(Mostly) Digital Local History Resources

SHHS is busy getting ready for our Annual Benefit Party fundraiser this coming weekend (June 20th from 6-8 pm) at Breakwater Yacht Club, but the new Boatshop is open for visitors!

We’ve had some requests about genealogy in the past, so SHHS wanted to share a couple great resources for genealogists:
The Suffolk County Historical newspapers are largely online. The Sag Harbor Express and Sag Harbor Corrector are available online here.

A lot of local manuscript materials, including deeds, wills, and whaling logs ended up at the East Hampton Library, and many are digitized online here.

SHHS also has a collection of photos that were part of the Historic District expansion back in 1994. Our set isn’t complete, but it has many historic houses–and houses that were built more recently in Sag Harbor. These aren’t yet digitized, but we’re definitely looking into it!

Photos from the Historic District expansion application process

Photos from the Historic District expansion application process

Photos from the Historic District expansion application process

Photos from the Historic District expansion application process

And Sag Harbor Partnership has taken material from the SHHS Walking Tour guide, and some other local institutions to create an app for the Sag Harbor Cultural District. This app is scheduled to be released in the next month, we’ll be happy to let you know more soon!

SHHS and Preservation Tools

SHHS is committed to education and preservation. As part of that mission, we have tried to respond to the growing preservation debate in Sag Harbor by developing resources to help support people new to Sag Harbor’s existing zoning and the Historic District that encompasses most of the Village. Over the next year, we will be publishing more of these tools and programs.

We are currently putting together a panel discussion on preservation, bringing together voices from some of Sag Harbor’s boards (Zoning, ARB, Planning), along with the real estate community. We hope this panel will help identify resources that are needed and can be developed, and make existing resources better known. If you have suggestions for this panel, please contact us.

As the first of these efforts, SHHS and our website developers at Application Arts, Inc. have helped SHHS offer a searchable map of Sag Harbor’s Historic District to help determine if a property is in the Historic District.

SHHS Annual Meeting and Summer Dates


This weekend, SHHS began our summer weekend regularly scheduled openings of the Annie Cooper Boyd House. The Annie Cooper Boyd House will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 pm until Labor Day. We will also strive to accomodate guests who schedule an appointment in advance, should you be unable to visit during our regularly scheduled hours. To schedule an appointment, please email office@sagharborhistorical.org or call 631-725-5092.

The Annual SHHS Meeting will be this coming Saturday, May 30th at 3 pm. Our ribbon cutting ceremony for the William Cooper Boat Shop will include some history of William Cooper’s whale boats, along with a sneak peak of the inside of the Boat Shop. Refreshments will be served, and a review of some of the upcoming events and recent projects will be offered.

This Summer, SHHS will offer two mini-exhibits, one on local poet George Sterling, and another on Alvin Silver, will accompany the ongoing exhibit highligting some of the unique gifts given to the SHHS over the years.

Tickets for our Annual Benefit Party, which will be June 20th, are on sale via the website, or by calling the office at 631-725-5092.

Our Fridays on the Porch series returns in July, starting on July 10th, and then on July 24th, August 7th and 21st. Fridays on the Porch is a free (donations gratefully accepted to offset the costs) event open to the public with refreshments. Each week we offer a program, exhibit, or activity of some sort. Our first “Fridays” will feature Whitney Hansen and Alex Eames new book That’s Another Story. The co-authors will read from their book and display some of Whitney Hansen’s paintings that accompany the book.

Our second July speaker will be Mark Edward Cappellino, who will speak on issues related to conservation, preservation of wetlands, and Sag Harbor’s waterways.

Boat Shop Opening Sneak Peak

SHHS will have an official opening of the William Cooper Boat Shop during our annual meeting on May 30th. However, we do have some pictures of the progress so far!

The nearly-finished boat shop building

The nearly-finished boat shop building





Keep your eyes out for your SHHS newsletters, where Chuck Lattanzio speaks about why he worked with SHHS on the Boat Shop project, and Sag Harbor history. SHHS will also be hosting more programs for children in our new space, so keep your eyes out!

