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Mulvihill Spring Farm Recognized as Historic Landmark

Posted on 26 November 2013

Mulvihill House


Two structures built at the turn of last century were recently recognized by the Southampton Landmarks & Historic Districts Board as being historically and architecturally significant and were subsequently designated landmarks by the town.

With the White-Collins-Mulvihill Residence at Spring Farm, Sag Harbor, and the former Shinnecock Hills Train Station and Post Office, the number of town landmarks now totals 18 properties.

The White-Collins-Mulvihill home and property, located at 820 Brickiln Road in Sag Harbor, is currently owned by the descendants of Daniel Francis Mulvihill who served as a naval liaison to the E.W. Bliss Torpedo Company and had purchased the property in 1921 and his wife, Anna C. McDonough. The property was once part of Spring Farm, which encompassed 110 acres before a 75 acre preserve was established in 2001 in memory of Daniel and Anna.

In 2006, another 25 acres was preserved in memory of their son, William P. Mulvihill, who was a teacher of history and an author of many published works, including “South Fork Place Names.”

The White-Collins-Mulvihill residence was built circa 1900 on a foundation of moraine stone in the form of a vernacular folk “I-House,” which was common in pre-railroad America. The home retains a high level of historic integrity. The main portion of the cedar-shingled home has a full-width front porch (now screened in), original windows with six-over-six light patterns and an offset brick chimney. A one-and-a-half story ell extends from the rear.

“The farmhouse was tall and many-roomed. Sitting high, it caught the breezes on hot summer nights,” William Mulvihill wrote in an article.

“Preserving these structures is critical to maintaining the character and heritage of our town and truly gives us a window into the past,” said Bridget Fleming, Southampton Town councilwoman. “Moreover, now that the residence at Spring Farm is a landmark, the town can offer further protection by considering the acquisition of the house and 10 acre parcel through the Community Preservation Department.”

She added that, should the town acquire the property, a celebratory hike through the reunited total 110 acre Mulvihill preserves would be scheduled for early spring.

The Shinnecock Hills Train Station and Post Office located at 100 Hills Station Road was built in 1887. With its cylindrical two-story tower based with stonework and topped with a turned wood finial, the shingle-style building with jack-arched windows on the western half survives as one of the most aesthetically pleasing and architecturally unusual train structures on Long Island.

Its design and construction supervision were performed by William S. Hoyt, who worked with contractor William Aldrich. With a house — which he had also designed — on Lake Agawam, Hoyt and his wife were among the first residents of Southampton Village’s summer colony.

In 1932, the Long Island Rail Road terminated service at the Shinnecock Hills station and the property was acquired by the U.S. Postal Service. The building continued to function as a post office until 1966.

The current owner is Mrs. Ellen Kirwin, who purchased the property with her late husband. Over the past 40 years, the Kirwin family has systematically restored and continues to maintain the building, which still has the original waiting room and ticket window.

Once a structure is designated a local town landmark, it also becomes eligible for a tax abatement program and a preservation easement acquisition. The town’s Landmarks & Historic Districts Board is also currently developing other incentives.

According to Sally Spanburgh, chair of the board, landmark designation often enhances property values, increases the historic integrity of the neighborhood and promotes its unique architectural character.

A landmark status does not prevent property owners from performing routine maintenance anytime, or from improving their property upon review by the Landmarks & Historic Districts Board, who help to ensure the integrity of a historic structure is preserved.

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