August Hawkins and his sister Prudence around 1900

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Building Inventory Form

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Unless indicated below, this is a transcript of the original Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities/Town of Brookhaven survey form.   Since most of the surveys were conducted in the late 1970's and early 1980's, much of the information reflects that time period. 

Corrections to obvious typographical and spelling errors have been made.  Corrections to factual errors in the original surveys, and updates or comments on the information are either enclosed in [square brackets], or are clearly indicated as updated material from the context of the comments. 

Sites which have a suffix of "S" are supplemental sites not included in the original surveys.


Building-Structure Inventory Form

Washington Lodge

 If checked, this is a Supplemental Form, not included in the original surveys.

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Inventory Code: Br10.11-S
Prepared Date: 5/21/2003
Last modified: 8/26/2016
Original Submitter
Submitter Name: John Deitz
Submitter Address: 7 Locust Rd.

631-286-3178
Organization:
Identification
1-Building/Site Name:  
2a-County:   Suffolk 2b-Town:  Brookhaven 2c-Village:  Hamlet of Brookhaven
3-Street Location:   about 269-287 South Country Road

 If checked, this site is within the Fire Place (Brookhaven Hamlet) Historic District

Ownership
   4a-Public     4b-Private
5a-Owner  (at original survey date):    Marist Brothers 5b-Address:   
Use

6a-Original:    Residence

6b-Present:    Boarding House and Summer Retreat House

Accessibility
 7a-Visible From Road

 7b-Interior Accessible:
7b-Interior Comment:     
Building Materials 
   8a-Clapboard    8b-Stone    8c-Brick
   8d-Board & Batten    8e-Cobblestone    8f-Shingles
   8g-Stucco
8-Other:   Mixed construction  
Structural System
   9a-Wood Frame Interlocking Joints    9b-Wood Frame Light Members:    9c-Masonry:
    9d-Metal
9d-Metal Comment:     
   9e-Other
9e-Other Comment:   Mixed construction  
Condition
    10a-Excellent   10b-Good   10c-Fair     10d-Deteriorated
Integrity
   11a-Original Site  11b-Moved   If so, when?  
11c-Alterations:  Evidence suggests many alterations since its original contruction in the early 19th century.  
Photo & Map
12-Photo Photos and images
13-Map
View Larger Map
Threats
  14a-None Known:    14b-Zoning   14c-Roads
  14d-Developers :   14e-Deterioration
14f-Other:     
14-Comment:   

When owned by the Marist brothers,, the estate site covered about 36 acres. The 9 acre portion nearest to South Country Road has been purchased jointly by Suffolk County, and the Town of Brookhaven.  The remaining parcel, 27 acres, originally sold by the Marist brothers to a private individuals, has been purchased by a prominent local individual who, it is said, intends to use it largely as open space/farm land.

The Washington Lodge structure, portions of which may date to the early 19th century, is threaten with destruction. The Town of Brookhaven and the Post Morrow Foundation have responsibility for the lodge building and the immediate surrounding two acres. Neither the Town nor the Foundation are said to have the resources necessary to maintain the house. Unless a use for the structure, and financing can be found, the house will likely be razed, perhaps as early as 2012.

 
Related Outbuildings
and Property

  15a-Barn   15b-Carriage House  15c-Garage
  15d-Privy   15e-Shed   15f-Greenhouse
  15g-Shop   15h-Gardens   15i-Landscape Features
15i-Landscape Features:   
15j-Other:  Deteriorated pool and gardens  
15-Comment:     
Surroundings of the Building
  16a-Open Land   16b-Woodland   16c-Scattered Bldgs.
  16d-Densely Built-up   16e-Commercial  16f-Industrial
  16g-Residential 16h-Other:   
Interrelationship of Building and Surroundings
17-Interrelationships:    
Other Notable Features of Building and Site
18-Notable Features:       
Significance
19-Initial Const Date:   Perhaps about 1845.
19-Architect:    
19-Builder:  Uncertain.  
Historic and Architectural Importance
20-Importance:  

The George Washington estate sits prominently on Dayton's Neck, one of the "necks" that makes up Brookhaven Hamlet—the "necks" being defined by streams or hollows leading to the Great South Bay.  Dayton's neck is the most westerly, and was named after Samuel Dayton.  It is situated immediately to the east of the modern Village of Bellport and extends west to Otter Hollow—a mostly swampy gully that starts near the intersection of South Country and Beaver Dam roads and leads to Beaver Dam Creek. Samuel Dayton  was arguably the first European to permanently settle "at south" in the Town of Brookhaven sometime around 1678.  He owned most of the land in the neck, including what was to become the Washington estate.  He came from Southampton originally, and probably came south after a short sojourn in Setauket on the north shore.  It is not definitely known where his house stood, but indications are it was near Clam Hollow immediately to the east of George Washington house.  Clam Hollow defines the eastern boundary of the Washington estate.