Gail Gallagher’s posts on Annie Cooper Boyd

From time to time, SHHS gets a visitor at the Annie Cooper Boyd House who shares Annie’s passion for creating images. During the end of the last Board of Trustees meeting, the wonderful Gail Gallagher stopped in to explore the Annie Cooper Boyd House. Gail is a painter who maintains a blog, and she produced a beautiful series of blog posts with gorgeous images of what saw at the house.

Her initial post describes how some of the books sold through our website and at SHHS’s Annie Cooper Boyd House got her interested in Annie Cooper Boyd as a fellow artist:

“I recently read the wonderful book, Anchor to Windward, The Paintings and Diaries of Annie Cooper Boyd. The book’s editor, Carolyn Oldenbusch, offers a glimpse into the life of one of Sag Harbor’s early artists by combining quotes from Annie’s diaries with sketches and watercolors. There are also some precious early photographs. The book is an introduction to a woman that I immediately wanted to know more about.”

Gail Gallagher, Painting the Hamptons “Annie Cooper Boyd”

Here’s a few teasers from her initial visit, where she focused on many of Annie’s decorative details:

Gail Gallagher's detail of the fireplace decorations Annie created from seashells.

Gail Gallagher’s detail of the fireplace decorations Annie created from seashells.

Gail Gallagher's beautiful image of the Annie Cooper Boyd House covered in snow on the morning she came to visit.

Gail Gallagher’s beautiful image of the Annie Cooper Boyd House covered in snow on the morning she came to visit.

Gail Gallagher's photo of the windmill Annie painted on a door inside her home.

Gail Gallagher’s photo of the windmill Annie painted on a door inside her home.

Gail has since returned to SHHS,to see the bathroom mural Annie Cooper Boyd painted in her bathroom, and she has written a well-researched post about Annie’s influences as an artist.

Her artist’s perspective shows in both of these post.

Gail Gallagher’s photo of Annie’s bathtub mural, looking from the bathroom mirror.

Gail’s own artwork is inspired by the landscapes she encounters in the Hamptons, and she immediately recognized this same influence on Annie Cooper Boyd. Readers will quickly see the connections between Annie’s images and present-day painters like Gail through Gail’s insightful words. It is easy to see the connections to many of Annie’s waterfront local scenes with fluffy clouds when looking at Gail and Hugh Gallagher’s paintings.

Hugh Gallagher’s “Long Beach” painting from 2014 has clouds and waves that call to mind some of Annie’s similar settings.

Gail Gallagher’s painting “Dering Harbor” also has clear connections to Annie’s color choices and textures.

Gail chose this image of one of Annie’s many sailboat paintings, and the landscape connections are very visible here.

Check out her posts on Annie’s influences as an artist to learn about who–besides William Merritt Chase–helped Annie develop her skills as an artist!

Gail also wrote about Annie’s life in the 1880s as a young woman in New York City. Check out all of her Annie Cooper Boyd posts here:

Volunteering with SHHS

SHHS is a volunteer organization, and we have had inquiries about how someone could volunteer with SHHS over the last year. We would love to have more volunteers!

What do we need help with?

SHHS trustees will train volunteers if you are willing to learn. These are things we need help with:
•Grant writing
•Fundraiser planning, hosting, organizing
•Monitoring Village Government meetings relating to Historic Preservation
•Guest blog posts or digital photography
•Graphic design for pamphlets and signs
•Newsletter article writing, production, and mailing
•Digital text transcription of historical documents: diaries, letters, etc.
•Conducting Oral histories
•Repairing, cleaning, and preserving historic tools for the William Cooper Boatshed
•Monitoring Village Government meetings relating to Historic Preservation

Maintaining the Annie Cooper Boyd House and grounds:
Weeding and clearing backyard
Constructing a wellhouse to cover our well

Historical research on:
Nancy Willey
Nancy Willey and her Frank Lloyd Wright House
Oakland Cemetery
Architecture and local buildings
Genealogy of local families

Program development:
Walking Tours
School Programs
Public Lectures
Docent at the Annie Cooper Boyd House
Docent walking tours
Docent at the Sag Harbor Jail Museum

 Is there something you are trained in, interested in, or experienced with that you would like to help SHHS with? We welcome suggestions! Email us

Breaking Ground for the William Cooper Boat Shop

SHHS breaking groundLoyal newsletter readers may remember that plans to expand or rebuild an outbuilding on the property to create an exhibit and education space. The building plans have changed several times, but this week SHHS received our building permit to create a new accessory building using a gift from Trustee Barbara Schwartz. Our builders broke ground, and we look forward to sharing the progress with you!

breaking ground 2



Fridays on the Porch Recap

As everyone starts to settle into their fall routines, some of you may be missing SHHS’s summer “Fridays on the Porch” series.
Here’s a few pictures, recapping the series.

