An Interesting Story

“Second House: the House with the Interesting Story”
Excerpt from article by Mrs. James Tyson (Caroline Kennedy) 1930 “Montauk Light”

Old house built 1701 still standing

“After the Indians, came the shepherds. In the year 1701, four white shepherds tended the large number of cattle, sheep and horses belonging to East Hampton and neighboring towns. First, Second and Third Houses were built on Montauk for the use of these shepherds, who were called Keepers.

First House was situated near the only white mans graveyard on Montauk, where the sand dunes of Napeague meet the green pastures of Montauks moorlands. The possible date of First House may go back as far as 1651. Unfortunately, First House burned down, leaving only a mass of ancient bricks and hand-wrought iron hinges.

“Second House is the best preserved of the three houses. It stands on the busy Montauk Highway close by the sea, just west of Fort Pond, designed after the same fashion as the old New England farm houses. The long graceful lines of the peaked roof, the grey weather-beaten shingles and the smiling old windows with their moutons framing each tiny pane of glass are the first signs of ‘Second House’ that catch the eye of the most casual passerby and call out to him: ‘Here I am, a very old house; I stand facing directly South, as do my contemporaries. I am brave and strong and built to endure. My shingles were hand made, My nails hand-wrought. My beams, held together by wooden pegs, show marks of good woodman’s axe and still some ancient bark clings to them. My old brick chimneys blow forth the friendly smoke to let the world know that I am a beloved home and that a fire still blazes in my flagged hearthstone.”

“Swing back the heavy white front door with its huge iron hinges and see Second House as it was 200 years or more ago. Old houses are built around their chimneys. We pass through the low-ceilinged parlor with its paneled walls, by the fireplace with its iron crane to the most important room in the house, the dining room, and kitchen. There you will find a chimney of enormous dimensions with a most capacious fireplace with its Dutch oven and huge crane that no kitchen of pioneer days could be without. In those days, on each side of the fire and along each jamb could be placed a bench under the chimney flue, affording a confortable seat on a winter’s evening to some six or eight persons without interfering with the Yule log. From the crane hang the rough iron pots and merry tea kettle. The bricks of the Dutch oven are not yet hot enough to bake the freshly risen bread. There, on a side wall near the staircase is suspended with wooden brackets the long English fowling piece whose faithful trigger caused the death of many a deer, a wildcat, or a wolf.

The Second House of today brings back past centuries. In spite of the many changes and additions to the original house, you feel the same atmosphere pervading within. The spirit of the hearth is there; it speaks from the old bricks: ‘I will endure’.”