East Hampton (town), New York

East Hampton (town), New York

Infobox Settlement
official_name = East Hampton, New York
settlement_type = Town
nickname =
motto =

imagesize = 250px
image_caption = Hook Mill


mapsize = 250x200px
map_caption =

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = New York
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Suffolk
government_footnotes =
government_type = Civil Township
leader_title = Supervisor
leader_name = William McGintee
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
established_title =
established_date =

unit_pref = Imperial
area_footnotes =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 999.5
area_land_km2 = 192.4
area_water_km2 = 807.1
area_total_sq_mi = 386
area_land_sq_mi = 74
area_water_sq_mi = 312

population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 19712
population_density_km2 = 102.5
population_density_sq_mi = 265.4

timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 10
elevation_ft = 33
latd = 40 |latm = 57 |lats = 25 |latNS = N
longd = 72 |longm = 11 |longs = 56 |longEW = W

postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 11937
area_code = 631
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 36-22194
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0949093
website = http://www.town.east-hampton.ny.us/
footnotes =

East Hampton is a town located in southeastern Suffolk County, New York and is the easternmost town on the South Shore of Long Island. As of the United States 2000 Census, the CDP had a total population of 19,719.

The town includes the village of East Hampton, as well as four official hamlets of Montauk, Amagansett, Wainscott and Springs.

It is home to the largest privately owned island in the United States and largest fishing fleet in the state of New York.

Natural attributes of the town (marked by eight state parks and numerous county, town, municipal and Nature Conservancy areas) have contributed to its reputation as a "Playground of the Rich" where seemingly anybody with major money in the New York City has an estate in the town. It is the eastern most point in the State of New York and surrounded by water on three sides. Two First Ladies spent their childhoods in the town and President Clinton spent his summer vacations there. Jackson Pollock created his most famous paintings in the town.

Its strategic location on the entrance to Long Island Sound and New York City shipping channels has resulted in military incidents in the town from the 1600s to World War II.


The town of East Hampton and the village of East Hampton are different political entities with the smaller village being within the bigger town.

East Hampton town is a peninsula forming the tip of the South Fork and is the easternmost point of New York State. It is surrounded on the south by the Atlantic Ocean, to the east by Block Island Sound and to the north by several bays emanating from Long Island Sound (including Gardiners Bay and Fort Pond Bay).

Since the convert|5|sqmi|km2|sing=on Gardiners Island is included in the town's jurisdiction, its northernmost point of Gardiners Point Island is further north than most of the North Fork with it being even approximately with the hamlet of Orient.

The town consists of convert|70|sqmi|km2 and stretches nearly convert|25|mi|km from Wainscott in the west to Montauk Point in the east. It is about six miles (10 km) in width at its widest point (from the village to Cedar Point) and less than a mile at its narrowest point at Napeague (where the town was split in half during the New England Hurricane of 1938 when the Atlantic washed over the peninsula). The town has jurisdiction over Gardiners Island which is the largest privately owned island in the United States. The town has convert|70|mi|km of shoreline. [ [http://www.town.east-hampton.ny.us/overview.cfm Overview - Town of East Hampton] ]

The town has less than half the land area of Southampton (which has about 145 square miles).

In terms of political boundaries, the Atlantic Ocean forms an international boundary to the south, water boundaries are to the east and north (Block Island, Rhode Island is to the east, Town of Southold on the north and Town of Shelter Island on the northwest. The only land border is with Southhampton on the west.


Since major notable events are constantly occurring in the town, many of the most notable homes and buildings are privately owned and not open to the public and not even on the National Register of Historic Places.

Native-American History

East Hampton was claimed by several Algonquin-speaking tribes (in the Mohegan-Pequot variant) with the most notable being the Montaukett. Chief Wyandanch was to be involved in much of the sale of the town.

The first sale to Lion Gardiner of Gardiners Island for "a large black dog, some powder and shot, and a few Dutch blankets." The next trade involved the land from the Southampton town line to the foot of the bluffs at what is now Hither Hills State Park was sold for 24 hatchets, 24 coats, 20 looking glasses and 100 muxes. According to legend Wyandanch was to have been poisoned for these other deals signing away Long Island property. In 1660 his widow signed away the rest of the land from Hither Hills to the tip of Montauk for 100 pounds to be paid in 10 equal installments of "Indian corn or good wampum at six to a penny". [ [http://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC01394364&id=cQb1Ye6C97sC&pg=RA2-PA183&lpg=RA2-PA183&dq=Montaukett#PRA2-PA181,M1 History of Long Island by Benjamin F. Thompson - 1839] (available on print.google.com)] However the tribe was to be permitted to stay on the land and to hunt and fish at will on the land and to havest the tails and fins of whales that washed up dead on the East Hampton shores. Town officials who bought the land were to file for reimbursement for rum they had plied the tribe. [ [http://www.easthamptonlibrary.org/lic/lectures/gaynellstonelecture.htm The Material History of the Montaukett - Lecture by Gaynell Stone - East Hampton Public Library - January 31, 1998] ]

Much of the Montaukett tribe was wiped out by smallpox outbreaks that devastated all tribes. Many members of the tribe relocated with Samson Occom and renounced their tribal heritage after the American Revolution. [ [http://www.easthamptonlibrary.org/lic/lectures/johnstrong_02.html The Ancestors: An overview of Montaukett Prehistory - By John Strong - November 28, 2002 - East Hampton Public Library] ]

A few remaining Montauketts including the legendary Stephen Talkhouse continued to live in an area on Lake Montauk called Indian Fields until 1879 when Arthur W. Benson forced a government auction of Montauk in which he bought virtually the entire east end of the town and evicted the tribe which relocated to Freetown on the northern edge of East Hampton village. The tribe lost in 1896 to 1918 in attempts to get the courts to declare the evictions illegal. In the 1990s the Montauketts again began pressing their case for formal recognition.

Montaukett artifacts and sweat lodges are visible on trails at Theodore Roosevelt County Park. The park was formerly Montauk County Park and its renaming for the President who stayed there briefly in 1898 is a source of agitation for the Montauketts.