Our first Friday, July 11th, our Long Island Railroad exhibit had an official opening. Exhibit creator Jean Held was on hand to answer questions about the exhibit.


Picture 1 of 47

On July 26th, SHHS hosted a “Show and Tell,” inviting our members to bring a treasured object or a mystery in to share. The event was a huge success, and we hope to make it an annual occurence.

Turnouts continued to be huge for our August guest speakers. Michael Leahy from the Committee to Preserve Historic Cedar Point Lighthouse became our first speaker to offer two sessions of his presentation. Mr. Leahy spoke in our back room (where Annie hosted tea guests), which provided a bit more distance from the socializing crowds on the porch. Mr. Leahy’s August 8th presentation offered insights to the plans for Cedar Point park and lighthouse, along with a history of the lighthouse.

We expect Bill Clark III, who spoke August 22nd, will hold the record for his turnout for quite some time. Mr. Clark offered an astonishing three sessions of his presentation. A sixth generation ferryboat captain, Mr. Clark spoke about his family’s history running South Ferry and the developments in technology that changed the ferry service.

Hotels in the Railroad Era

Perhaps the most famous hotel in Sag Harbor is the American Hotel, with a prominent Main Street location.  Addison Youngs and his father-in-law Captain William Freeman opened the American Hotel in 1877, as on the first hotels on Long Island to offer the conveniences of electric lights, steam heating, and indoor plumbing. Previously, the building existed as a commercial space for furniture-maker Nathan Tinker, on the site where James Howell operated an Inn in the pre-revolutionary period. The structure that currently stands is not pre-revolutionary, and it reflects construction after the 1845 fire. It reflects the c. 1880 expansions and additions of Addison Youngs. These expansions included the iconic front porch, which is now a popular dining area.

Also near the American Hotel was the Mansion House, located in the present-day municipal building. Built in 1846, in the glory days of the whaling industry, the Mansion House also provided a free carriage service to the steamboats. The Mansion House hotel included several shops.  One of the shops was the pharmacy operated by local anthropologist-historian-pharmacist-photographer William Wallace Tooker.

Near the present-day Corner Bar, the Oakley family built an expansion of their Nassau Hotel. However, the Nassau Hotel caught fire in 1854, and by 1859 the Oakley family had to auction the hotel. The new owner continued to operate a hotel under the name Nassau House on the site.  Other fires and remodeling influenced the ownership and façade of the hotel. By 1894, Nassau House was remodeled into the four-story building with modern utilities remembered as the Hotel Bayview.

This image of the Hotel Bayview was published in Dorothy Zaykowski's book, it originally came from the collection of Otto Fenn.

This image of the Hotel Bayview was published in Dorothy Zaykowski’s book, it originally came from the collection of Otto Fenn.

Several boardinghouses operated in the village during the 19th century, including a few that catered to specific summer clientele, like the Lobstein House, the Lily Pond House, the Lundhurst Hotel, and the East End Hotel, and the Bijou Hotel.  From 1891 until 1970, the preferred summer accommodations for the wealthy and celebrities was actually on Brickkiln Road outside the village. This hotel was called the Sea View Hotel (later Hill Top Acres) operated on Brickkiln Road.

21 hotel Lundhurst

For the less famous, Hedges House opened in 1817, across from the Nassau Hotel, catering to sailors during the heyday of the whaling industry. Betsy Josie also operated a boarding house on Meadow Street, in the path of the railroad. Her fight with the Long Island Railroad is featured in SHHS’s current exhibit on the Long Island Railroad in Sag Harbor.