DAN'S PAPERS, August 27, 2010 Page 36 www.danshamptons.com
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“Joey seemed to think it was a root cellar,” said Dorothy. “I honestly don’t know what to say about this,” said Richard Jr., as his father got on his hands and knees to dig with a hand trowel and dust. Someone posited that perhaps the property had been a dairy farm, and this was a structure to store milk. In the meantime, Jean Held was examining the bricks. “They are really bright orange. They put a lot of junk in them,” she said. “The blocky ones may be European.” “But they used this structure for what?” asked Richard Sr., from the ground level, digging and dusting. “Have you found out when people lived here?” “It was a pretty upscale spot,” said Richard
Jr. “It was a huge estate,” chimed in Charlie Brennan, typically a man of few words. “Have you ever seen those concrete steps across on the other road?” I had. In a neighbor’s yard, facing a different street, were steps that seemed stuck right into someone’s lawn. Charlie thought it was all a part of the same piece of property. The landowner built steps to the bay beach at different spots. And who might that landowner have been? The area I live in is now called North Haven Manor. But on old maps, it is called “Hawthorne Manor.” This could very well have been the homestead of Julian Hawthorne (1846-1934), the handsome, bon vivant son of novelist
Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter). Julian attended Harvard where he excelled as a gymnast, swordsman and oarsman, then to Dresden University for civil engineering (he never received a degree). Julian Hawthorne worked for a few years in the New York City Docks Department, went abroad for 10 years, and met his wife to be, Miss May (“Minne”) Albertina Amelung. They married in New York in 1870, and Julian began writing his own novels in the decades that followed. According to Stacy’s calculations and research, he probably lived in North Haven in the 1880s. (One account reported that Julian was living on a farm on Long Island.) All of this made sense in terms of our findings. But the fact that this was the Hawthorne estate was not the hands down consensus of the collective of historians. Someone mentioned that this property was owned by the Corwins, who were dairy farmers. (There is a Corwin Street farther north, between Actor’s Colony and Ferry Road.) Someone else said a 1902 map identified the property as belonging to the Goodsells. We went back to the bricks, which Richard Sr. and Jean were categorizing. They pegged the flat ones as 1800s, post Revolutionary War. The blocky ones were most likely Civil War period. “What do you think about those colors?” Jean asked Richard Sr. “The closer they were to the fire, the redder they get,” he answered. By then, Tony and Joe had shown up. They all agreed that these most likely were not local bricks (like those made along Brick Kiln Road), which usually have an imprint. These had none. “The dark orange were imported from New England,” said Tony. Joe agreed, and pointed out that some of the bricks still had sweep marks from the brooms. Orange, with sweep marks pointed to New England as far as he was concerned. Joe also pointed out that these bricks had no char marks on them. Sniffing one, Tony agreed. Which meant this was not used as any sort of oven. We got back to what the structure was. Pointing to the fact that it was in an embankment, Tony felt it had to have been a root cellar. Richard Jr. pointed out that root cellars were never on the south side of a property, since that is the warmer side. And in fact, Hawthorne’s home was probably on the top of the hill; this spot would’ve been the north, and the opening to the structure itself faced North. Then Jean dropped the bomb. “I’d be interested to know what’s on the other side...” Tony picked up a shovel. Someone grabbed a small hoe. The bricks came down. It revealed that the back in fact was also two-bricks deep. And that side was built into the wall. Nothing else was found. I revealed a green plastic Lego box where I’d put in other bits and pieces that were unearthed. There was a broken piece of stemware (the bottom), definitely upscale. A (continued on page 38)
Published on Aug 27, 2010
Published on Aug 27, 2010
Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...