Egypt Lane Historic District
The Egypt 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 Egypt Lane Historic District is located approximately one mile east of the village green in the northeastern quadrant of the village of East Hampton. The Egypt Lane Historic District consists of a row of four frame houses at the west side of Egypt Lane between David's Lane and Pondview Lane. The Egypt Lane Historic District includes three contributing principal buildings, each built in the eighteenth or early nineteenth century and moved to its present site during the early twentieth century. Although the fourth principal building in the Egypt Lane Historic District was built c.1900 and remains on its original site, extensive alterations in recent years have resulted in the building's non-contributing classification. Each of the three contributing houses above is complemented by a contributing outbuilding contemporary with its relocation date. Therefore, the Egypt Lane Historic District includes a total of six contributing buildings and one non-contributing building.
The boundaries of the Egypt Lane Historic District follow the external lot lines of the four component properties. The Egypt Lane Historic District is generally surrounded by modest early to mid-twentieth century residences and open space including a non-historic triangular green at the east side of Egypt Lane. Although other historic buildings, including the Barnes-Hassam House, the Conklin-Eldrege House and the William Jenney House, are located in the Egypt Lane vicinity, none of these buildings is contiguous with the Egypt Lane Historic District. Instead, these three buildings are documented in the Village of East Hampton Multiple Resource Area as individual components 12, 14, and 26, respectively.
The first house in the row, no. 11 Egypt Lane, is a two-story mid-eighteenth century saltbox with a heavy timber framework and a shingled exterior. Originally located on Main Street near the core of the village, the building was moved in 1895 to Gay Lane and again in 1924 to its present site, where it was renovated in the Colonial Revival mode. Alterations included the addition of a Colonial Revival style entrance enframement composed of pilasters and an entablature, changes in fenestration, and interior alterations designed for comfort and convenience. Despite these changes, the building retains a significant degree of its original eighteenth-century fabric, form and appearance.
The Gansett House at 117 Egypt Lane appears to date form the second half of the eighteenth century. It was moved from the neighboring community of Amagansett to its present site in 1931. The two-story shingled house features a three-bay center entrance facade and a gable roof with a center chimney. The window openings and door placement appear to be original. However, the Federal style door enframement with its leaded glass transom appears to date from rehabilitation of the house following its 1931 move.
The Hulse House, located at 123 Egypt Lane, is a rambling, one-and-one-half story frame house with a shingled exterior and an assortment of gable roofs. Although built as a small vernacular farm cottage c.1900, its current configuration resulted from recent non-historic additions and alterations.
The southernmost house in the Egypt Lane Historic District is the Dickerson House at 129 Egypt Lane. Built during the early nineteenth century on Pantigo Road, the one-story shingled house was moved to its present location between 1902 and 1916. The Dickerson House features a balanced five-bay center entrance facade with three gabled dormers in the attic story. Fenestration includes large twelve-over-twelve sash windows in the dormers. The entrance features a Federal style enframement detailed with panelled pilasters, panelled entablature and a leaded glass transom.
The siting and landscaping of the contributing buildings within the Egypt Lane Historic District are characteristic of suburban practices common during the first half of the twentieth century, rather than those associated with each building's original date of construction. The houses are situated with generous front and side setbacks and oriented with their entrance facades toward the street. Landscaping includes lawns, foundation plantings, ornamental trees and bushes and several split rail fences.
The Egypt Lane Historic District is architecturally significant as a grouping of distinctive eighteenth and early nineteenth century vernacular houses which were relocated to Egypt Lane and renovated during the early twentieth century. As such these buildings provide information about historic building practices and stylistic development in the vicinity of East Hampton as well as insights into the architectural tastes, antiquarian attitudes and restoration philosophy held by a number of affluent summer residents during the early decades of the twentieth century.
All of the three contributing buildings in the Egypt Lane Historic District are important representative examples of house types common in the architectural development of the village of East Hampton and its neighboring south shore communities. "Rowdy Hall," located at 111 Egypt Lane and built in the mid-eighteenth century is typical of saltboxes built in East Hampton between 1700 and 1775. Although its fenestration was altered during its 1925-1926 renovation, its distinctive asymmetrical roof form and massive center chimney survive. The Gansett House, located adjacent to "Rowdy Hall" at 117 Egypt Lane, is believed to have been built during the second half of the eighteenth century and exemplifies the two-story gable-roofed house with a center facade entrance and a central chimney typical of this period. The Dickerson House, located at 129 Egypt Lane and dating from the early nineteenth century, represents East Hampton's only intact example of a single story center-hall house. Illustrating the vernacular Federal style, the house is designed with a balanced five-bay center entrance facade, large twelve-over-twelve sash windows, a Federal style entrance surround with a leaded-glass transom and three gabled dormers at the facade. The three contributing houses are unified by similarities in scale, construction techniques and shingled exterior surfaces and together illustrate the vernacular architecture characteristic of the area before the mid-nineteenth century.
The three historic houses in the Egypt Lane Historic District are also significant in context of East Hampton's early twentieth century attitudes and tastes which corresponded with a renewed national interest in America's colonial past and architecture. During the period, it became a common practice for private individuals to acquire and renovate eighteenth-century houses and, often, to relocate them to what at that time were considered to be more desirable suburban or rural locations in and around the village. Architects were often consulted and, although the results of the renovations were usually referred to as "restorations," extensive liberties were often taken with the original fabric of these houses. Landscaping and siting generally reflected suburban tastes and conventions rather than historic practice.
Two of the houses in the Egypt Lane Historic District were acquired, moved and "restored" by Mrs. Harry Hamlin, an East Hampton summer resident active in the Ladies Village Improvement Society and a variety of preservation initiatives in the village. "Rowdy Hall" was moved to Egypt Lane and "restored" by her under the guidance of prominent local architect J.G. Thorp in 1925 to 1926. Originally, the eighteenth-century saltbox was located on Main Street, where it was built with an orientation to the south. About 1895, it was moved to Gay Lane, where it was used as a boarding house. Much of the existing fenestration and the classical entrance surround represent Colonial Revival style alterations to the house introduced during its 1925-1926 "restoration." In 1930, Mrs. Hamlin acquired the Gansett House and moved it from its original site in the neighboring village of Amagansett to a one acre lot adjacent to "Rowdy Hall." This "restoration" was supervised by architect John F. Hamlin. F.M. Gay was the contractor involved in both projects.