East Hampton (at Gardiners Island) was the first English settlement in the state of New York in 1639 (the first Europeans in New York were the Dutch who settled around Albany, New York in 1615 and at New York in 1625). Early settlement was based on ties to Connecticut which was just convert|20|mi|km across Long Island (while the settlements around Manhattan were convert|100|mi|km away).

The first settlement of anywhere on the east end of Long Island was in 1639 when Lion Gardiner purchased Gardiner's Island from the Montaukett Indians for "a large black dog, some powder and shot, and a few Dutch blankets. An incentive for the sale was Gardiner's support for the Montauketts who were among the victors in the Pequot War. A royal British charter recognized the island as a wholly contained colony independent of both New York and Connecticut -- a status it was to keep until after the American Revolution when it formally came under New York State and East Hampton authority.

East Hampton's official settling date by whites according to its seal is 1648 when 30 Puritan settlers (9 families)(12 more families were added before they left) from Lynn, Massachusetts and landed on June 12, 1640 at what is now known as Conscience Point in Southampton. Then later some migrated to what is now known as East Hampton. The first settlers of East Hampton were John Hand, Thomas Talmadge, Jr., Daniel Howe, Thomas Thomson, John Stretton, Sr., Robert Bond, Robert Rose, Joshua Barnes, and John Mulford. Incidentally John Hand's brother-in-law, Josiah Stansborough, settled South Hampton. The community was considered itself part of Connecticut subject to its English laws (as opposed to the Dutch claims for the entire island based on its settlements in western Long Island around New Amsterdam). East Hampton was the third Connecticut settlement on the east end of Long Island (Southold and Southampton date their settlements from 1640). East Hampton formally united with Connecticut in 1657. The connection was undone in 1664 when Long Island was formally declared to be part of New York (and also subject to English law) by Charles II of England after four British frigates captured what is today New York City.

East Hampton was originally called Maidstone after Maidstone, Kent from which they came. The name was later changed to Easthampton (one word) reflecting the geographic names of its sister former Connecticut neighbors of Southampton and Westhampton. [ [http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/us-nyehm.html East Hampton, New York (U.S.) - CRW Flags History] ] It would later become two words after the East Hampton Star began using the two word name when it started publishing in 1885. The name Maidstone frequently appears on place names throughout the town including the Maidstone Golf Club.
Deep Hollow Ranch established in 1658 in Montauk is the oldest continuously operating cattle ranch in the United States.

Whaling Capital

While East Hampton was originally primarily agricultural, the settlers soon discovered that whales frequently would drift onto its beaches (called "drift whales") and that the whales could then be carved up for food and oil. The proper handling of this phenomenon was to be written into town laws.

As the demand for whale products grew, residents became more aggressive in their harvesting techniques. No longer content to settle for harvesting just the dead whales that had washed up, they began harvesting live whales that were coming near shore. This in turn evolved into extended trips to harvest the whales.

The town's first port was at Northwest Landing (northwest of the main village) and what was called Northwest Harbor.

The harbor turned out to be more shallow than needed for the ever increasing size of boats and the main harbor shifted two miles (3 km) to the west in the harbor to Sag Harbor (deriving its name from the fact that it was just north of the settlement of Sagaponack, New York in Southampton. [ [http://www.newsday.com/community/guide/lihistory/ny-historytown-hist006c,0,6589760.story?coll=ny-lihistory-navigation Sag Habor: A Bigger Port Than New York - Newsday Our Story Series - By Bill Bleyer] ] beginning in 1760.

About three fifths of Sag Harbor is in Southampton and two fifths in East Hampton with the dividing street called "Division Street" which turns into Town Line Road south of the village. While most of the landmark portions of the town including its Main Street are in Southampton, the piers at the foot of Main Street are almost totally in East Hampton.

At its peak in 1847 60 whale ships were to be based in the village employing 800 men in related businesses. It was to be written about by Herman Melville in Moby-Dick. The port rivaled that of New York. After 1847 the whaling industry dropped off dramatically.

Among the sea captains of Sag Harbor were ancestors of Howard Dean who was to be born in East Hampton. [ [http://www.wargs.com/political/dean.html Ancestry of Gov. Howard Dean compiled by William Addams Reitwiesner - wargs.com] ]

The most famous voyages out of Sag Harbor were those by Mercator Cooper who in 1845 picked up shipwrecked Japanese sailors in the Bonin Islands and was permitted to return them to Tokyo -- the first Americans to visit Tokyo. In 1853 Cooper aboard the Levant out of Sag Harbor broke through the ice shelf to become the first person to land on East Antarctica (the log of voyage is in the East Hampton Library).

East Hampton continues to have a large maritime presence with Montauk being New York State's largest fishing port. [ [http://www.nyseafood.org/nysc/montauk.asp Montauk: New York's Largest Fishing Port By Ken Gail Seafood Council Newsletter Fall/Winter 1994] ] In addition to the yachts scattered in the various ports throughout the town the Town is famed for its commercial sports fishing (made particularly famous by Frank Mundus who is widely reported to be the inspiration for Captain Quint in Jaws (despite the denials by Peter Benchley). One of the largest buildings in the town is Promised Land fish meal factory at Napeague.

Home to Presidents and First Ladies

Julia Gardiner Tyler

East Hampton has played a role in Presidential politics throughout its history. First Ladies Julia Gardiner Tyler and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis spent their childhoods there. Theodore Roosevelt was briefly quarantined in Montauk at Camp Wyckoff after he returned from his highly publicized heroic run in the Spanish-American War. Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton spent weeklong summer vacations in 1998 and 1999.

Julia Gardiner was born on Gardiners Island and her father had a house in East Hampton village (adjoining what is the Thomas Moran house) across from Town Pond. On February 28, 1844, she and her father David Gardiner were part of the Presidential party aboard the USS Princeton (1843) when a malfunctioning canon exploded killing her father (along with two Cabinet officers). According to legend Julia fainted into the arms of President Tyler (who had earlier lost his first wife). They were to marry four months later -- creating something of a national scandal since there was a 30-year difference in their ages.

