Monday, April 26, 2010

'Bayberry Land'

'Bayberry Land', the Charles Hamilton Sabin estate designed by Cross & Cross in conjunction with the landscape architect Marian Cruger Coffin c. 1918 in Southampton. Sabin was at one time president and later chairman of the Guaranty Trust Company and his 1933 obituary called him one of the most prominent figures in American finance. Both Sabin and his wife Pauline were ardent anti-prohibitionists, his wife being chairman of the Women's Organization for Prohibition Reform. Sabin was also on the board of numerous other companies and belonged to variety of clubs (including what seems like every major golf course out east). According to Houses of the Hamptons, 'Bayberry Land' was purchased in 2001 by a businessman with intentions to turn the site into a golf course. After a drawn out battle with the town the house was demolished in May of 2004. Click HERE to see where 'Bayberry Land' stood on google earth. Interiors tomorrow.

Click below to see 'Bayberry Land' intact and still standing in a 1954 aerial shot. Pictures from Architectural Review, 1919.


magnus said...

The property was purchased by a Long Island business man who used it as the nucleus for the Sebonack Golf Club (membership fees are apparently $650,000 and memberships went like hotcakes to all the usual private equity and hedge fund folks in the Hamptons who might not have been quite to the taste of the more rarified Shinecock Hills and National golf clubs). The property had previously been owned by a union which used it as a summer retreat for its members. The man who developed Sebonack maintained that the main house was beyond repair. Others claim that that wasn't the case at all. I suppose that it's a moot argument at this point. Too bad. The house looks absolutely appropriate to its setting.

Turner Pack Rats said...

jeez zach - i hope you didn't sign the permit to demo this one. to think that ones like this and matinecock farm can still be torn down in this enlightened (?) age. they could have all those extant neo-cols if we could keep more like this. such an eclectic collection of details like that second floor bow window and magnus is right - absolutely integrated to its setting.
looking forward to the interiors.

OMG!!!! zach has security words. yea!!!
security word def - "voituers" - 19th century transportation for dyslexics

Zach said...

As a preservationist it would be odd for me to sign a demo permit to anything short of a shack much less a house like this. As for the security words...the spam attacks became too much for me to deal with one by one so I hope this takes care of it. I hope no one minds.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Isn't it astonishing? A friend took me out to see the place in the 80's. Even in its institutional drag, the quality of the place was unmistakable. The house, and more the landscape, did suffer during its occupation as a retreat for the Electrical Worker's union, but nothing past restoration. It was one of the best examples of its type, important in landscape, architecture, and social history---its owner, Pauline Sabin Morton was quite a political power, and one of the forces behind the repeal of prohibition---and one would THINK that a developer of a golf club should be pleased to have this as a centerpiece, to say nothing of the good PR it would have brought him. The drawn out legal battles must have produced fees that would have gone a long way to preservation. But most of all, shame on the town of Southampton for not having better preservation laws. Blaming the developer goes only so far---a developer, however insensitive, can only do as much damage as a town's ordinances allow.

If a community cannot take responsibility for its treasures.

Anonymous said...

keep up the good work

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Handsome house with a low-slung swagger. Really charming profiles, silhouette of roofline. It must have been a pleasure to drive up to and spend time in. At least if the interiors complemented the exterior; lots of rush seats, plain scrubbed floors, oak, etc, but not heavy.

Turner Pack Rats said...

zach - i love the security words. i've been putting definitions for them on dilletante blog for some time and you have to have them or you'll get taken over by the spam.

i looked again and saw i had missed that neat little balcony on the bungalow like roof. this is such a friendly looking house. someone would have to be one cold bastard to tear it down.

security word def - "dysawfli" - how much i like dis blog

French said...

Pathetic that this could not be preserved.

Anonymous said...

