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2014 Holiday Historic House Tour

“Homes of a Soldier, Doctors, Merchants and Entrepreneurs in Huntington”              


Huntington was first settled in the mid 1600s in the broad valley through which Park Avenue runs, from the Village Green to Huntington Harbor.  By the end of the Civil War, a bustling metropolis was opened up by the coming of the railroad in 1868 and the commercial district had emerged in the broader valley to the west.  
 The 2014 house tour features homes where the Civil War veterans and the emerging merchant class built their homes.  Also included are homes built on the slopes that lead down to the magnificent bay to the north of the village.   In the late 19th & early 20th century large farms were bought and turned into estates and large homes built for wealthy urbanites to summer in during the “season.”

George F. Barr House

In 2015, the country will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.  It is fitting that this year’s tour includes the house of the oldest surviving Civil War  veteran in Huntington when he died in 1935.  As a young man in Massachusetts George F. Barr learned the jewelry trade. He joined the 52nd US Volunteers in 1861 and served three years in the Union army.  In 1869 he came to        Huntington and set up a jewelry business first in the original Brush Block (shown below) on the southwest corner of New York Avenue and Main Street and after the fire of 1888, in the new Brush building that was built after the fire.  In 1902 he became a partner with Charles Willis and the store moved to the north side of Main Street.In 1871, he married Lucie Anna Culver from Michigan.  In 1876, they had this French Mansard style house built by the local builder J.B. Lefferts.  Mrs. Barr, an early member of the Huntington Historical   Society, died in 1924. George Barr is pictured below outside this house with the other two surviving Civil War veterans in 1929.  He lived here until he died a couple days short of his 91st birthday in 1935.

Charles H. Fleet House

The June 26, 1868 edition of the Long Islander states: “We notice that the house which Mr. E. C. Lefferts is building for C.H. Fleet on Fairview street is enclosed and the masons are now putting in the walls.  It is going to be a very tasteful and pretty cottage and will be quite an addition to that part of the village.” 
Less than a year later in May, 1869, Charles H. Fleet ran the following ad in the Long Islander:  “HE UNDERSIGNED has removed to his New place of business, Second door west of the Suffolk Hotel, and adjoining the   Confectionery Store of Mr. John Fleet, where he intends to continue in the Staple and Fancy Dry Goods & Notion Business.”  Those stores are show in the late 19th century picture below.
Charles, a descendant of one of the original settlement families, was born in Huntington in 1822 and died in this house in 1884.  His son, Arthur B. Fleet and his wife Stella Brown raised their son Charles here.  The May 25, 1895 issue of the Long Islander stated: “The residence of Arthur B. Fleet, Fairview Street, is being piped for both water and gas this week.  Indoor plumbing had finally arrived at this end of town.  Mrs. Fleet held semi-monthly meetings of the Culture Club at this house in the late 19th century.

 Abraham Lincoln Field House

Abraham Lincoln Field was born in Dix Hills in 1870 and attended the little one-room school there for his early education before coming to the Huntington School for upper grades
A. L. Field married Agnes M. Conklin in 1891 and started his career in the grocery business in Huntington.  They moved to Torrington, CT where he conducted a livery business for a number of years before returning to   Huntington, where he had a successful career in the auctioneer, real estate and insurance business on New York Avenue. 
Field served 11 years as assistant postmaster, 2 years as overseer of the poor, 13 years on the Board of Education and was chief of the fire department for 25 years.  His picture as chief at the turn of the 20th century is shown below. A member and trustee of the Old First Presbyterian Church, he also served as a director of several banks in Huntington.  He was an founder of the Huntington Rotary and a  member of the Masons of Huntington.
It is believed that Abraham and Agnes moved into this house shortly after it was built when they returned from Connecticut in 1896.  In 1917     Abraham was elected as the supervisor of the Town of Huntington,  a position he held until 1928.  A 1922 quote from the Long Islander states: “ ‘Super’ Field is the sort of public servant who doesn’t seek publicity, but who earns it because of his public work.”

Heckscher Caretaker’s Cottage

The Heckscher Caretaker’s   Cottage was built c. 1899, when August Heckscher bought the house and property that had been built by Alfred Mulligan c. 1870. Heckscher purchased the estate in October, 1898 that he called “Land’s End” and added a large tract of land to the west that was owned by the Thurston family, today known as lower Wincoma.  He immediately began renovating the main house and      replacing the barns and outbuildings including this caretaker’s cottage. It is believed that Heckscher stayed in this house while visiting during construction.  The main house, pictured below, consisted of 68 rooms and was considered one of the most elegant houses of the day with   electricity and 12 baths.
Heckscher built a 110’x30’ greenhouse (pictured to the right).  Although the greenhouse is gone, both the cottages attached are homes today.  There are also a chauffer’s cottage, a boat house, a guest cottage, the stables and a gate house inside 10’ high brick pillars that once     contained wrought iron gates. These are located on the map to the right.
Although Heckscher left the estate in 1925, after the death of his first wife, the main house stood until 1941, coincidently the year he died.


Silver Top

 Lightning Strikes Twice: The August 8, 1902 issue of the Long Islander reported: “Lightning struck the large flagpole in front of John W. Aitken’s East Neck residence ’Silver Top’ and badly shattered.”   The August 14, 2008 issue of the Huntington News headlined Lightning suspected cause in Huntington Bay blaze.  After the 2008 fire, this beautiful home, was rebuilt in the image of the original “Silver Top” cottage that was built by the Huntington Company in the late 19th century. 
The Huntington Company purchased the Titus Conklin farm among others and began building large ‘summer cottages’ in 1888.  In July of 1889 the Long Islander advertises: “The Huntington Company - Villa Sites and Cottages For Sale -  One cottage to rent furnished, has reception hall, parlor, dining room, kitchen, five bedrooms, bath-room”
One of the principals of the Huntington Company was George Taylor (Taylor Road).  He enlarged an existing house on the neighboring Pedrick farm for himself.  Taylor was of  the firm Aitkin, Son & Co. owned by John W. Aitkin whose family spent many summers at Silver Top. 

Refreshments and Ticket Sales