Although she was a New Yorker and member of the wealthy Gardiner family, she was to have economic problems after the American Civil War because of her support for the Confederate States of America cause of her husband John Tyler.She is buried with the President in Richmond, Virginia. Her father and one of her sons are buried in the South End Burial Ground in East Hampton.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was born at Southampton Hospital on July 28, 1929. She was supposed to have been born in New York City but she was six weeks late and her parents Janet Norton Lee and John Vernou Bouvier III were staying at Further Lane, East Hampton home of her grandfather John Vernou Bouvier II called Lasata [ [http://archives.cnn.com/2000/books/beginnings/10/24/excerpt.queen.jackie/index.html America's Queen by Sarah Bradford (excerpted on CNN)] ]

Her family were members of the Maidstone Club just down Further Lane from Lasata. She and her younger sister Lee Bouvier were to spend their summers at the house until she was 10 when her parents divorced.

Her parents were married at St. Philomena's Catholic Church in East Hampton on July 7, 1928. The reception was held at the Lily Pond East Hampton village home of her maternal grandparents James T. Lee and Margaret Lee.

Her connections to East Hampton got national attention in the 1970s following news reports and documentary that her aunt Edie Bouvier and cousin Edith Bouvier Beale were living in poverty in a mansion in the Georgica Pond village neighborhood called Grey Gardens. She and her husband Aristotle Onassis were to donate money to improve the plight of her aunt. The ordeal was highlighted in a 2006 Broadway musical. A new documentary on Grey Gardens was also released in 2006.

Jacqueline's sister Lee Radziwill continued to own the Lily Pond Lane home of her maternal grandparents until 2002. The Bouvier family cemetery plot is at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Cemetery on Cedar Street. Jackie's father, maternal grandmother, paternal grandparents, paternal great-grandparents as well as various relatives including Big Edie are buried in the cemetery.

Bill and Hillary Clinton

In 1998 and 1999 as talk surfaced that Hillary Clinton was considering a senate run from New York, they switched their summer vacations from Martha's Vineyard. They spent their time at the Georgica Pond home of Steven Spielberg. In 1998 a miniscandal arose when shallow Georgica Pond was drained just before the visit. News accounts at the time speculated the Secret Service was looking for submarines. The pond was not drained in the 1999 visit. Marine One was parked at East Hampton Airport. Clinton gave a Saturday radio chat from the Amagansett fire station. Criticism arose about the wisdom of staying in a town of such wealth and during the 2000 election the Clintons stayed in the Adirondacks.

In June 2008 at the conclusion of Hillary's Presidential bid she dropped out of public view reportedly staying at least for a few days at the Wiborg Beach home of Thomas H. Lee in East Hampton Village. [ [http://www.easthamptonstar.com/dnn/Archive/Home20080612/News/clintonsineasthampton/tabid/5778/Default.aspx Clintons Relaxing at Wiborg's Beach House (Maybe) - East Hampton Star - June 13, 2008] ]

African-American History

East Hampton has played an important role in African-American history.

Slavery in New York was legal until 1827. During the War of 1812, the Gardiners used slaves to transport supplies back and forth to Gardiner Island. According to the Gardiners slaves were easier to pass through British blockades since it was "obvious" they were "owned."

During this period Sag Harbor rose to a port status rivaling New York thanks to its whale oil trade and slaves extensively worked the docks.

After the repeal of slavery, Gardiners slaves set up small houses in the Freetown (East Hampton) just north of the East Hampton village. While Sag Harbor freed slaves set up the Eastside community in Sag Harbor.

On August 26, 1839, members of the slave ship Amistad (1841) which had been commandeered by its slave cargo in Cuba dropped anchor at Culloden Point and came ashore at Montauk (near the modern day train station) to get supplies. The slaves who had let their former captors do the navigating thought the ship was going back to Africa. Members of the naval ship USS Washington (1837) seeing the slaves ashore arrested them and took them to Connecticut The case was to work its way to the U.S. Supreme Court with John Quincy Adams arguing for the Africans. The court was to decide in their favor saying the initial capture of the Africans was illegal and they were freed.

One of the imprisoned slaves was to become a valet for President John Tyler and was killed aboard USS Princeton (1843) along with Gardiner Island resident David Gardiner who was onboard with his daughter Julia Gardiner Tyler. She and the president were to wed four months later.

In 1845 Pyrrhus Concer was aboard the ship the Manhattan captained by Mercator Cooper which picked up shipwrecked Japanese sailors in the Bonin Islands. The ship was allowed to enter Tokyo Bay under escort to return the sailors and became the first American ship to visit Tokyo. Concer was the first black the Japanese had seen and his depicted in their drawings of the event.

East Hampton film director Steven Spielberg popularized the event in Amistad (1997 film).

Playground for the Rich

East Hampton from its earliest days with the settlement of Gardiners Island has had a reputation as being a home for the wealthy especially after the Gardiners married into almost all the wealthy New York families.

East Hampton however largely remained undeveloped until 1880 when Austin Corbin extended the Long Island Rail Road from Bridgehampton, New York to Montauk. As part of the development Arthur W. Benson forced an auction paid US$151,000 for 10,000 acres (40 km²) around Montauk and forced the eviction of the Montaukket Native Americans there.

Benson brought in architect Stanford White to design six "cottages" near Ditch Plains in Montauk and they formed the Montauk Association to govern their exclusive neighborhood. Among the cottages was Tick Hall, owned by Dick Cavett. It burned in 1993 but Cavett rebuilt it filming the process for a television documentary.

Corbin had more industrial desires for building the train to Montauk. He thought a new port city would develop around the train station on Fort Pond Bay and that ocean going ships from Europe would dock there and the passengers would take the train into New York -- thus saving a day in transit.

The grand plans for Montauk did not pan out and the land was sold to the United States Army which was to use most of the land for Army, Navy and Air Force bases through World War II with Theodore Roosevelt making a much publicized visit there at Camp Wyckoff at the end of the Spanish-American War.

One of the side benefits of the railroad extension was a building boom of mansions in the newly accessible village of East Hampton resulting in the wealthy venturing further east from Southampton with the Maidstone Golf Club opening 1891.

