Buells Lane Historic District
The Buells Lane Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2010, The Gombach Group.
The Buell's Lane Historic District is located in the northwest quadrant of the village of East Hampton along the north and south sides of Buell's Lane, an early road which connects the center of East Hampton with Sag Harbor, seven miles to the west. With the exception of a small church and a former wagon shop, the Buell's Lane Historic District is exclusively residential. A total of twenty-five contributing buildings are present in the district including twenty contributing principal buildings and five contributing outbuildings. One non-contributing principal building is located within the Buell's Lane Historic District. No structures, objects or sites have been identified within the district.
The boundaries of the Buell's Lane Historic District define the limits of a concentration of intact late nineteenth and early twentieth century houses sharing similarities in scale, use of materials, design and orientation. In all instances, these boundaries follow established lot lines or street curbs. The northern boundary of the Buell's Lane Historic District follows the rear lot lines of properties between 62-114 Buell's Lane excluding more modern residential development north of the district along Church and Dayton Lanes. Side lot lines at 47 and 62 Buell's Lane form the eastern boundary of the Buell's Lane Historic District, excluding a less cohesive residential neighborhood east of the district along Buell's Lane. The southern boundary of the Buell's Lane Historic District follows the rear lot lines of properties between 47 and 105 Buell's Lane inclusive, separating the Buell's Lane Historic District from modern residential development and a school complex to the immediate south. The western boundary of the Buell's Lane Historic District follows the side lot lines at 105 and 114 Buell's Lane, excluding two modern houses at the west end of Buell's Lane and newer and more scattered residential development west of Toilsome Lane.
Houses within the Buell's Lane Historic District are all built of light frame construction and range from one-and-one-half to two stories in height. The majority of the houses are modest in scale and most are sided in unpainted wood shingles. All but one of the contributing houses in the Buell's Lane Historic District (a 1913 Bungalow at 114 Buell's Lane) represent variations of late Victorian period vernacular design built between 1884 and c.1910. These houses are characterized by their compact floor plans, informal massing, and picturesque rooflines. Front porches featuring restrained posts or columns and simple balustrades are common. Fenestration usually consists of one-over-one or two-over-two, double-hung sash windows with multi-pane windows present in several attic story openings or in the upper sash of windows of some houses. In several instances, attic story windows are round-arched or Palladian in design. Shingle siding varies in treatment within the Buell's Lane Historic District, sometimes illustrating fish-scale or staggered butt patterns in the upper gables.
In addition to the contributing houses described above, the Buell's Lane Historic District also includes a late Victorian period frame church, built in 1894, and a two-story frame wagon shop built in 1896. The church is compatible in scale and design with the surrounding houses and features a steep gable roof, a corner tower with an octagonal spire and a porte-cochere. Window openings and doorways include round-arched and pointed surrounds as well as shed roofed clerestory windows and gable end oculi. An openwork verge design composed of a round arch and sunbursts decorates the gabled street elevation. The church is currently aluminum sided but vestiges of its original shingle exterior remain in the clerestory areas and in the upper portion of the tower. The former Everest Wagon Shop, adjacent to the church, is a two-story light frame building with an elongated rectangular plan and a simple gable roof. The exterior is sheathed with clapboards at the gabled entrance elevation and shingles along the sides. The building was moved from its original street-side location to the rear of the former Everest lot (83 Buell's Lane) at an undetermined date.
With the exception of the church property at the south side of the Buell's Lane Historic District, several vacant lots and one parking lot, the Buell's Lane Historic District is characterized by closely spaced houses with short and relatively even street setbacks. Rows of maple and sycamore trees contemporary with the initial development of the neighborhood are present between sidewalks and curbs on both sides of Buell's Lane.
The Buell's Lane Historic District is architecturally significant as a cohesive residential neighborhood composed primarily of small, late Victorian period houses and a church which retain integrity of design materials and setting. Developed and built-up by year-round residents of East Hampton, the Buell's Lane Historic District's brief 1884-1913 period of significances coincides with the growth years of East Hampton's affluent summer colony and recalls a period of prosperity also enjoyed by the village's middle class.
Buell's Lane, named for East Hampton's eminent clergyman and educator, Dr. Samuel Buell (1716-1798), represents a small portion of a route established between East Hampton and Sag Harbor in 1650. In the mid-nineteenth century, the road was operated as a turnpike. Little if any development occurred along Buell's Lane until the 1880's, when pressures for development, fueled by a steady influx of summer residents, resulted in the subdivision of land along Buell's Lane and the improvement of the roadway. Construction occurred rapidly through the 1890's and tapered off during the early twentieth century. One of the last lots to be built upon was that of Charles Dayton, who built the Buell's Lane Historic District's only Bungalow in 1813. The neighborhood experienced little change after that date until recent years, when several house sites in the vicinity of the church were converted to open space or parking lots.
The design of many of the houses within the Buell's Lane Historic District is typical of that associated with suburban development during the decades between 1880 and 1910. A rising from the need for economy and the constraints posed by smaller lots, these houses are often characterized by their efficient floor plans, informal massing, vertical exterior proportions and simplified Victorian period trim and fenestration. Most of the houses in the Buell's Lane Historic District feature gabled street facades with steeply pitched cross-gabled roofs, front porches with rectangular or L-shaped plans and double-hung sash windows with two-over-two, six-over-one or nine-over-one lights. The Patrick Flannery House at 99 Buell's Lane, built in 1896, is one of the best examples of its type in the district. Other well-preserved examples include the William Talmage House at 108 Buell's Lane (c.1900) and the S.S. Conklin House at 84 Buell's Lane (1884). The use of unpainted wood shingles throughout the district and survival in the majority of the buildings which remain is a particularly distinctive feature. Although probably selected primarily on the basis of economy, local availability and maintenance saving characteristics, the use of shingles as an exterior material also recalls a long-standing vernacular tradition in the village. Its use may also have been influenced by the prevalence and popularity of Shingle style in East Hampton's summer colony during the same period.
Most Holy Trinity Church, built in 1894 and formerly named St. Philomena's Church, reflects a similar variation upon late Victorian period architectural themes. Built of frame construction and originally sheathed entirely in wood shingles, the design of the church includes a steeply pitched gable roof with shed-roofed dormers and round-arched clerestory windows, an elaborate entrance at the front end of the side, and a bell tower and spire, rising above the entrance (partially rebuilt following damage sustained during the 1938 hurricane). Details, including a large fanlight opening in the porte-cochere and the open sunburst brace in the gabled street facade, suggest an affinity with the Queen Anne style, as do surviving shingled surfaces below the window sills and in the tower, which feature plain and fish-scaled patterns.
The most recent of the contributing buildings in the Buell's Lane Historic District is the 1913 Bungalow built for Charles S. Dayton at 114 Buell's Lane. It represents one of only a handful of Bungalows existing in the village and has experienced no discernible alterations. Although contrasting in form and massing from its late Victorian period neighbors, its shingle exterior and small-pane dormer windows in the attic are in many ways consistent with the materials and decoration found throughout the Buell's Lane Historic District.
The presence of old rows of maple and sycamore trees along both sides of the Buell's Lane and the regularity of building setbacks in most portions of the district form strong linear elements that unify streetscapes. These elements, in concert with the cohesive architectural qualities of the street, reinforce the unique and historic spatial and usual qualities which define the Buell's Lane Historic District.