19th century maps are ambiguous about ownership.  They are not precise enough to definitely identify the present parcels. C. Corson appears on most maps from 1858 to 1896.  The 1873 Beers map suggests that C. Platt was an owner in the vicinity.  He has not been identified.  Later in the 19th century, "M.L. Fairchild" was associated with the property, and the mansion may have been of their origin.  Some have suggested that the structure is too elaborate to have been a farm residence.

Because C. Corson appears on all the 19th century maps of the vicinity, he has been a special focus of recent investigations.  Cornelius Corson (1827-1900) was an 8th generation descendent of early Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam, who by the second generation had settle on Staten Island and become prominent there.  Shortly after his marriage to Elizabeth Walker about 1855, he move to Fire Place (now Brookhaven Hamlet) and established a farm.  This farm apparently included several farm lots on both the north and south sides South Country Road, stretching to the Great South Bay.  He and his wife had three children – Cornelius Creighton (b. about 1857), Henrietta M. (b. about 1856), and Percival Sanksey (b. about 1861). Percival was at first a building contractor, than a real estate broker, and lived in Bellport in 1900, later in Queens.  Henrietta seems to have change her given name to Elizabeth, and married John B. Raynor of Brookhaven; they later lived in Brooklyn and the Bronx.  Son Cornelius has not yet been researched.  Shortly after Cornelius's death there is an ambiguous article in the Brooklyn Eagle (Jan 19, 1901 pg 17) suggesting that the Corson dwelling was sold to Everett M. Price of Bellport and moved there, the Price's residence being moved to the Brookhaven site – an exchange.  However, this article is sufficiently ambiguous, that it could be interpreted in other ways.

Suffolk County tax records indicate that, in 1887, Elizabeth Corson sold a parcel to Maria Fairchild and then sold another parcel to her (south side of road) in 1890.   M. L. Fairchild is shown on the 1888 Wendelken map.  Maria Louise (Stiles) Fairchild, was wife to Horace Jones Fairchild, a successful dry goods merchant and importer.  They owned the large tract from South Country Road north to Beaver Dam Road, on which the Lodge now sits, and also from across South Country Road south to the Great South Bay. The 1896 Hyde Map shows Fairchild and Corson residences adjacent to each other on the north side of South Country Rd., and a Fairchild residence opposite on the south side of South Country Road.  The 1915 Belcher-Hyde map indicates that the northern tract was owned by Geo. Washington, while the southern tract was owned by H.J. Fairchild (no doubt meaning the estate of Horace Jones Fairchild, since both Maria Louise and Horace Jones Fairchild were deceased by that time, and they apparently had no heirs with those initials.

It is uncertain as to how much time the Fairchilds may have spent at the estate. During the 1870s until 1885, they resided in England representing the firm of H.B. Claflin & Co.  In 1887, their son Henry Martyn Fairchild's residence was recorded as Bellport, NY.  After about 1912, their daughter Edith Hope Fairchild purchased a house on Bellport Lane..

The estate, now commonly known as Washington Lodge, was the country home of George Constant Washington from about 1915 to 1926. He claimed to have invented "mass produced" instant coffee. He was a Belgian-born English chemist who was living in Guatemala City in 1906, and developed a method of making instant coffee after noticing a powdery condensation forming on the spout of his silver coffee carafe. In 1909 Washington began to market his new product in the United Sates. From then until shortly before the start of World War II, the G. Washington Coffee Refining Company dominated the instant-coffee market.

Washington was also interested in horticulture and exotic animals and kept a small zoo at his estate. When he was seen in public, he would often have an exotic bird or monkey on his shoulder.

It is said that G. Washington wanted to site his coffee plant on the north side of Beaver Dam Road, between it and the rail road tracks (about where the concrete works and other industrial properties are now sited). He built the three houses at 144-148 Beaver Dam Road, on the south side across from the proposed site, for factory workers. There was considerable community resistance to the coffee plant, and in 1926 he left the South Country Road estate.  In 1927, he tried to sell the Brookhaven estate, and his home in Brooklyn (for a price reportedly exceeding $1 million) to a group of wealthy Brooklyn men intent on founding a social club. He then moved to New Jersey, and built his coffee factory there.  The "Country Club" never materialized, and he appears to have maintained ownership of the estate well into the 1930s.