In 1926 Carl G. Fisher was to resurrect the dream of an urban Montauk with plans to turn it into the Miami Beach of the north. He bought the former Benson property for $2.5 million (which was then surplus government property following the end of World War I). He built the 6-story Montauk Improvement Building in downtown Montauk (which is still the town's tallest occupied structure - as zoning has forbidden highrise structures), the Montauk Manor (which was a luxury hotel), dredged Lake Montauk and opened it to Block Island Sound to support his Montauk Yacht Club and the associated Star Island Casnio as well as the Montauk Downs golf club. [ [http://www.montauklife.com/history/fisher.htm Carl Fisher - Architect of Montauk - Montauklife.com] ] Fisher was to lose his fortune in the Crash of 1929 and the land was sold back to the military in World War II.

Through the years East Hampton's wealth has evolved emanating out from the village taking over the farmland that had once been dominated by potato fields. The most dazzling row of mansions remains in the village of East Hampton on the closest road paralleling the ocean along Further Lane and Lily Pond Lane.

While ostentatious displays of wealth occurred near the ocean ("south of the Montauk Highway") much simpler houses and bungalows have been built through the years throughout its history particularly in Springs and Montauk. In the 1950s and 1960s following the Kitchen Debate between Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon more than cheap affordable prefabricated housing second homes called Leisurama were built a Montauk at Culloden Point.

In November 2006, the median price of a house in the Town was US $895,000 [ [http://www.easthamptonstar.com/dnn/Archive/Home/Arts/FoodWine/BusinessRealEstate/RE/tabid/565/Default.aspx Real Estate Market Softens - East Hampton Star - November 10, 2006] ] (compared with a national median for the U.S. of $225,000 [ [http://www.realtor.org/Research.nsf/Pages/MetroPrice Metropolitan Area Existing-Home Prices and State Existing-Home Sales - National Association of Realtors] ] Several houses in East Hampton now sell for prices in the tens of millions of dollars. Living in East Hampton is expensive. In 2005 the cost of living was 326% of the national average. [http://www.greatschools.net/city/East_Hampton/NY Greatschools.net East Hampton profile - accessed January 12, 2007] ]

Celebrity Shenanigans

Despite popular perception that the Hamptons are the playground of the young and beautiful, it is more a land where scandals involve the middle aged and older and often as not involve real estate or divorce. Here's a sampling of scandals:

*Jerry Seinfeld ran afoul of zoning ordinances when he tried to build a ballfield on his Further Lane property.
*Martha Stewart got into a squabble with developer Harry MacLowe over their mutual hedge on Georgica Pond. In the battle Martha was accused of attempting to run down MacLowe's gardener. No charges were ever filed.
*Sean "Puffy" Combs disturbed his neighbors with his summer, "white" parties at his bay-front house.
*Chevy Chase got involved in an environmental dispute over the opening of a golf course on the edge of Amagansett. He was to be accused of unnecessarily spraying his own property for gypsy moths.
*Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger were the "it" couple of the 1990s hosting a big Clinton fundraiser at their Amagansett home. In the 2000 their divorce became tabloid fodder.
*Jimmy Buffett lost a bidding war over a $430,000 ocean-front trailer at Ditch Plains (East Hampton actually has four trailer parks -- three of which are waterfront). [ [http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/columns/intelligencer/15306/ The Mobile Montauk Vacation Home by S.Jhoanna Robledo - New York Magazine - December 19, 2005] ]

Artist Colony

East Hampton's reputation as an artist colony hinges on painter Jackson Pollock in the 1940s and 1950s when he resided in Springs, New York with Lee Krasner at what is now known as the Pollock-Krasner House and Studio. His most famous paintings were painted in the barn he had converted into a studio. The property is now open to the public for tours.

Swirling around Pollock were other artists including Willem de Kooning.

Pollock died in 1956 while driving his mistress and a friend of hers home down Springs Fireplace Road after picking them up at the Long Island Railroad station in East Hampton. [ [http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/saltz/saltz9-18-06.asp The Tempest by Jerry Saltz (reprinted on artnet.com)] ]

Pollock and Krasner are buried in Green River Cemetery in Springs along with many of the artists of their generation. Headstones in the cemetery are sculptures.

Pollock's influence continues to be felt in the community.

Marcia Gay Harden won a 2000 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for portraying Krasner in Pollock (film) which was shot in East Hampton as the dream project of Ed Harris who was also nominated for Best Actor.

An ongoing debate rages over whether 24 paintings and drawings found in a Wainscott locker in 2003 are Pollock originals. Physicists have argued over whether fractals can be used to authenticate the paintings. The debate is still inconclusive. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/02/books/02frac.html?ex=1322715600&en=088aba6319b31d32&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss The Case of Pollock’s Fractals Focuses on Physics by Randy Kennedy - New York Times - December 2, 2006] ]

Many artists who have had commercial success have had houses in East Hampton. Among other artists who are intimately associated with East Hampton are Thomas Moran, the Hudson River school artist whose works of the American West hang in the U.S. Capitol rotunda had his home in East Hampton village opposite Town Pond where it is on the National Register of Historic Places. He and his wife are buried across the road in the South End Cemetery.

A number of modern and contemporary artists have been residents of East Hampton including Ian Hornak, Jack Lenor Larson and Alfonso A. Ossorio. Andy Warhol and his longtime collaborator Paul Morrissey had a large estate the water in Montauk called "Eothen". In 1993 the Andy Warhol Foundation donated convert|15.6|acre|m2 of the estate to the Nature Conservancy for the Andy Warhol Visual Arts Preserve which is run in conjunction with Art Barge in nearby Napeague. [ [http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/newyork/preserves/art10985.html Long Island: Andy Warhol Visual Arts Preserve - Nature Conservancy] ]

Natural Disasters

Major natural disasters in the 20th Century included the Hurricane of 1938 and Hurricane Carol in 1954 both of which found the Atlantic Ocean splitting the town in two at Napeague. The 1938 storm also washed up sand so that the Cedar Point Lighthouse which had been on island was connected to mainland. The 1954 storm also toppled the MacKay Radio towers at Napeague.

