Building Inventory Form

Unless indicated below, this is a transcript of the original Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities/Town of Brookhaven survey form.  Corrections to obvious typographical and spelling errors have been made.  Corrections to factual errors, updates or comments on the information are either enclosed in [square brackets], or will be clearly indicated as updated material with textual comments.  Since most of the surveys were conducted in the late 1970's and early 1980's, much of the information reflects that time period. 

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

Building-Structure Inventory Form

Suffolk Club & "Fireplace" Hard Estate

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

Inventory Code: SH13
Prepared Date: 7/17/1982
Last modified: 7/4/2012
Original Submitter
Submitter Name: Town of Brookhaven/SPLIA
Submitter Address: Town Hall
205 S. Ocean Ave.
Organization: Brookhaven Community Development Agency
1-Building/Site Name:  
2a-County:   Suffolk 2b-Town:  Brookhaven 2c-Village:  Hamlet of Southaven
3-Street Location:   Southaven County Park

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

   4a-Public     4b-Private
5a-Owner  (at original survey date):    Suffolk County 5b-Address:    Parks Department

6a-Original:    Private Estate

6b-Present:    Public Park [Suffolk County Park Police Hdqts.]

 7a-Visible From Road

 7b-Interior Accessible:
7b-Interior Comment:   [Building is within the park and accessible to the public.]  
Building Materials 
   8a-Clapboard    8b-Stone    8c-Brick
   8d-Board & Batten    8e-Cobblestone    8f-Shingles
8-Other:   [some brick]  
Structural System
   9a-Wood Frame Interlocking Joints    9b-Wood Frame Light Members:    9c-Masonry:
9d-Metal Comment:     
9e-Other Comment:     
    10a-Excellent   10b-Good   10c-Fair     10d-Deteriorated
   11a-Original Site  11b-Moved   If so, when?  
Photo & Map
12-Photo Photos and images
  14a-None Known:    14b-Zoning   14c-Roads
  14d-Developers :   14e-Deterioration
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:   lake created from Carman's River
15j-Other:  barn, milk house & cottage, privately owned on Montauk Highway  
Surroundings of the Building
  16a-Open Land   16b-Woodland   16c-Scattered Bldgs.
  16d-Densely Built-up   16e-Commercial  16f-Industrial
  16g-Residential 16h-Other:   Formerly a private shooting reserve, now a park.
Interrelationship of Building and Surroundings
17-Interrelationships:   This former estate is located in the hamlet of Southaven, which was first settled in the eighteenth century.  
Other Notable Features of Building and Site
18-Notable Features: This structure was built on the site of an earlier private hunting preserve in 1925, by Anson Hard a member of that earlier, exclusive Suffolk Club. The architect made use of the timbers, balustrades, stair rails, and weather vane from the original club. See Bigelow, "Bellport and Brookhaven. See also SH04 for outbuildings.      
19-Initial Const Date:   1925
19-Architect:  Marion Wyeth  
Historic and Architectural Importance

2 1/2 story, 3 bay, shingled, gable roof estate house with 2 end-chimneys, and pedimented front door. Flanking 1 1/2 story, L-shaped, gable roof wings on north and south.

Garage, and stables nearby on north. Large stone terrace on east side of house (rear).

See SH04 for photos of well-designed accessory buildings used as part of hobby farm.

This is the site of the original Suffolk Club, said to have been originally organized about 1827 by Daniel Webster, Martin Van Buren & others. A 2nd or follow-on Suffolk Club was was said to have been organized by August Belmont and others in 1858. [However, recent research suggests that Belmont may not have been an organizer or a formal member, but there is documentation that he visit the preserve as a guest. The Suffolk Club was very exclusive, and limited its membership to fifteen persons. Each member had their own rooms in the club house, furnished to their taste. The "cellar" was said to have been very fine, and the kitchen superb. Women and children were not allowed in the club house, although some members built residences nearby for their families.] This Club consisted of 1500 acres, a large club house, and Carman's Mill. [See "other documents" link above for more in the history of the Suffolk Club.]

