Historic Hall to Be Repaired

East Hampton Village Hall, built in the mid-18th century, is in need of repairs and renovation, a consultant told the village board last Thursday. Christopher Walsh

East Hampton Village Hall, the historic Beecher-Hand House, needs renovation and repair, a consultant told the village board at a work session last Thursday. 

The Rev. Lyman Beecher bought the structure at 86 Main Street, which was built in the mid-18th century, in 1800. The village acquired it in 1994. Beecher, who co-founded the American Temperance Society and is credited with ending the practice of dueling in America, fathered 13 children, including the abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” 

Capt. George Hand made significant alterations to the building in 1839, when he inherited it after the death of his uncle, Abraham Hand, a sixth-generation descendant of one of the original proprietors of East Hampton.

“The building is in need of paint and some repairs,” Drew Bennett, a consultant to the village, recently told the board. “You have a couple of leaks that need to be addressed before they get worse. You’ve certainly gotten an awful lot of wear out of the paint.” 

Needed repairs include reshingling a large part of the south wall, correcting a leak in the flat section of the south roof, rebuilding the chimneys, replacing soffits under the south and northwest corner roof eaves, the likely replacement of three or four window drip caps as well as sill and/or cases at six windows, replacing two areas of fascia trim, reconstruction of the front door, and reglazing the building’s 42 windows. 

Mr. Bennett estimated the cost of all the work at $235,000. He recommended adding interior storm windows, which would be custom-made and add $50,000 to the cost, and board members agreed.

“Over all, the building is structurally fine,” Mr. Bennett said.

  The project could be funded through the capital reserve fund, Becky Hansen, the village administrator, said. 

“We’ve put this off for a number of years now,” Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. said, adding that the building should be in a condition befitting the seat of village government.