East Hampton does not have the barrier beaches that run almost the entire length of the south shore of Long Island from Coney Island to Southampton. East Hampton's ocean beaches are all connected to the mainland and so are not washed over in storms.

The hamlet of Montauk was moved from its original location at the train station at the end of World War II by the Navy since it was constantly being flooded by storms on Fort Pond Bay

The town is regularly hit by hurricanes and Nor'easters. Given the town's generally flat topography, water often accumulates on town roads stranding motorists in heavy rains.

The biggest problem is beach erosion. The town for the most part has severely restricted development on ocean front property thus limited impact. The Montauk Lighthouse which used to be almost convert|300|ft|m from the cliffs is now convert|56|ft|m from the cliffs. The most threatened areas now are in the hamlet of Montauk which is the only community in the town with its business district next to the ocean as well as houses near Georgica Pond in East Hampton. At Georgica Pond the United States Corps of Engineers built Groynes to protect the mansions. The construction is a source of friction with Southampton which says the jetties interrupt the Longshore drift greatly increasing beach erosion downstream there.

The lack of beach front development (including the fact there are no boardwalk promenades that are features of many developed beach communities) has contributed to East Hampton beaches being listed among the best beaches in the country. [ [http://www.drbeach.org/ Dr. Beach] ]

Military History

While East Hampton is considered almost exclusively a residential community, it has been the home of United States Navy, United States Army, and United States Air Force bases, the last of which closed in the 1980s. It currently has a United States Coast Guard headquarters.

Skirmishes and military incidents took place in the town from the 1600s through World War II.

Massacre Valley

The biggest recorded loss of life in the various skirmishes and conflicts in East Hampton was "Massacre Valley" in 1653 in Montauk when 30 members of the Montaukett tribe were killed by members of the Narragansett tribe at the foot of what is now Montauk Manor. [ [http://www.montauklife.com/history/davidmc9.html Montauk's Indian Heritage - montauklife.com] ]

The Montauketts had a thriving wampum (made from whelk shells on the East Hampton beaches) trade Connecticut tribes. The arrangements were disrupted in 1637 by the Pequot War which was to solidify English domination of New England and change the balance of power among Native American tribes.

The Pequot War was to contribute to the Montauketts selling Gardiners Island, East Hampton and Southhampton to the English with the understanding the English would protect the Montauketts from attacks from Connecticut. However a war broke out between the Montauketts and the Narragansett, the nominal Native American victors in Pequot War.

In 1653 the Narragansetts under Ninigret attacked and burned the Montaukett village, killed 30 and captured one of Wyandanch's daughters. The daughter was ransomed with the aid of Lion Gardiner (who in turn was to get large portion of Smithtown, New York in appreciation). The Montauketts temporarily moved closer to East Hampton village and the English ordered ships in Long Island Sound to sink Narragansett canoes. [ [http://longislandgenealogy.com/indians.html Long Island Indians and The Early Settlers - longislandgeneology.com - Retrieved January 18, 2007] ] The skirmishes were to end in 1657.

Captain Kidd

East Hampton dealt with pirates on its waterways in the 1600s and early 1700s.

The most notable pirate was Captain Kidd who was hanged after his booty on Gardiners Island was introduced at his trial.

Kidd is said to have buried treasure all over Long Island. Money Ponds at the Montauk Lighthouse are named because of treasure reported to have been left there.

In June 1699 Kidd was stopped on the island while sailing to Boston to attempt to clear his name. With the permission of the proprietor Mrs. Gardiner he buried $30,000 in treasure in a ravine between Bostwick's Point and the Manor House. For her troubles he gave her a piece of gold cloth (a piece of which is now at the East Hampton library) that was captured from a Moorish ship off Madagascar as well as a bag of sugar. Kidd warned that if it was not there when he returned he would kill the Gardiner. Kidd was to be tried in Boston and Gardiner was ordered to deliver the treasure as evidence. The booty included gold dust, bars of silver, Spanish dollars, rubies, diamonds, candlesticks, porringers. Gardiner kept one of the diamonds which he gave his daughter. A plaque on the island marks the spot but it is on private property. [ [http://longislandgenealogy.com/pirates.html PIRATES AND PROHIBITION Excerpted from, "East Hampton History," by Jeannette Edwards Rattroy, copyright 1953; Printed by Country Life Press, Garden City, NY (excerpted on longislandgeneology.com) Access January 12, 2007] ]

Pirates were again to overrun Gardiners Island tying Gardiner to a tree.

American Revolution

In 1775 the British first ventured toward Long Island at Fort Pond Bay at Montauk during the Siege of Boston. John Dayton who had limited troops at his disposal feigned that he had more by walking them back and forth across a hill turning their coats inside out to make it look like there more of them (a tactic referred to as "Dayton's Ruse"). [ [http://www.easthamptonstar.com/DNN/Archive/1998/980115/news1.htm An Old Dayton House Saved From Bulldozer - East Hampton Star - January 15, 1998] ] The British would not formally attack Long Island until 1776.

After the fall of Long Island during the Battle of Long Island, the East Hampton ports of Northwest and Sag Harbor were blockaded by the British and the British were to use Gardiner's Island for hunting preserve.

The first American victory in New York after the Battle of Long Island was Meigs Raid on Sag Harbor (sometimes called the Battle of Sag Harbor) when continentals from Connecticut raided the British earth works in the village and burned the ships and wharfs on the East Hampton side of the village. The Americans killed six and transported 90 British prisoners back to Connecticut without losing a single soldier.

A story often circulated is the story of Isaac Van Scoy who had a farm in Northwest. According to the tales the British raided his farmhouse and he killed one soldier with a pitchfork. Van Scoy was reported to have eventually been captured and taken to a prison ship in Sag Harbor where he escaped. [ [http://www.longislandgenealogy.com/vanscoy.html The Story of Isaac Van Scoy - Early East Hampton - Long Island Genealogy] ] The earthen remains of Van Scoy's house are still visible in the Northwest Preserve where he is buried (American flags mark his grave on holidays). His name is applied to various placenames in the area including Van Scoy Pond.

