Flamingos Not Needed

Durell Godfrey

For more than a decade it stood vacant near the East Hampton Village train station, a Floridian-style house – stucco, flat roof, the sort of place that begs for a plastic flamingo on the lawn.

Recently, the next-door neighbors at 11 Sherrill Road, Jeff Williams and Tim Walsh, bought the property, and are building a new house there. The couple plans to return the style of the property to a time before that of its former Art Deco incarnation. Jack Thullen Construction is their contractor.

“It’s a new chapter for the spot on the block,” said Mr. Williams, who researched Sherrill Road and found that it was named after Samuel Sherrill, a 17th-century resident known by the nickname “Shipwreck Sam.”

The legend goes, according to Jeannette Edwards Rattray's "East Hampton History and Genealogy, that "Samuel Sherrill, first of that name in East Hampton, was the survivor of a shipwreck off East Hampton in about 1665. There was an old story that a Miss Parsons who was among some girls on the beach to look at the wrecked vessel remarked that she had seen the handsomest young man she had ever laid eyes on, among the survivors; and that if he should ask her to marry him, she would." He apparently did.

“The design of the house is more in keeping with ship captains’ houses in the past,” he said, adding that they may even mount a plaque dedicated to the original Sherrill.

According to Mr. Williams, the house that was demolished last month, was built in 1931, one of two models (the other still stands next door) of a development intended for affordable housing. The project failed.

When the duo bought the house, “It was condemnable,” said Mr. Williams. “There were plants growing from the basement through the floor.”

The pair plans to landscape both houses together, creating a compound. The combined houses will have eight bedrooms and eight full bathroom and one half bathroom.

The new house's roof peak will have “the appearance of a widow’s walk,” Mr. Williams said.  “Perhaps the widow is looking for her husband coming off the train.”