Sag Harbor ARB Sleuth Discovers Shed’s Origin

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The accessory structure at 22 Suffolk Street. HPARB photo

By Christine Sampson

The nature of a small building at the rear of Brandon Haley and Anna Flett’s 22 Suffolk Street property was revealed to be a former laboratory and factory at the May 25 meeting of the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review.

The building’s origin puzzled board members when they reviewed plans to demolish the structure at their May 11 meeting. The board’s historic preservation consultant, Zach Studenroth, said the building looked like an old schoolhouse, but board member Bethany Deyermond later tracked it down in “Sag Harbor: The Story of an American Beauty,” a village history written by Dorothy Zaykowski.

Ms. Deyermond said she became curious about the building two meetings ago after Ken Conrad, who lives on Palmer Terrace behind the Haley-Flett property, and who is a descendant of the Eaton family, spoke up to say the structure had been used by his grandfather as a workshop before his main factory was built on Jermain Avenue.

“A house on Palmer Terrace had originally belonged to Eaton — I kind of just put two and two together,” Ms. Deyermond said Wednesday. “The two pieces of land were connected to one family. They called it a laboratory-factory, and that’s why it had those big windows. We were trying to figure it out — was it a school or a church? I was just curious and kept looking until I found it.”

A subsequent report by Mr. Studenroth detailed the successful efforts of two Sag Harbor inventors, William S. Eaton and his son, Edmund P. Eaton, who were the ones who built and used the laboratory and factory for a watch-and-dial company and an engraving and printing machinery company.

The structure — which the ARB toured on May 18 — will ultimately be demolished to make way for a new one-story, three-bedroom house, because neither it nor the existing main house is listed on the village’s survey of historic structures. The ARB approved Mr. Haley and Ms. Flett’s application, with the exception of the proposed pool. That will be requested on a separate application in the future, which will also include a detailed landscaping plan at the request of ARB member Dean Gomolka.

“As for the new building you proposed, I think it’s fine. I think we all think it’s a pretty handsome building,” ARB chairman Anthony Brandt told Daniel Butler, the attorney representing the homeowners, on May 25.

The final ARB approval was 3-0, with board member John “Chris” Connor recusing himself because he is involved in the design of the project and board member Chris Leonard abstaining.

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