The manor house on Gardiners Island had just been built in 1774 and members of the British forces were to use it throughout the war -- with or without permission. Among the British guests were Henry Clinton and John André. At one point Major Andre and Gardiner son Nathaniel Gardiner, who was a surgeon for the New Hampshire Continental Infantry, exchanged toasts on the island. Gardiner would later be the American surgeon who attended to Andre when he was executed after being caught spying with Benedict Arnold.The Manor of Gardiners Island - The Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries By John Austin Stevens - January 1885]

The British fleet used East Hampton waters for blockading Connecticut and planning for a new offense to retake New England (that never took place). One of the ships, the HMS Culloden (1776) ran aground at what is now called Culloden Point in Montauk during a winter storm on January 24, 1781. The ship was scuttled and burned. In the 1970s remains of the ship were discovered and is now Long Island's only underwater park. Remains of the ship can be seen at the East Hampton Marine Museum in Amagansett.

After the war, Gardiners Island which had been considered an independent colony was officially added to New York and East Hampton.

George Washington was to authorize construction of the Montauk Point Lighthouse.

War of 1812

During the War of 1812 British frigates once again controlled the northern bays of East Hampton with frigates headquartered in Gardiners Bay particularly harassing ships going into Sag Harbor. [ [http://longislandgenealogy.com/1812.html Eastern Suffolk During the War of 1812 - Longislandgenealogy.com] ]

Sag Harbor had a fort manned by 3,000 troops on Turkey Hill. July 11, 1813 One hundred British Marines raided the wharf but were driven back after setting fire to one sloop by Americans led by Capt. David Hand. [ [http://www.newsday.com/community/guide/lihistory/ny-history-hs505a,0,6567872.story War on the Waters: U.S. Navy and British skirmish in the Sound in the War of 1812 By Bill Bleyer - Newsday - Long Island Our Story Series] ]

During the War of 1812 a British fleet of seven ships of the line and several smaller frigates anchored in Cherry Harbor and conducted raids on American shipping Long Island Sound. Crews would come ashore for provisions which were purchased at market prices. During one of the British excursions, Americans captured some of the crew. The British came to arrest then Lord of the Manor John Lyon Gardiner. Gardiner, who was a delicate man, adopted the "green room defense" where he stayed in a bed with green curtains surrounded by medicine to make him look feeble. The British not wanting a sick man onboard let him be.

The British were to bury several personnel on the island. Some of the British fleet that burned Washington assembled in the harbor in 1814. [ [http://www.eastendlighthouses.org/gIsland.htm East End Lighthouses - Gardiners Island Lighouses] ]

Gardiner's supply boats were manned by slaves during the war and this made it easier for them to pass through British lines. Many of the Gardiner slaves were to live in the Freetown (East Hampton), just north of East Hampton (village), New York.

American Civil War

During the American Civil War, some of the Sag Harbor whaling ships were scuttled in Charleston, South Carolina harbor to blockade the city.

The USS Montauk (1862), a Monitor (warship) which was constructed at the Continental Iron Works in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, saw considerable action throughout the war.

In 1865 the ship, docked at the Washington Navy Yard, was used as the prison for accused Abraham Lincoln assassination conspirators and the autopsy and identification of the body of assassin John Wilkes Booth. [ [http://www.innominatesociety.com/Articles/Contradictions%20in%20the%20Autopsy%20of%20James%20Wilks%20Booth.htm Contradictions Concerning the Death and Autopsy of John Wilkes Booth by Robert E. Arnold] ]

panish-American War

During the Spanish-American War, the Army built Fort Tyler on Gardiners Point Island in an attempt to protect Long Island.

A more important fort was the massive Camp Wickoff (also called Wyckoff) which stretched from the current Montauk Long Island Railroad station to the Montauk Point Lighthouse.

The area was used to quarentine soldiers coming from the conflict. The most prominent group among the 20,000 soldiers who passed through the base were Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders. Some the earliest movies depict Roosevelt at the base. The tented camp became a national scandal over the poor treatment of troops (256 died there) and President William McKinley was to visit to emphasize improvements. [ [http://longislandgenealogy.com/CampWyckoff/CampWyckoff1.html Camp Wickoff/Wyckoff on Montauk Point, Long Island - Longislandgeneology.com] ]

Exhibits and artifacts from the camp are at Theodore Roosevelt County Park.

World War I

During World War I, the E.W. Bliss Company of Brooklyn, New York tested torpedoes in the harbor a half mile north of Sag Harbor. As part of the process, Long Wharf in Sag Harbor was reinforced with concrete and rail spurs built along the wharf as the torpedoes were loaded onto ships for testing. the torpedoes were shipped via the Long Island Road along the Sag Harbor to the wharf which was owned by the railroad at the time. Among those observing the tests was Thomas Alva Edison. Most of the today's buildings on the wharf including the Bay Street Theatre were built during this time. The torpedoes which did not have live warheads are occasionally found by divers on the bay floor. [ [http://sagharboronline.com/history_files/hist03.htm Sag Harbor In Its Industrial Heyday: Testing Torpedoes - Sag Harbor Express - May 5, 1997] ]

World War II

During World War II, coastal fortifications were set up along the eastern tip of Long Island at Montauk. A concrete observation tower as built next to the Montauk Lighthouse. 16 inch naval guns were placed in adjacent bunkers at Camp Hero. The observation tower is still next to the lighthouse and the additional bunkers are visible at Fort Hero State Park as well as Shadmoor State Park.

On June 13, 1942, as part of Operation Pastorius four German agents led by George John Dasch were landed by U202 [http://uboat.net/boats/u202.htm] at what is now Atlantic Avenue Beach (sometimes called Coast Guard Beach) in Amagansett. Confronted by Coast Guardsman John C. Cullen, they said they were Southampton fishermen. When one of the four said something in a foreign tongue, they offered him $300 to keep quiet. [ [http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1970/3/1970_3_66.shtml The Spies Who Came in From the Sea by W.A. Swanberg - American Heritage Magazine - April 1970] ] The agents disappeared into the night after he sought out his supervisor. When reinforcements arrived they discovered German cigarettes on the beach along with four heavy, waterproof oaken boxes buried in the sand filled with brick-sized blocks of high explosives, bombs disguised as lumps of coal, bomb-timing mechanisms of German make, and innocent-looking “pen-and-pencil sets” that were actually incendiary weapons.

