Brief History of the
Village of East Hampton
Mulford Farm on James Lane was built in the last quarter of
the 1600's by Captain Josiah Hobart. A year after his death
in 1711, it was sold to Samuel Mulford. The Mulford descendants
continued to live in the house until World War II, thus its
present name. The East Hampton Historical Society acquired the
farmstead in 1948.
design of the Village of East Hampton today is directly related
to the way the settlement was laid out in 1648.
settlers laid out their plantations in typical Puritan New England
fashion with a nucleus of houses and barns concentrated on either
side of a wide common and outlying lands divided into lots for
growing crops, pasturing livestock, and harvesting salt hay and
Hampton's broad common, which is now Main Street, was laid out
on the plain north of Hook Pond. The common was flanked on either
side by home lots of eight to twelve acres each. The home lots
extended from the common east to Hook Pond and west to what is
now Highway Behind the Lots.
adjacent fertile plains were divided into lots for crops and pasture.
The Eastern Plain extending from Egypt Lane east to Cross Highway
was divided into large lots defined and accessed by Further, Middle,
and Hither Lanes. Great Plain ran from Hook Pond to Lily Pond
and Little Plain from Lily Pond to Georgica Pond.
of the proprietors lived at the farmhouse on his Main Street home
lot and traveled to a number of scattered outlying lots to tend
to his crops and livestock. This pattern continued in East Hampton
into the twentieth century and even today farmers utilize some
of the same scattered outlying fields. East Hampton is one of
the few places where the original design of a seventeenth-century
New England agricultural plantation is still so evident.
discovery by artists of East Hampton's picturesque agrarian landscape
in the last quarter of the nineteenth century led to establishment
of the summer colony. The intact design of the original settlement
provided ample open land adjacent to the Main Street core for
new development. The heart of the summer colony extended from
the south end of Main Street into the open fields of the Great
Plain along Ocean Avenue and Lily Pond Lane.
Street home lots were also divided and new roads built through
them for new summer cottages on Huntting Lane and Dunemere Lane.
During the twentieth century the continued division of the original
home lots has resulted in the following residential streets: Fithian
Lane, The Circle, David's Lane, Pondview Lane, Dayton Lane, Meadow
Way, and Mill Hill Lane.
Eastern Plain began to be developed early in the twentieth century.
Here the large agricultural lots were suited to sizable estates
in comparison to the more modest scale of the earlier summer colony
on the Great Plains.
many landscapes, open spaces, and neighborhoods give the Village
its historic character. The Main Street core and many outlying
properties are reminders of East Hampton's first 250 years as
an agrarian community. Certain landscapes recall the picturesque
beauty of nineteenth century East Hampton which inspired the visiting
artists who promoted the Village as a summer retreat. The summer
colony of unpretentious shingled cottages which grew along Ocean
Avenue into the Great Plain developed its own open and informal
neighborhood character. The scale and openness of the larger summer
estates on the Eastern Plain compliment the few remaining open
greatly simplified, this summary of the evolution of the Village
demonstrates that many remaining open spaces and landscapes have
a vital historic and cultural value.
Robert J. Hefner is
the historic preservation advisor to the Village of East
Hampton. He directed the meticulous, historically accurate
restoration of Hook Mill, Gardiner Windmill, and Home Sweet
Home, among the finest of the Village's and early America's
historic structures. He edited "East Hampton's Heritage: An
Illustrated Architectural Record" in association with the East
Hampton Ladies Village Improvement Society (LVIS). The book is
available through the LVIS at
detailed History of the Village of
East Hampton is available as a downloadable PDF file.
more on the history of East Hampton, call for an appointment to
see the Long Island Collection at the East Hampton Library. Marcie Vail is the Head Librarian of the Collection. Also see The East
Hampton Historical Collection consisting of lectures, books,
photos, illustrations, posters, maps, and a documentary video -
all for sale at the Library. You can contact the East Hampton
Library at (631) 324-0222 fax: (631) 329-7184, and at www.easthamptonlibrary.org
Hook Mill by a few years, Gardiner Windmill was built by Nathaniel
Dominy V in 1804 on the East Hampton property of John Lyon Gardiner
the seventh proprietor of Gardiner's Island (the first Gardiner
spelled his name Lion). East Hampton is home to four historic
windmills, more than any other municipality in the United States.
Preservation and Historic Districts
is the policy of the Village of East Hampton to protect, enhance,
and perpetuate landmarks and historic districts in order to
promote the economic, cultural, educational, and general welfare
of its residents. The village has designated three historic
districts with many significant historic, architectural, and
cultural resources which constitute its heritage.
purpose of the village's historic preservation policy is to:
protect and enhance landmarks and historic districts,
• foster civic pride in the accomplishments of the past,
• protect and enhance the village's attractiveness to visitors,
• ensure the harmonious, orderly, and efficient growth and
development of the village.
with properties in the village's three historic districts cannot
make any change, except normal maintenance, in the appearance of
any of the significant exterior elements of their property without
first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness from the Design
Review Board. See chapter 176 "Preservation of Historic
Areas" of the village code for information on the designation
of historic landmarks and districts, the requirements for a
certificate of appropriateness for construction in historic
districts, and the application procedure for a certificate of
appropriateness. For more information, call Village Hall.
providing an overview of The
Historic Preservation of the Village of East Hampton
are available in a downloadable PDF file.The
following articles appear in this section:
"Preserving East Hampton's Heritage"
"Preserving Our Historic Open Spaces"
"Home Sweet Home"
"The Gardiner Home Lot"
"The Gardiner Mill"
"Nathaniel Dominy V: The Legacy of an East Hampton
"Main Street Historic District"
"The Hook Historic District"
"The Hunting Lane Historic District"
"Historic Distric Maps"