The Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church was originally founded in the 1660s. An early meetinghouse that once stood on the site dated to 1737. And the magnificent, 86-foot-tall, steeple-topped structure that graces the south side of Montauk Highway today was constructed in 1842.
With its grand history, eye-catching appearance and architectural pedigree, the church — featuring white clapboard walls, gabled roof, fluted pilasters and an oversized bronze bell in its belfry — has been viewed as a local landmark for 174 years. Now, it’s about to become official.
The New York State Board for Historic Preservation has just made the recommendation that the church be listed in both the New York State Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places, which typically results in the coveted designations.
“Listings in the State and National Registers can assist property owners in revitalizing buildings, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits,” said state Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., who announced the nominations in a December 20 release.
The listings are also a huge economic development tool: “Spurred by credits from the state Historic Preservation Office, developers invested $550 million statewide in 2015 to revitalize properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places,” Mr. Thiele said. And state homeowners invested $12 million on improvements to help revitalize historic neighborhoods.
The Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church, the third consecutive church building to serve its congregation, was one of 26 historic properties nominated statewide, and the only one hailing from Long Island.
The nominating documentation assembled by state researchers in November lists five separate architectural styles that were used over time to create the church.
“In its present form and design, the church combines distinctive elements of the Federal, Greek and Gothic Revival styles, with important additions that characterize the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles in vogue during the later Victorian period,” the report’s summary page says.
“As a whole, the church and its several additions and alterations form a unified architectural program, and despite the decades that elapsed between its original construction and later expansion, present a harmonious and unified composition,” it adds.
The state and national registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, landscapes, objects, sites and districts — like the Sag Harbor Historic District, for instance — that have been deemed “significant” in the history, architecture, archeology and culture of the state and the nation.