As the 19th century readied to turn into the 20th, wealthy New Yorkers turned to the shores of Eastern Long Island to buy property and build retreats for themselves. Locally, the Noyac Cottage Association was developed to serve that purpose for a select and privileged group of families who wanted to capture the cool breezes off Peconic Bay, and escape the stifling heat of Manhattan during the summer.
One of the original members of that association —Â which is now called Northampton Shores and sits cosseted on the bay shore between the water and Noyac Road adjacent to the Morton Wildlife Refuge — was William Cauldwell, a state senator who built a Queen Anne-style cottage just steps from the bay there in 1882. This week, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation nominated the house to the state and federal governments’ registers of historic places.
The property makes the list for two reasons: one, that a person of note built and lived in the house, and, two, that the building itself is of architectural importance.
The Cauldwell house is, notes the nominating paper, “one of a few remaining late-nineteenth and turn-of-the-twentieth-century summer residences representing the era of the cottage association.”
The house is a three-story, three-bay wide, shingle-sided, wood-frame building with a cross gable roof that is in the Queen Anne style, and also includes elements of rustic stick design that was popular in the period. Decorative elements include sawtooth clapboarding in the second level and bay gable ends, a porch with decorative corner brackets and bay windows and dormers with copper hoods.
Cauldwell, who was elected to the state senate in 1867 as an anti-Tammany Democrat, represented Morrisania and Westchester County until 1879. His greatest political contribution was to lead the annexation of Morrisania to New York City in 1874, “literally having a direct hand in the mid-to-late nineteenth century physical transformation of the city.”
The proposal is expected to be signed by NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash in the coming weeks.