From about 1935 to 1940, a Mr. Adestein is said to have owned the property.  He operated a boarding house for a few years and had a chicken farm for a while.  He tried to open a club, but he apparently could not get a liquor license from the Town of Brookhaven.  However, newspaper accounts record George Washington's sister as living at the estate in 1938; and George Washington appears to have maintained the property—a Mr. And Mrs. Stevenson were caretakers in his hire.

By the late 1940's, the South Country Road estate had become a restaurant named the Washington Lodge.  Murray and Francis Wunderlich rented the property as Camp Washington Lodge, which lasted into the early 1950s. The Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame Annex in NYC has a letter written by Paul Simon to Art Garfunkel in the early 1950's from Camp Washington Lodge in Bellport, LI.  It was advertised in the NY Times as a "fabulous family resort".

On 25 July 1960 the Marist Brothers, an educational order, bought the lodge property from Brookshire Properties Corporation (Suffolk County Deeds, Liber 4848, p. 394). It was used as a summer retreat for the brothers. They would bring groups of children to the site for picnics. They had plans for a high school that never came to fruition.

In 1970, a small alternative school was started there by local residents called the Bay Community School, which was closed in 1983.

 On 28 Dec 2004, a northerly parcel of about 27 acres was sold by the Marist brothers to Antonia Sciretta and Marilyn Venterina of Bellport (Libor 12364, p. 866, $850,000); after which the ownership title changed several times but appears to have been the same principals.  On 3 January 2012 this parcel was sold by The Preserves at Brookhaven Hamlet LLC to South Country Farms LLC, who, it is said, intends to maintain it largely as open space/farmland (Libor 12684, p. 142, $1,775,000)

On 7 December 2010, the Suffolk County legislature approved purchasing 9.6 acres of the southerly portion of the estate through a public-private partnership between the County, Town of Brookhaven, and the Post-Morrow Foundation.  On 28 June 2011, the sale of the southerly 9.6 acres of the site was finalized. Suffolk County has a 70% undivided interest and the Town of Brookhaven 30%, as tenants in common (Libor 12664, p. 977, $596,790).  By agreement, the Town and the Post Morrow Foundation are responsible for the lodge structure and the surrounding two acres; Suffolk County and the Town of Brookhaven  are jointly responsible the remainder of the 9.6 acre site.

In March 2016, the Post Morrow Foundation donated the Lodge to the Town of Brookhaven for a possible Nature Retreat Center.   See "Other Documents" link above for the Long Island Advance news article.

 
 
Sources
21-Sources:     
  1. Wikipedia
  2. Victor Principe. Images of America Series: Bellport Village and Brookhaven Hamlet. Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society/Acradia Press. 2002. p. 117
  3. Stephanie Bigelow. Bellport and Brookhaven: A Saga of the Sibling Hamlets at Old Purchase South. Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society. 1968. p. 49, 59.
  4. Unsigned and undated manuscript: "The George Washington Lodge," Obtained from the Marist Brothers.
  5. "Big Bellport Sale," The New York Times, May 23, 1926
  6. "Brooklyn Club Buys," The New York Times, February 25, 1927.
  7. Henry Bradford Nason, editor, Biographical record of the officers and graduates of the Rensselaer polytechnic institute, 1824-1886 (Troy, NY: W.H. Young, 1887), p. 543; digital images, Google Books
  8. 1888 Wendelken map
  9. 1915 Belcher Hyde map
  10. 13 Dec 2010, Purchase of Washington Lodge Estate Approved by Suffolk County:   Beaver Dam Creek Partnership of the Post Morrow Foundation, Brookhaven Town, and Suffolk County, NY, To Jointly Purchase Environmentally Sensitive Property
  11. Post Morrow Foundation Newsletter, Summer, 2011
 
Theme
22-Theme:     
Prepared By:
  John Deitz
Supplemental Material: 
 

From http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blcoffee.htm:
"Instant Coffee
"In 1901, just-add-hot water "instant" coffee was invented by Japanese American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago. In 1906, English chemist George Constant Washington, invented the first mass-produced instant coffee. Washington was living in Guatemala and at the time when he observed dried coffee on his coffee carafe, after experimenting he created "Red E Coffee" - the brand name for his instant coffee first marketed in 1909. In 1938, Nescafe or freeze-dried coffee was invented."

From http://www.antiguagold.com/prod_02_03Costa.htm:
"In 1906 a Belgian-born English chemist named George Washington, who was living in Guatemala City at the time, invented a method to make instant coffee. In 1909 Washington began to market his new product, called Red E Coffee, in the United Sates. From then until shortly before the start of World War II, the G. Washington Coffee Refining Company dominated the instant-coffee market."


