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2013 Holiday Historic House Tour
"Historic Houses at the Center of Huntington's History"
Near and around the Village Green

This year's tour featured five private homes that were built in the 19th and 20th  centuries at the spot where Huntington's history began.  They are in the area of the original settlement of Huntington in the 17th century, that is in the broad valley that leads to Huntington Harbor on the eastern edge of today's village, from the corner of Main Street and Park avenue.  The tour also included the Kissam House, on the corner of Woodhull and Park Avenue, decorated in period holiday fashion.

The tour was held on Sunday, December 8th from noon to 4:00 pm.  The headquarters of the tour was at the Conklin House barn where refreshments were served and tickets were sold until we ran out.

Tickets, $35 for members until Friday December 6th, and $40 for nonmembers. 

Houses on the Tour

Huntington was first settled in the mid 1600s in the broad valley that today runs north on Park Avenue, from the Village Green to Huntington Harbor.  Although only a few remnants of those early settlement houses remain, this eastern end of the village, surrounding the original commons continues to maintain its residential character.  This year’s tour featured five private 19th and early 20th century homes, most decorated for the holidays, located near the town’s original settlement.  One of our sponsors Old Huntington Green Inc., was formed in the 1930s during the height of the depression, with the expressed mission to save and preserve the historic nature of this area.  Their Master Plan for the area was never fully implemented, but participants on the 2013 Historic House Tour will be able to visit several of the houses that have been saved and preserved by private and public efforts.

The 1881 home built by William C. Scudder replaced the 17th century Wood Family homestead on one of the original home lots in the early settlement.  A built in corner cupboard was saved from the original house and is in a second floor bedroom.  In the late 20th century, this property was known as “Sunny Pond Farms” and operated a farm stand.  The current owner has restored this magnificent house to its Victorian grandeur.  He will also be re-locating and restoring other historic homes to the property, developing an ‘Office Campus,’ thereby saving other historic buildings in the area. 

A bit removed from the Village Green but an added attraction to this year’s tour is a house that was built in 1897 by the Doughty family.  In the late teens of the 20th century, this house was bought by Nick Arnstein, the rogue husband of Fanny Brice of vaudeville and movie fame.  Fanny is quoted as saying: “That house was the only thing Nick ever bought. He made some money gambling and paid $14,000 for it.  I paid $25,000 to have it remodeled.”   Nick had bought the house for Fanny and their children as a summer get-away from the hustle and bustle of Broadway.  The re-modeling included a sweeping grand staircase and new and attractive fireplaces, all which can be seen on this year’s house tour.  Although Mr. Arnstein seemed to get in and out of trouble often and the marriage eventually broke up, the neighbors of this famous couple seemed to give him the benefit of the doubt.  They described the couple as being very ‘democratic,’ never putting on airs and being very kind and generous people.

A second 19th century Victorian house, located at the northern end of the Village Green will also be open to the public and decorated for the holidays.  This house was built on the harbor in the 1850s by the Rogers family of Huntington and enlarged by attaching a smaller structure to the rear.   In the 1950s the two structures were detached and both moved about a half a mile south along Park Avenue to its present location.  The main room in the house is high ceiled and has large windows that go to the floor.  The window surrounds are magnificently carved Eastlake style.  The ceilings have extensive molding that adds to the grandeur of the room.  The country kitchen and bedroom above are in the addition to the rear.

In 1885 and 1888 Wm. H. Lewis purchased a large tract of land on the west side of Park Ave., south of Main St.  He operated a number of businesses on the property including a poultry farm and various manufacturing businesses. The house at 611 was built on this large tract of land just south of the factory, in a similar style to the Lewis house.  In the mid-1890s, the factory employed 22 men and boys.  A Long Islander article dated Oct. 19, 1895 states: “Lewis was instrumental in bringing six families into Huntington, thus creating a demand for new housing.”  The same article related that he had “just completed a new cottage to the (south) east... and that Harry Lewis moved into the new building.”   By 1900 the Long Islander reported that “several residences and tracts of land belonging to Wm. H. Lewis were sold at foreclosure.”  The property was bought  and subdivided by Joshua Butler and in 1901 he sold lot C, 611 Park Avenue to John McKee.  The present owners of house have restored both the inside and outside to the original late 19th century style.

The north side of the ‘Road to Cow Harbor,’ as East Main St. was known  until the 20th century, was one of the original home lots laid out in the 1660s by the early settlers.  The property remained pretty much intact until well into the 20th century, with the exception of a house lot sold just west of here in 1873.   In 1901 John T. Robb, a wealthy summer resident from New Jersey with a large home in Huntington Bay, bought this large tract of land and began selling house lots along the main road.  Edward Morrison bought this lot and the lot to the east in 1907 with the small existing structure.  It was bought by surveyor Frank Asbury in 1911 and he enlarged the house with extensions to both the east and west ends of the existing structure.  He lived here until he died in 1954.

Besides the five private homes open to the public, this year the Society’s 1795 Dr. Daniel Whitehead Kissam house will also be decorated and open for viewing.  It stands on the Village Green in close proximity to several of the other houses.  This house was built on the Powell family’s original home lot, after the British burned the early settlement house down folowing the Revolution.  The present house, with its addition of an 1840 kitchen stands as a fine example of a typical Long Island ‘1/2 house.’  The upper chamber retains its original 1795 paneled wall that is considered to be one the best examples of late 18th century interior architectural detail.  It is a house well worth seeing and not open regularly to the public. 

The Society will have the house decorated for a Victorian Christmas including an exhibit of early toys and Fashions from the Society's collection.  Cookies from the historic bake oven will be served











































































































































































































Refreshments and Tickets at the Conklin Barn