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2011 Holiday Historic House Tour
"Stepping back in Huntington's History"

The Huntington Historical Society, on Sunday, December 4th, from Noon to 4:00, arranged for the owners of five historic homes in the area to open their homes for the pleasure and edification of interested Long Islanders.  The 2011 House Tour celebrated the Society’s 100th anniversary of owning & operating the c. 1750 David Conklin Museum, where the tour was again headquartered.  David Conklin was a descendant of one of the founding families of Huntington in the 1650’s and several of the private houses on tour were originally built by other Conklin descendants of that first family.  The Conklin House was open for tours including our new exhibit "All Things Conklin."  Refreshments were served in the historic barn on the Conklin House property.

Please patronize our generous sponsors who make this tour possible.


Houses on the tour

The Conklin/Bixby House  c. 1870
A smaller and earlier house was built here shortly after the Civil War. The first owner is believed to have been built by a house builder Charles E. Conklin, who later moved to Brooklyn and worked in the navy yard as a ship builder. He died at his home in Babylon, but is buried in the Huntington Rural Cemetery. An early stone foundation still serves the main square block of the front part of the existing house.  Sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century, the present “late Victorian” structure was built that consisted of two reversed gable wings of the house.  The two story addition to the east done in the late 20th century replaced an earlier one story lean-to addition.  Although a fire destroyed much of the front half of the house in the late 1990’s, it has been restored to its former elegance.  Featured is a front parlor which today serves as a billiard room, a large dining room, a living room that runs the length of the east side of the house and a modern kitchen.

 The house was bought in early 20th century by Henry D. Bixby who owned a boat building business on the Mill Dam in Huntington known as Chute & Bixby.  Mrs. Bixby was an active member of the Huntington Historical Society and the Ketewamoke Chapter of the DAR through the first half of the 20th century.

William M. Davey Residence “Pidgeon Hill” West Hills, Huntington c. 1939
This c. 1939 country estate house was designed by one of Long Island’s most prolific architects of the post depression period. Bradley Delehanty 1888-1965, whose office was on Park Ave. in NYC, had a country estate in Oyster Bay where most of this design work was done.  Delehanty followed the precedent of other country-house architects who chose the more monumental forms of masonry construction over the traditional and indigenous wood-frame construction.  Pidgeon Hill, originally built on 50 acres, is an ambitious composition that incorporates a central, two story block with flanking wings of one story.  Four Doric columns support a colossal Greek Revival design pediment about the main entry.

In the 1980’s residents of West Hills formed an association to buy the house, then on 6 acres, to prevent a sale that would have been for a non-residential use.  The house remained vacant for almost a decade, falling in disrepair due to natural elements and vandalism.  Twenty years ago, the present owners bought the house and have painstakingly restored it to its original grandeur.  Interior architectural features include a graceful spiraling staircase, a wood paneled library, large dining room, a spacious living room and an enclosed sun porch.  An ultra modern kitchen with cherry wood cabinets is now included in this large but comfortable and somewhat cozy home

David Woodhull Conklin House c. 1830
The exact date of the construction of this house is unknown, but it was built on a large tract of land owned by the Conklin family on the west side of West Neck Road sometime in the late 18th to early 19th century.  Other nearby houses were also built and owned by Conklin families during this time.  The original builder may have been Timothy Titus Conklin, a 7th generation Conklin in Huntington and was lived in by at least 4 generations of the Conklin family into the 20th century.

 The main block is a classic 5 bay, 2 ½ story, center hall Federal style house.  The gabled roof had 4 interior end chimneys with a 1 story square columned porch covering the three center bays.  The main door way has side lights with flanking pilasters.  The 1 ½ story, 4 bay wing on the north side originally served as the kitchen wing with a fireplace that had an adjoining bake oven..  Wide plank flooring can be seen throughout the house and many of the windows and doors are original and retain their original hardware.

Jacob Coles Hewlett House "Owls Cote" - built in 1851
In December of 1851, the Long Islander reported that the new dwelling of Jacob C. Hewlett, of Cold Spring was discovered on fire. Mr. Rogers, who had charge of the work, lost considerable; and was also much burned himself in his endeavor to save the building. The estimated damage was $400.  Jacob Hewlett was a principal in the Cold Spring Steam Boat Dock Company and the surveyor of the Port of Cold Spring.

 The Huntington Historical Society has receipts dating from 1851 for the marble fireplace mantels which were replaced in the 1950's with mustard yellow tiles when the house was owned by the Gulden family of the Gulden mustard company.  This is a 5 bay, 2 ½ story gable roofed house with a large central wall-faced gable and deep overhanging eaves and cornices with round-ended panels, elaborately bracketed with drops.  The porch has turned columns with scrolling brackets.  The double leafed front door has a transom and pilasters with an elaborate cornice.  2 pediment dormers flank the central wall gable which has a double round-headed window and stick-style ornamentation.

John Buffett House c. 1770
The Buffett family settled in Huntington in c. 1690.  By the 1700’s, descendants of the original John Buffett who had married Hannah Titus in 1696 had farmland throughout the Town of Huntington.  A third generation John Buffett b. 1727 is believed to have built this house around the time he married Rebecca Ketcham in 1770. Eliphas Buffett, a son of that marriage built a second house, just south of here in the early 1800’s.  John, Ruth and Eliphas along with 7 other family members are buried in a cemetery behind that house.

 This is a marvelous, unaltered 18th century farmhouse built by a member of one of the most recognizable families in America in the 21st century.  The main block of the house is a 5 bay 1 ½ story gable roofed shingled house with 4 interior end chimneys. The windows are 12 over 12 sash windows.  A 1 story 3 bay gable roofed wing is to the west, with lean-to profile and 1 interior end chimney.  The entire house has a fieldstone foundation.  There are wonderful interior plank walls with wide plank doors that retain their original strap hinges and latches.

Tickets and Refreshments in the Conklin Barn

To learn about, and see scenes from, previous year's tours visit:
2010, "Houses with a view to History"
2009, "From Farm Houses to Country Living"
2008, "The Art of the House"
2007, "Five Centuries of Huntington Homes"