Patchogue Advance, 4 June 1937, p. 12:

From the Files
Fifteen Years Ago—June 2, 1922

"A great deal of work is now being done on the handsome estate of George Washington at Bellport, that is affording employment for many hands.  It is one of the most interesting estates on the island, as it is stocked with a variety of birds, fowl and animals seldom seen outside of a zoo."


Patchogue Advance, 1 Mar 1927, page1:

Washington Place, Bellport, Bought for a Country Club

Million Dollar Deal Includes Home in Brooklyn

Important early season news indicating a big summer for Bellport is breaking, the reports including a resale of the large George Washington estate to a Brooklyn group for club purposes, ....

The parties in the Washington deal have kept the names of the purchasers in the dark, but it is said that the group has bought not only the Bellport place with its big house and extensive farm on which Mr. Washington has for years maintained a famous private zoological garden, but also his Brooklyn house at 47 Prospect Park West, corner of First Street.

The Park Slope house is to be used as winter headquarters for the organization and the Bellport estate will be developed into one of the finest country clubs in the state.  Mr. Washington is quoted as saying that the new club already has enough members to consummate the deal, which runs close to the million-dollar mark.

The city house is of white stone, occupying half a block frontage.  Mr. Washington, who is widely known as a coffee manufacturer, bought it in 1915 from Alfred Feltman, a prominent Coney Island business man.

The Washington estate in Bellport was reported sold last year to another party but the deal fell through.  It is said that a deposit of about $25,000 and commissions were involved in that abortive transaction, with which the present one has apparently no connection.

.... (article continues with unrelated material on other sales).


Patchogue Advance, 29 April 1927, p. 14:

"A large sign has been placed on the George Washington estate reading, 'The Park Club House.'  The iron gates now swing open for public inspection of the premises, and many visitors have passed through during the opening days.  The shrubbery and flowers are most beautiful and Brookhaven is proud of this beautiful clubhouse.


Patchogue Advance, 8 November 1927, p. 1:

Animals Coming Back to George Washington Farm

The menagerie which for many years graced the expansive George Washington estate on thre Montauk Highway between Bellport and Brookhaven is being brought back and already a large number of sheep are grazing on the property.  The estate has been reported sold a number of times and one project was to develop it into a country club, but the venture apparently fell through.  Now Mr. Washington is again conducting the estate and the animals are being sent back to be in charge of a caretaker.


Patchogue Advance, 15 April 1938, p. 2:

Placed on Probation For Taking Fixtures

Pleading guilty after charges of unlawful entry had been reduced before Justice of the Peace Donald W. Shaw of Bellport, Theodore L. Arthur, aged 27, of Sentuck avenue, Eastport, and Christian B. Westerhoff, 34, of East Moriches, each received a six-month probationary sentence.

They were arrested by Brookhaven Twon police on the complaint of Harry Stevenson, caretaker of the George Washington estate on South Country road, Brookhaven.

Stevenson alleged that Arthur and Westerhoff came to the Washington estate to get an ice box and before leaving they took two soapstone wash tubs and plumbing fixtures from a building ion the estate.

In Arthur's case, the unlawful entry charge was reduced to petty larceny and disorderly conduct.  Westerhoff was permitted to plead to a disorderly conduct charge.


Patchogue Advance, 24 June 1938, p. 10:

"Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Merkel and their ten-year old son, Kenneth, Jr., of Morristown, N.J. are putting the George Washington estate on South Country road in order and will make it their home.  The house has been vacant for some years and while it is being made ready for occupancy they are living in the superintendent's cottage.  Among other improvements, they plan to repair the large swimming pool for their own use.  Mrs. Merkel is a younger sister of George Washington, Sr."


Patchogue Advance, 1 July 1938, p. 5:

"Mr. and Mrs. Merkel of Morristown, N.J., who will spend the summer on the George Washington estate, are now the guests of Mr. and Mrs. H. Y. Stevenson of Brookhaven, while the house in which they expect to live, is undergoing repairs."


Patchogue Advance, 5 August 1938, p. 4:

"Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Merkel are entertaining Mr. and Mrs. Gerard J. Danco of Morristown, N.J., at the George Washington estate.  Mrs. Merkel's nieces, Martha and Virginia Washington, of Morristown, are also staying there."


Patchogue Advance, 19 July 1940, p. 1:

Action Deferred On Grievance Day 28 Applications

."A similar grievance was voiced by Mr. Gerard on behalf of the George Washington property, consisting of 39.36 acres of property situated on the north side of South Country road, Brookhaven, which has an assessed valuation of $26,500, covering land and buildings.  Referring to the 48.73 per cent yardstick figure, Mr. Gerard stated that the present market value of this property is $15,000."