[On 1 June 1870, Deming (Denning) Duer purchased the late Sineus Miller farmstead and buildings at an auction (Libor 170, p. 129, $2024.).  This farm, consisting of about 25 acres, was across Montauk highway from the then existing Suffolk Club properties;  from the deed description  it appears to be essentially the present Ron Bush farmstead.  Immediately after acquiring the property, on 16 June 1870, Duer transferred title of the former Miller farm to the Suffolk Club (Libor 170, p. 133, $10).  Deming Duer was a prominent New York City banker, and was likely to have been a member of the Suffolk Club.  This "sale" of the Miller farm to the Suffolk Club is also reported in the New York Times, 13 June 1870.  See also the Miller house, SH05, and "Sources" below.  (The handsome barn on the site — now housing Ron Bush's extensive private farm equipment collection — is not of 19th century vintage.  It was erected by Anson Hard after he acquired the Suffolk Club property.  The Hards established a dairy farm on the site.)]

[In 1920, member Anson Hard purchased the remaining shares of the Suffolk Club from other members and made the property his private estate. The old club house was torn down, and a new private residence built using much of the original timbers and lumber. Shortly after Anson Hard died in 1935, this residence burned. In 1937, the family built a new residence, now the headquarters of the Suffolk County Park Police. After WWII, the Hard family heirs turned the estate over to one of Anson's sons, Kenneth Hard, who developed the property into a commercial hunting & fishing "Game Preserve."]

[Beginning in 1962 with the purchase of 600 acres along the Carman's River for $2.5 million, Suffolk County eventually purchased the entire Suffolk Club site and continues to expand the park to its present size of approximately 1500 acres. Southaven County Park now supports hiking, camping, picnicking, freshwater fishing, rowboat rentals, canoeing, hunting, bridle paths. Also found at the park are a trap and skeet shooting range, an equestrian center, and a bicycle hostel.]


"Map of Suffolk County," by J.L. Chace, New York 1858

Bigelow, Stephanie, "Bellport and Brookhaven," Bellport Historical Society, 1968, pp. 88-89

Peter Ross, "A History of Long Island, Vol I. [Chapter: 'The Social World of Long Island']. New York: Lewis Publishing Co., 1902, p. 691

'Fireplace' Shooting Box at Brookhaven, "Long Island Homes, pp77-80. Repository: Queens Borough Public Library, 89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica, N.Y., pp. 77-80

[Natalie A. Naylor, ed., "Journeys on Old Long Island: Travelers' Accounts, Contempory Descriptions, and Residents' Reminiscences 1744-1893." Chapter: Timothy Dwight, 'Journey to Long Island,' Interlaken, New York: Empire State Books, 2002, p. 95.]

[Suffolk County Deeds Deeds, Libor 170, p. 129 (1 June 1870) and p. 133 (16 June 1870): These deeds record the transfer of the old Sineus Miller farm in South Haven, Brookhaven, Suffolk, NY to the Suffolk Club.  The property was sold at auction by a referee appointed by the New York State Supreme Court in Kings County.  While not specifically mentioned in the indentures, the court order likely was the result  of Gilbert B. Miller's death earlier that year.  While the plaintiff was recorded as Sineus Miller (Gilbert's father), he had died long before, in 1828.  Listed as defendants were:  *Mariette Miller (Margaret), *Emma (Miller) Thurston & John Thurston, her husband, *Gilbert Miller, *Nathaniel Miller, *Ann Amelia Miller, *Robert S. Miller, *Ella May Miller (Eleanor M.), *Emmeline Miller (Emeline), Ann Eliza Hawkins, Phebe Maria Goodale and William C. Barrette.  Those marked with a * are known to have been children of Gilbert B. Miller and Emeline Carman, his wife (d. 1861); while Emeline was the daughter of a Samuel Carman; this Samuel was not the prominent South Haven land-owner and neighbor, from whom much of the Suffolk Club property derived.]

  [Gilbert Estate Sale of Property to Suffolk Club, New York Times, New York, NY, 13 Jun 1870, p. 8.: The homestead of the late Gilbert B. Miller, of South Haven, together with the hotel and farm, have been sold to the Suffolk Club, whose lands lay immediately adjoining. They intend to erect new buildings, lay out new drives, and otherwise beautify the grounds.]

[Richard M. Bayles, "Title Historical and descriptive sketches of Suffolk County:… with a historical outline of Long Island, from its first settlement by Europeans." Publisher Port Jefferson, NY: The author, 1874. p. 275.]

