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May 30, 2018 2:01 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

East Hampton's Historic Conklin House Hits The Market

The Conklin House at 57 Accabonac Road in East Hampton. COURTESY SAUNDERS
Jun 3, 2018 4:06 PM

There are any number of structures in the Town of East Hampton named after the Conklin family, but the one causing a stir now is the Conklin House at 57 Accabonac Road that has just hit the market. The ask is $1,320,000, and Saunders has the exclusive listing.

To fully appreciate why this offering is a big deal, it helps to know that this particular Conklin House has been owned by only three families in the last three centuries. It hasn’t exactly been a commission-generator for local real estate agents.

Built in the mid-1700s, the Conklin House on Accabonac is one of the most important historic houses on eastern Long Island. A colonial-era saltbox with distinctive hand-hewn beams and historical interior features, it has been lovingly and meticulously preserved by those three families over the many decades. Regarded by preservation experts as the best example of an 18th-century saltbox house in the town outside the Village of East Hampton, the home was part of the development of the original East Hampton Main Street settlement.

Recognizing the home’s significance, the Town of East Hampton purchased a historic preservation easement on the property, ensuring key features would be preserved. When that was done by the Town Board in 2006, the cost was just $250,000, but it bought a lot of history because the house retains many original features both inside and out. Job Potter, a member of the Town Board at the time (he is now on the Town Planning Board), said, “The best fate for a historical house is for it to continue to be lived in and loved by its owners. The town cannot and should not buy every historical house. It’s not feasible economically for us to maintain them, and there’s a limit on the number of ‘museum houses’ we need.” It was determined, however, that this Conklin House was worth the cost.

On a 0.83-acre lot with old-growth trees, space for a pool, and pre-approval for an addition, the home features 4 bedrooms and 1.5 baths. Its four fireplaces, including one with an authentic colonial bake oven, hearken back to the earliest days of the town. Other striking original features that remain intact include paneling, doors, trim, very wide floorboards, and two stairways.

As we alluded to earlier, there is no lack of local structures connected to the multi-generation Conklin family in East Hampton Town. The Conklins got around, and apparently felt compelled to build a barn or a house wherever they stuck a shovel in the ground. One example is the Jedediah Conklin House on Main Street in Amagansett. Another is the Elisha Conklin Barn south of the highway in Wainscott. Perhaps giving a glimpse into the future of the Conklin House on Accabonac, the rustic Wainscott structure has been renovated into a 3-bedroom, 2-bath home with outside decking on second floor, and it can be expanded to 2,500 square feet on the 1.7-acre property.

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