Transaction Highlights, September 13 - 27 East

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Transaction Highlights, September 13

author on Sep 7, 2012

15 Lighthouse Road, 
Hampton Bays 

This property is .36 acre, with a modest-sized house and small detached guest cottage. Together, these structures total around 2,700 square feet, with three bedrooms and two baths.

Both structures have open floor plans and are vaguely contemporary. The houses were built in the early 1990s and are connected by a small deck, which overlooks a pool and yard.

As today’s zoning laws prevent the construction of multiple homes on one lot, this is an unusual miniature summer compound. It is only one house back from Shinnecock Bay and only a few houses down from Ponquogue Bridge, which connects Hampton Bays to Dune Road and the barrier beach that runs below Shinnecock Bay. Driving to the ocean beach would take less than 5 minutes.

Price appreciation has been modest here, with the last sale of this property in 2004 for $550,000, which makes this sale, 8 years later, a less than 3-percent annual return. Perhaps an explanation for the small return is because Lighthouse Road is busy and the house is not set back much from the road.

Those with an ear for history might ask if there is a lighthouse at the end of Lighthouse Road in Hampton Bays. The answer is no, but that was not always the case. When steamships carried cargo up and down Long Island, travelling through the bays inside the barrier beaches, a lighthouse was constructed here in 1858.

It was a big one, the tenth tallest in the world at that time, and built of brick. Its purpose was to provide a beacon along the island between the lights of New York and the Montauk lighthouse so that as one light 
faded away, another came into view.

It’s hard for us to imagine today, but this was once a world with very limited communication. And although the construction of the lighthouse took years, not all the men who traveled the world on tramp steamers knew about it until they encountered it for the first time.

Shortly after its completion, the steamer “John Milton” was headed back from Peru with a load of guano when it was caught in a gale and snowstorm. The captain mistook the new Hampton Bays light for the old Montauk light.

After rounding what was thought was the Montauk light, and turning east toward what the crew thought was the open sea, the John Milton ran aground near Ditch Plains. Approximately 30 men, all hands, were lost, most of whom were buried in East Hampton.

In the middle of the 20th century, as other navigation aids rendered lighthouses obsolete, there were preservationists who wanted the Hampton Bays lighthouse saved. But in the end the decision was made to remove it. Timbers were inserted into the base and it was doused with gasoline and set afire.

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