[New York Times, 5 Jun 1962, p. 4 "Suffolk Planning to Buy Wetlands"]

[Emails: Kenneth Hard]

Prepared By:
  Ellen Williams, research assistant
Supplemental Material: 

R.M. Bayles, "Sketches of Suffolk County …", 1874:
  "The Suffolk Club House is a magnificent building, pleasantly situated on the west bank of the [Carman's] river, surrounded by extensive pleasure grounds bordering on the [Carman's] mill-pond."

From the New York Times, 13 Jun, 1870, p. 8:
"The homestead [Historic Sites ID SH05] of the late Gilbert B. Miller, of South Haven, together with the hotel and farm, have been sold to the Suffolk Club, whose lands lay immediately adjoining. They intend to erect new buildings, lay out new drives, and otherwise beautify the grounds."

This newspaper article provides an additional clue as to when the large main clubhouse was likely built.  Up until they built the clubhouse, members of the Suffolk Club apparently stayed at Carman's Inn.  It is unlikely that the hotel referenced in this article was the Carman Inn, rather another nearby inn owned by Miller.  Miller lived nearly directly across the road from the Carman Inn.  A Brooklyn Eagle article (15 December 1895) indicated that Samuel Carman's son, Henry W., was then occupying the Carman homestead/inn.

South Side Signal (Babylon), 7 Jun, 1879:
  "Killing deer is forbidden on Long Island, for the next five years. Steps are being taken to re-stock the Island. Last week a buck and two does were turned into the woods of the Suffolk Club, and others will be released at different points this season. Special game constables will attend to it, that the deer are not molested."

The Suffolk Club was regularly mentioned in the New York Times during the late 19th century, particularly around the time of the opening of the trout fishing season, April 1. This excerpt from an article 2 Apr 1882, p. 8, provides a description:
  "The Suffolk Club, a very exclusive association which has a membership of 14, owns a charming sylvan retreat at South Haven near Yaphank. The club-house is snugness itself, and the cellars and cuisine are praised by those who have been so fortunate as to be entertained as guests. It has two tree-embowered lakes in which the trout grow very large. The water is exceedingly pure and so full of nourishment for the Fontinails that they are to all intents wild trout as they are never fed. The current through the lake to the east (sic) is Carman's River. It takes its source at Virgin Springs, on the pine forest plain, and after crossing the highway below the lakes broadens into a wide, lively, pleasant brook terminating in the Great South Bay two miles from the club-house. Recently, the Suffolk Club obtained control of Carman's River and grand fishing for estuary trout is looked for. The river will be improved and stocked, and will be in the near future the main attraction of the club. It is navigable from the Great South Bay for a long distance, partly under a thick growth of timber, and where the trees are it is cool in the hottest weather. The country is sparsely settled in the neighborhood and only one house is seen from the club-house to the mouth of Carman's River. Capt. Joseph Grafton is President of the club, but he is now in Europe. The opening day was observed by Messrs. Henry Fearing, James Platt, John Campbell, Peleg Hall, J. L. Cadwallader, Thomas Meyer, and Peter Townsend. The members are not limited to any number of trout to be caught in one day. The amount of their "catch" is regulated by their consciences and their skill."

Suffolk County News (Sayville), 20 May 1921, p. 3
 "John Colson has for some weeks been at work re-decorating the interior of the cottages at the Suffolk Club in Brookhaven, which was recently purchased by Anson W. Hard.  The houses including the big clubhouse  are also all newly painted on the outside, white with black trim.  The buildings are more that 100 years old and constructed of hand-hewn timbers.  Mr. Colson and his son have also re-decorated the interior of the homes of Mrs. Edward Westerbeke and William Westerbeke."

That the main clubhouse was more than 100 years old in 1921 is most unlikely.  No evidence has been found of a clubhouse being built in the first half of the 19th century.  It likely was not built until after the club was reformed in the 1858-1860 period. See New York Times, 13 June 1870, above.  Possible some of the "cottages" may have been residences built in the early 19th century.   Evidence suggests that early 19th century members of the Suffolk Club stayed at Sam Carman's inn located near the mill site in South Haven.
It is also unlikely that the timbers were "hand-hewn."  More likely they were rough sawed at the sawmill in South Haven.