The usual quote, "the property was beyond repair" is development code for "I bought this place to bulldoze, not preserve". A disgrace that the town and its citizens allowed a magnificent piece of local history to be carelessly destroyed. The original construction probably puts to shame the wood frame collection of buildings now dotting the golf course. Foolish waste of resources and craftsmanship that cannot be duplicated at any price.

Jennifer said...

The property was NOT beyond repair. My last stay there, in the bungalows, was during it's last months standing. The house was a gem, little secret passages behind bookcases, reminded me of Clue, the movie. There was one area of the second floor that was cordoned off but that didn't stop me from going beyond that point. There was nothing beyond repair in that house. My girlfriends and I snuck into every crack and crevice we could fit it knowing we'd never see it again. Such a shame Sebonack didn't preserve it for a clubhouse. It will always be Bayberry Land to me and my fellow brothers and sisters of IBEW Local 3.

Anonymous said...

As a kid, I remember going to Bayberry Land in the 60's in the summer for some open house type thing while visiting my Uncles' family-he was a prof. at Southampton College and lived in Country Club Estates, a short drive away. I was entranced by it, thinking the property was so glamorous. Sorry to see the Manor torn down. We used to ride our bikes and sneak on to Shinnecock and National just for the thrill of it

Lynn Russell said...

More than gracious, a complete contrast to the ham handed behemoths popping up today that lack the barest elements of craftsmanship.

Lala Lopez said...

As a child of a member of local union #3, I spent every summer in Bayberry Land from the time I was born in 1988 to the time is was sold. I also went to the summer sleep away camp that was on-site called Camp Integrity. As you can imagine, I was devastated when I heard that it would become the golf course that it is today. I recently browsed the website of the new golf course and was torn up inside that just a cultural institution and fine piece of history could be destroyed.

As a child, we would round up a group of kids on humid, summer nights and we sneak past our parents to play manhunt in the creaky attic of the manor house. The attic was pitch black, so when enlisted our trusty flashlights, we were only to discover that the dusty, untouched attic was sprawling with antiques from the original owners. All the kids were convinced that the manor house was haunted. I wasn't so convinced but I did think that it was the coolest thing I had ever encountered. Occasionally, there would be bats that would come inside the vastly spanning rooms with the infinitely high ceilings - scaring all the women and children out of the manor house and out into the patio garden just outside where there was wisteria hanging on the walls when the grounds were well taken care of. It was as my experiences in the manor house alone were right out of a movie.

In the same 'manor house', there was a library that had hidden bathrooms and passageways if you found the right spot of the bookshelves to push. The original books from the owners still remained on the shelves - they were antiquated and enchanted. The library looked out onto this brilliant field of green where there once was a grand fountain. Some couples were so entranced by the romanticism of this area of Bayberry Land that they chose to get married right there - where the sun was the brightest and the sky seemed so low - you could almost touch it.

I would climb atop the concrete walls and walk along it to feed the birds that liked to perch themselves there. I remember many a bruise and scrape I would get during those summers.

On the long driveway leading up to the property, there were deer that would greet you at the grand, wrought iron entrance. As you would continue to drive up the long winding path, there were farm houses that where the service people of the estate were housed during the time the original owners lived there.

The land was larger than anything that I could possibly imagine as a child. To me, Bayberry Land was my second home - a place where my inhibitions and imagination could run as wild and free as the land was itself.

Bayberry Land was were I had my first crush and reveled in the joy of being a child with no cares and no worries in the world. It gave me the opportunity to wander and feel safe. To wonder about life outside of myself, it allowed me to embark on a neverending journey of curiosity because I would never know what turn, what I would discover next. With all of its majesty and magic, it is without a doubt that those summer days spent in Bayberry has shaped me into the spirited person I am today with unending thirst for adventure.

I know that this wonderful blog is focused on the preservation of properties and estates like Bayberry Land but I had to share my personal account and experience of this incredible property. I hope you enjoyed it!

Douglas Russo said...

I could read your response over and over. I too visited bayberry every summer and wen to sleep away campnthere as well. Your words have just brought back so many memories thank you so much for this!!