Gardiner Lot to Be Preserved

Historic preservation in the heart of East Hampton Village will be enhanced with the purchase of the Gardiner home lot, Robert Hefner, the director of historic services for the village, said at East Hampton Town Hall last week.

Mr. Hefner, along with village officials and civic group representatives, spoke in favor of a purchase of 3.7 acres of the original lot, for $9.6 million from the town’s community preservation fund.

Following the hearing, the purchase was approved with a unanimous vote of the town board.

After settling on Gardiner’s Island in 1639, said Mr. Hefner, Lion Gardiner was a “principal founder” of East Hampton, and in 1648 claimed the home lot at 36 James Lane, adjacent to the South End Cemetery, where he is buried, and Town Pond.

The property contains the 1804 Gardiner windmill, and a cottage where the miller once lived, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The mill cottage will be restored and the rest of the property maintained as an agricultural setting for the mill.

The home lot extends from James Lane to Hook Pond; the acreage to be purchased fronts on James Lane. The property is adjacent to a 1.3-acre agricultural reserve, Mr. Hefner said. Together the sites comprise more than half the original home lot.

Olney Mairs Gardiner, who is known as Bill, put the property up for sale last fall.

In the same area, half of the original 10-acre Mulford Farm is publicly preserved, as is the 6-acre village green.

The preserved area is the result of years of “careful work by many,” Richard Barons, the executive director of the East Hampton Historical Society, said at last week’s hearing. “It still looks as it did when Thomas Moran painted it, and Mary Nimmo Moran etched it into our memories.” The former Moran house, also nearby, on Main Street, has also been publicly preserved and is being restored. The Gardiner property, he said, has remained in the same family for more than 300 years, and “is one of the more intact Colonial lots.”J.P.