Port Jefferson Echo, 19 Aug 1905, p. 2
BROOKHAVEN'S WEALTH SHOWN BY TAX RECORDS: Men Who Are Assessed For More Than $10,000 Make Long List—Many taxpayers of the town of Brookhaven are desirous of knowing what the property of their neighbors and others owning real estate and other belongings in the town mentioned is assessed at.  This information cannot be had except upon application to the Town Clerk at Patchogue.  For the convenience of the many readers of the Times the tax rolls of the Town of Brookhaven for 1905 were carefully gone over.  A list of all those assessed at $10,000 and over was completed.  It is as follows (excerpted):

Carman, Henry W., Southaven$16,000
Floyd, John G., est., Mastic21,000
Floyd, Augustus, Moriches24,000
Floyd, Nicol, est., Moriches11,500
Suffolk Club, Southaven12,500

Patchogue Advance, 22 Sep 1933, p. 8, by Helen M. Ewing:
  "'Change and chance are busy ever' even in Southaven.  There, a new house is being erected of the foundations of an old one—the 'old one' being only 65 or 70 years old, but has out-lived its purpose and so fallen before the march of progress.  The lumber which went into its construction is of white pine and in such good condition that it is being used in the new building.  Each of the heavy beams bears a Roman numeral which indicated its intended position in the original structure and they were put together with wooden pegs.
  "The tearing down of this building is symbolic of the times, for it was the Suffolk club—at one time the richest club for its size in existence.  The club was limited to 15 members.  Each member owned stock, and a room in the clubhouse which he furnished according to his own taste, and was used by him exclusively. Among the members, over a period of years, was August Belmont*, George W. Wickersham, Frances Augustus Schermerhorn, Commodore Robert Bourne, Joseph Grafton, William Meyer, Thomas Meyer, John Cadwalder, Charles Strong, Fred D. Tappan, John Campbell, Daniel B. Fearing, John Schuyler, Anson W. Hard, A. J. Smith, Henry Von L. Meyer, George Von L. Meyer, Dr. George Wheelock and Emlyn Roosevelt.
  "They originally purchased 75 acres of land, including a pond, from Samuel Carman.  Later on more property was bought by individual members and deeded over to the club.  The members were privileged to build house their families on the grounds, but no women were permitted in the clubhouse.
"Trout fishing was their chief sport and in the beginning they bought fish every fall with which to stock their streams.  J. M. Dominy, who was caretaker there for 29 years, saw no reason why they should not raise their own fish.  In the club grounds there was an artificial pond, containing natural springs, called Nianza, and it was Mr. Dominy's idea to raise fish there.  He went up the Carman river and caught the trout fry and transferred them to Nianza.  The temperature of the water there was 52 degrees the year 'round and considerably colder than the river.  Consequently, the 'finger-lengths' as the small fish are called, did not survive the sudden change.  Mr. Dominy overcame this by adding ice, a little at a time, to the barrels containing the fish during the transfer.  After several experiments he succeeded in raising 85 trout the first year.  As his experience increased, he was able to raise them from two inches in length to fourteen inches, and weighing about a pound, in one year.  He fed them ground liver, beef hearts and hard-boiled eggs.  From that time on, the club raised its own supply of fish each year.
  "The club had to purchase the grist-mill at Southaven in order to have the rights of the river and the mill dam.  This mil had to be run for the benefit of the public, and the owner was entitled to one tenth of all that was ground.  In this connection, it is interesting to note that the state furnished a 'toll dish' or measure which contained one tenth of a bushel.  This was bound with iron so that it would not wear down and thus hold less than full measure for the miller's share.
  "The club also owned a sloop which they sailed on the Great South bay and moored at Black-grass dock, despite the difficulties of sailing up the winding Carman river.  They also hired the rail-shooting rights from Egbert Smith of Tangier.
  "Changes in membership came with the passing of years, and finally about ten years ago, the club dissolved and the property was bought by Anson W. Hard, the present owner."

* More recent research has created uncertainty as to whether August Belmont was a member or involved in the organization of the club, although there is at least one contemporaneous account that mentions his presence at the site, perhaps as a guest.  See "Other links" above.