The agents rode the Long Island Railroad into New York City and were ultimately captured along with four others who had come ashore at Jacksonville, Florida. Six of the agents were to be executed. [ [http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq114-1.htm German Espionage and Sabotage Against the United States in World War II - navy.mil] ]

In May 2007 the original Coast Guard station was moved to the property at the Town Marine Museum in Amagansett across the dunes from its original Atantic Avenue beach location. The station was moved in 1966 to private property to save it from demolition by Joel Carmichael [ [http://www.newsday.com/news/printedition/longisland/ny-lilife255229114may25,0,3700068.story Back to the beachfront Historic lifesaving station in E. Hampton is returned to beach, from where Nazi spies were foiled in WWII by Luis Perez - Newsday - May 25, 2007] ] The Marine Museum itself was the former barracks for the Coast Guard.

The Navy appropriated almost all of Montauk during the war for facilities including Montauk Manor which was used as a dormitory. Torpedoes were tested in Lake Montauk. Ships and dirigibles docked on Navy Road on Fort Pond Bay. The Navy was to find Fort Pond inhospitable since it was shallow. Dredging was to contribute to problems with flooding. After the war the Navy moved the residential section of Montauk which had been on the bay by the Long Island Rail station a mile to the south to get away from the flooding. One of the biggest legacies of the Navy presence was to be the dredging of Lake Montauk so that it replaced Fort Pond as Montauk's dock. The Coast Guard is now headquartered there on Star Island.

Cold War

After the war most of the property was disposed of as surplus except for gun emplacements at Camp Hero next to the Montauk Point Lighthouse. Although the gun emplacements were obsolete, the camp was designated an Air Force Base supporting a convert|135|ft|m|sing=on wide radar called the AN/FPS-35 in the early 1960s to detect bombers headed for New York City. The massive radar and huge then state of the art computers quickly became obsolete. While all the other radars were to be torn down the one on Montauk was saved largely because it was a better landmark than the lighthouse on Long Island Sound.

The base was officially decommissioned in the 1980s. The support buildings now form a ghost town and the radar has officially been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1992 Long Island residents Preston B. Nichols and Peter Moon wrote a science fiction book (ISBN 0-9631889-0-9) in which it was claimed the radar was used by the government to conduct time travel experiments. The book has been perceived by some to be true and the base has assumed something of a cult status among conspiracy buffs. It was also featured in a segment of X-Files.


The town actually has two governments that sometimes conflict with each other.

The most visible government is the Town Board which consists of five people including its head called the Town Supervisor who are responsible for the taxes, roads, police, parks, zoning and general governance of the town. Its authority was established by the State of New York in 1788. The government operates from a 13 acre campus on Pantigo Road. [ [http://www.town.east-hampton.ny.us/board.cfm Town Board - east-hampton.ny.us] ]

The second lesser known government is the "Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of East Hampton" which is formally responsible for day to day decisions of common property in the town. The Trustees derive their power from the "Dongan Patent" of December 9, 1686 which set up self governance for the town. The patent (a land grant) establishing the trustees was an act by Thomas Dongan, the Royal Governor of New York. [ [http://www.trustees.easthamptonny.gov/default.asp trustee.easthmptonny.gov] ] Most of the time the trustees, who operate from the Town's Lamb Building on Bluff Road in Amagansett are in synch with the Town Board although there are occasionally conflicts. Among the common properties the trustees operate is Georgica Pond and they make decisions about when the tidal pond is drained and filled. These actions often make headlines given they affect the flooding of basements of neighboring celebrities. In 1998, the pond was drained just a few days before President Bill Clinton was to spend his summer vacation at the home of Steven Spielberg.

The Town is often an early adopter of initiatives including domestic partnership registration. In 1999, it imposed a 2 percent tax on residential real estate sales in excess of $250,000 for the purpose of buying open space. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9407E4D61430F935A15750C0A96F958260 Residential Real Estate; Impending Tax Stirring Hamptons Home Sales - New York Times - March 26, 1999] ] The money has contributed to the town having more than convert|200|mi|km of trails [ [http://paumanokpath.org/summit2004.htm Paumanok Path Summit 2004 - Paumanokpath.org] ] including the Paumanok Path as well as 42 acre Springs Park which is one of the largest dog parks in the country. Between 2002 and 2005 the tax raised $71 million. [ [http://www.town.east-hampton.ny.us/pages/forms/OpenSpacePreservationBrochure02-05.pdf East Hampton Open Space Preserve Brochure - 2005] ] In 2006 the town adopted a dark skies ordinance which is now being considered as a model for wider use in New York State. [ [http://www.montaukobservatory.com/press.htm Telescope Arrives in Montauk, Revolutionary Design is Nation’s First - November 16, 2006 - Montaukobservatory.com] ]

Despite East Hampton's great wealth, its fire department and ambulance are both volunteer services. President Bill Clinton was to give his weekend radio address from the Amagansett Volunteer Fire Station in August 1998 during his vacation in the town.Although residences in the town are often in architectural magazines, the town offices consist of a several double wide trailers hidden from the street by a nondescript flat-roofed building. In 2006 the town announced plans to turn its campus into a collection of historic East Hampton buildings that had been moved over the course of 30 years to the 40 acre Further Lane home [ [http://www.danspapers.com/issue29_2006/3.html A New Campus - Dan's Papers - October 13, 2006] ] of Adelaide de Menil, heiress to the Schlumberger oil fortune. The move was part of the sale of their home to Baron Funds financier Ron Baron for $103 million which in 2007 was declared the highest price ever paid for a single home [ [http://easthamptonstar.com/DNN/Default.aspx?tabid=2310 Priciest Property in U.S. History: $100 Million De Menil-Carpenter estate is sold to financier May 24, 2007 East Hampton Star] ] The new complex is to be designed Robert A.M. Stern (who also designed the East Hampton Library in 1997).

