Last week, when Stacy Ludlow was driving down Halsey Lane in Bridgehampton en route home to Mecox Bay Dairy where she and her family make cheese, she noticed that a lovely old farmhouse dating from circa 1720 was being torn apart.
The house, on the corner of Paul’s Lane, had been in the Halsey family until 1961 and still contained its original charm including a central chimney radiating out to three fireplaces (one still with its beehive oven) and exposed beams. Ms. Ludlow immediately went to work to look into having the house moved the short distance to her land so that her son could become the live-in guardian of the antique relic.
As she waited for a team of moving men to estimate the cost and logistics of the move – a straight shot down Halsey Lane – people continued to descend on the house to cart away vestiges of its historic past. On a trip back she met someone from the Westhampton Beach Historical Society who was trying to save what he could. But, if she were going to take the house, she naturally wanted its parts to be intact. He agreed to hold off.
However, the other day she noticed that the front door knob was missing and realized that people were still removing historical items. She heard that the historical society had allowed its members to scour the place in return for a donation to the society.
When she returned Monday she saw that the builder, James Zizzi of Quogue, had begun to systematically dismantle the house, piece by ancient piece. She was told that the property owners did not want the house, for which they paid $4.8 million, moved but they did want it out of the way so they could move quickly to build their 18,000-square-foot abode on the 1.6-acre property. Though the listing by Frank and Dawn Bodenchak of Saunders touted the property as an “authentic farm cottage on grand estate section parcel,” apparently the owners were only interested in the lot, which overlooks protected farm fields and a reserve.
On Tuesday she was told by the builder that the owners had donated the house to the historical society. “It’s very sad,” said Ms. Ludlow. “There was a legitimate offer to move this house and now it’s a pile of rubble. There really should be something in place to preserve these old homes. It’s our history going down the drain.”