty's place."

All credit to the Westhampton Beach Historical Society and its members who served as docents along the way.

But what're you gonna do for the next one?

  1. Identified as "The Howell Homestead, circa 1727" for the purposes of the tour.
  2. There's a great deal of personal history in the house. My mother lived there for more than 20 years, from her infancy to her majority, and she and my sister and I lived under the Griffing roof part of one Summer in 1954.
  3. I have a strong suspicion that the nefarious influence of local real estate concerns were responsible for at least two of the houses being included.


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