The Benjamin Foster Homestead
Two historic homes within the Town of Southampton were recently granted Landmarks Maintenance Awards through a new program managed by the town’s Landmarks & Historic Districts Board. Upon completion of their proposed maintenance projects, the owners of the Benjamin Foster Homestead in Watermill and the Foster-Downs House in East Quogue will receive $10,000 each for the cost of materials and labor. Both properties attained town landmark status last year.
“While about 2,000 historic properties have survived within the Town of Southampton, many are threatened by neglect or deferred maintenance. These buildings are part of Southampton’s heritage and identity. While we cannot remedy all of the needs, this program can help protect and preserve important buildings that are owned by concerned people under financial constraints,” said Councilwoman Bridget Fleming.
The Southampton Landmarks Maintenance Award Program (SLMAP) supports projects that contribute to the preservation and long-term sustainability of designated properties. Example projects may include exterior improvements; structural stabilization; window, door and shutter restoration; and the resolution of water-penetration issues. Applicants are required to have Basic or Enhanced School Tax Relief (STAR) status. The work must be completed in a year and verified by a Landmarks & Historic Districts Board member.
The Benjamin Foster Homestead, located at 84 Montauk Highway, Watermill (across from the Parrish Art Museum), was built before 1798 for Benjamin Foster, who was born in 1734. He was related to Christopher Foster, the first family member to arrive in Long Island from England in 1635. The main portion of the Foster Homestead is a one-and-a-half story half-Cape form from the Federal style period.
The Foster-Downs House in East Quogue is located in the heart of the hamlet at 556 Montauk Highway. It was built in 1857 for Capt. and Mrs. Josiah Foster. He was a whaling captain and also a descendant of Christopher Foster, who is buried in the adjacent Methodist Church cemetery. The building is a Greek Revival style (1825-1860) residence with later Italianate style embellishments.
Funding for the program comes from a Historic Preservation Reserve Fund that was funded as a community benefit by developers of the Sebonack Golf Club PDD to further historic purposes.
“We expect to award about $20,000 annually for the next five years. This provides another incentive to owners of undesignated historic resources to seek designation. In addition to the maintenance award, local Town landmarks are also eligible for a tax abatement program and a preservation easement acquisition,” said Sally Spanburgh, Chair of the Landmarks & Historic Districts Board.
Homeowners who are interested in submitting an application for a Southampton Town Landmark designation, should contact Sally Spanburgh: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 283-6000.