Sunday, December 26, 2010

Southampton: Gin Lane, Tide's End, and Cidiots

Every morning, weather permitting, I would run on the beach. 

This is the street I was staying on

Which was two houses up from Gin Lane.

Now, if you don't know Gin Lane, then click here.  

One morning, I exited at Old Town Road. When I made the left on Gin Lane to go home, I saw this:

At the end of this plot of land is the ocean. 

Close ups of the entrance markers - The left marker

The right marker

I loved the entrance, the name of the house that once stood there; the surname. 
So VERY New England-ish.  I thought oh some über wealthy ego centric schmuck bought the house and had it ripped down, just because they could.

I thought about who lived there and imagined they had many, many summers filled with joy and laughter.
I wondered what happened to the Walker family.

So, I looked it up.

Here is how the house looked:

Gorgeous, right?

Here is what I found out:

(courtesey of )

Estate of Grenville Kane-Walker, 450 Gin Lane: demolish historic carriage/caretaker's house. This house and property (near Old Towne beach) has been on the market for awhile but has not sold. The theory is that it would sell easier if the lot were empty. This is an old horse barn or carriage house that became a caretaker’s house, and then when the main house (by J. Searle Barclay, whose style is evoked by the surviving caretaker’s house) was washed away in the hurricane of 1938, it became the principal house. It was built prior to 1916 and has been added onto and modified but it has vernacular charm and contributes to the narrative of the Village’s history and evolution. Only four people were notified officially about this demolition request. It needs a little tweaking (like removing some of the additions) and some ‘TLC,’ but then it would be a gem. The house is listed on the 1977 Inventory as “Tides End” and looks the same now as the photo on that inventory. There are great interior and exterior photos in the file at the building department.

And then there was this:

The Southampton Village Review Board approved a controversial tear-down request at 450 Gin Lane on Monday. The circa 1900 carriage house named Tide's End is part of the estate of Grenville Kane Walker, which is being sold by his daughter for $19.9 million.  The main house was washed away during the Hurricane of 1938, and only a few structures remain on the coveted land. The oceanfront property near Old Towne Beach reportedly has a buyer lined up on the condition that the house is torn down, according to the SH Village Review Blog. That site also reveals that board members were inclined to approve the proposal on the grounds that the carriage house is 'visually incoherent' without the original structure in place. ..

The following day, I exited through the Bath and Tennis Club 
and made a right to go home.

I stopped in front of a vulgar structure. The White House on Steroids.

Not on the beach side. 

I said out loud:

WHY? WHY did you build a house this large? (and not to mention aesthetically unappealing) WHY? I thought well, maybe they have a large family. And those children are grown and have children of their own, and the house is utilized. Maybe they house victims of domestic abuse and their children.

I saw the name : "Fox Hall" 

Again, I looked it up. I mean, fishermen, yes. Fox hunting, really? In 2010. In Southampton? Along a road that runs parallel to the beach? REALLY?

Turns out the home has 12 bedrooms. The doors and windows alone cost a little over one million dollars.

The home was built by a Banker from London. 

He uses it for the month of August, and that's it. My friend pointed out that, yes, there are many homes in LA that re this large, but at least people use them year round. Yes, I suppose there is that.

I now understood the nickname that many of the locals give the vacation homeowners: 


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