Jazz Age Vestige Lives On

This split-cedar building has been donated to the East Hampton Historical Society.
This split-cedar building has been donated to the East Hampton Historical Society. Morgan McGivern

    It has been surmised in New York magazine that if Gerald and Sara Wiborg Murphy’s property — 77 acres of oceanfront in East Hampton Village — were available for sale today, it could bring as much as $1 billion on the market.
    But some of the last vestiges of land and buildings belonging to those archetypes of the Jazz Age — F. Scott Fitzgerald used the couple as models for Dick and Nicole Driver in “Tender Is the Night” — were razed when the Pink House, which was really called Swan Cove, was demolished by Peter Solomon, the new owner, last year.
    The Solomons, who purchased the property on Highway Behind the Pond for $19 million only days after it came on the market in 2009, demolished the aging mansion but have professed their love for the style, and are building something more in keeping with current codes and regulations.
    However, there is a little piece of the Murphy estate that now resides behind Mulford Barn on James Lane — an octagonal outbuilding that Gerald Murphy installed on the property. Unlike the other famous, small octagonal house of the Hamptons — John Steinbeck’s writing studio on his property in Sag Harbor — this gazebo had no glass in its windows, leaving it open to the elements.
    “It sat right on the pond,” said Richard Barons, the executive director of the East Hampton Historical Society, the organization to which the Solomons gifted the gazebo.
    The little house is being stored on the Mulford Farm property until it can receive a bit of a face-lift. “It’s fairly decrepit,” said Mr. Barons. “But it has this wonderful Baroque style that Gerald Murphy matched in the home.”
    “We would like to put it in the garden behind the Osborn-Jackson House, after working with the zoning board and design review board, of course,” Mr. Barons said.