The township has aggressively pursued zoning ordinances to protect its residential and rural character. Consequently, there are no chain fast food restaurants and or big box stores (unlike Southampton which has numerous fast food chains and stores such as K-Mart). The village of East Hampton formerly also pursued the no chain rules. However, since the mid-1990s chains have begun making inroads including the opening of Starbucks (currently there is only one in the whole town) as well as Tiffany's.


Demographics in East Hampton are skewed by the fact that more than half the houses are owned second homes (often from some of the wealthiest people in the country). [ [http://www.newsday.com/community/guide/lihistory/ny-past208,0,4883320.story?coll=ny-lihistory-navigation Rich Present, Rich Past By George DeWan - Newsday - Long Island Our Story Series] ] The overwhelming main industry for East Hampton is support for its residential community.

Following is the demographic reflected by the Census in 2000 based on those living in the town then [ [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFFacts?_event=ChangeGeoContext&geo_id=06000US3610322194&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=east+hampton&_cityTown=east+hampton&_state=04000US36&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010/ East Hampton Town Census 2000] ]

: As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 19,719 people, households, and families residing in East Hampton. The population density is 643.1 people per square mile (248.2/km²). There are 2,251 housing units at an average density of 403.6/sq mi (155.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town is 82.46% White, 7.39% Black or African American, 0.08% Native American, 1.62% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 5.94% from other races, and 2.43% from two or more races. 16.62% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

: There are 1,445 households out of which 27.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.2% are married couples living together, 12.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% are non-families. 31.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 16.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.47 and the average family size is 3.07.

: In the town the population is spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 25.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 41 years. For every 100 females there are 92.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.2 males.

: The median income for a household in the town is $52,201, and the median income for a family is $55,357. Males have a median income of $38,566 versus $29,750 for females. The per capita income for the CDP is $25,725. 12.2% of the population and 10.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 20.5% of those under the age of 18 and 4.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Special Events

One of the highlights of the summer is East Hampton Fire Department fireworks display at Main Beach, usually held the Saturday night closest to July 4th. The fireworks displays have generated controversy since 2005. In 2005, 2007, and 2008 they were postponed until Labor Day weekend because endangered piping plovers were nesting on the beach.

A big draw in the summer had also been the shark fishing tournaments in Montauk. However in 2007 the Humane Society and other organizations have been protesting the cruelty of the tournament [ [http://www.care2.com/c2c/groups/disc.html?gpp=6684&pst=801454&archival= Ocean City Shark Tournament Celebrates Cruelty to Sharks May 30, 2007 care2.com] ]

Each Summer, the [http://www.artistsandwritersgame.com/index.html Artists and Writers Softball Game] , a charity benefit, is held. Past players include John Irving, Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut, Dustin Hoffman, Bill Clinton, and singer Paul Simon.

Every October the town hosts the Hamptons International Film Festival, a rather large production with independent films shown in several local theatres. It has a fairly large draw from the New York City crowd.

Communities and locations

Villages (incorporated)

* East Hampton
* Sag Harbor, shared with the Town of Southampton

Hamlets (unincorporated)


Census designated places

In addition to the above the United States Census has two locations using terms that are usually not used by residents of the town:
*East Hampton North, New York (the area just north of the village)
*Northwest Harbor, New York - The area northwest of the village that is usually referred to as "Northwest" or "Northwest Woods." There is a harbor in the area though.

State Parks

* Amsterdam Beach State Park
* Camp Hero State Park
* Hither Hills State Park
* Montauk Downs State Park
* Montauk Point State Park
* Napeague State Park
* Sag Harbor State Golf Course
* Shadmoor State Park

uffolk County Parks

* Cedar Point County Park
* Theodore Roosevelt County Park


East Hampton does not have any colleges although the now disbanded Clinton Academy on Main Street claims it was the first chartered Academy authorized by the New York State Board of Regents in 1784. [ [http://www.easthampton.com/history/clinton.html Easthampton.com history accessed January 12, 2007] ] Three high schools are physically in the town:

*East Hampton High School - The principal school for the entire town outside of Sag Harbor. The school also serves the districts of Springs (which has an elementary school) and Montauk (which has an elementary and middle school). Enrollment in 9-12 is 1,046 [ [http://www.greatschools.net/modperl/browse_school/ny/727 East Hampton High School profile, Greatschools.net, accessed January 12, 2007] ] Its mascot is the Bonackers which derives its name from Accabonic Harbor at Springs. It is the only school to use a mascot of that name.
*Pierson Middle-High School - This 6-12 school is physically in East Hampton and serves Sag Harbor which straddles a border with Southampton. Its enrollment is 502. [ [http://www.greatschools.net/modperl/browse_school/ny/3509 Pierson Middle-High School profile, Greatschools.net, accessed January 12, 2007] ] Its mascot is the Whalers.
*The Ross School - The largest private school in the Hamptons. [ [http://www.rossinstitute.org/press/RossMerger_EHStar.pdf East Hampton Star - January 12, 2006 - reprinted on Ross Institute site] ] Its enrollment for grades 4-12 is 283. [ [http://www.greatschools.net/cgi-bin/ny/private/5837 Ross Schhol profile, Greatschools.net, accessed January 12, 2007] ]

American educator Catharine Beecher was born in East Hampton.

Television (originating in East Hampton)

*WVVH-CA Hamptons TV®, UHF Channel 50, claims to be the largest FCC licensed TV station in Suffolk County. It broadcasts from the East Hampton Airport industrial park in Wainscott.

Radio stations (originating in East Hampton)

*WEHM - 96.7 - FM - East Hampton
*WMOS - 104.7 - FM - Montauk


External links

* [http://www.town.east-hampton.ny.us/ Town of East Hampton, NY]
* (http://wvvh.com
* [http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~jdevlin/newyork/ehampton_hist.htm History of East Hampton]
* [http://www.easthamptonstar.com/DNN/Archive/1998/981231/history.htm History from The East Hampton Star]
* [http://www.greygardensonline.com "Grey Gardens Online" Website and Information Database]

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