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Bay Crest Historic District


The Bay Crest Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2010, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Bay Crest Historic District is a small turn-of-the-century residential enclave located in the central western portion of the incorporated village of Huntington Bay. Situated on Northport Bay, the incorporated village of Huntington Bay includes the shoreline of the East Neck Peninsula from the east bank of Huntington Harbor to the west bank of Centerport Harbor. The Bay Crest Historic District contains twelve residences and nine contributing outbuildings for a total of twenty-one contributing elements (21 buildings). The dwellings form a concentrated residential community located along several short, narrow winding lanes covering the land between Bay Avenue on the south and the shoreline on the north. Built from c.1890 to 1905, the residences exhibit a variety of the picturesque styles popular during the Victorian era. The Bay Crest Historic District contains two modern, non-contributing residences.

The Bay Crest Historic District is bounded by Beach Avenue on the west and Kaiser Hill/Vineyard Road on the east, which run perpendicular to the many winding lanes that compose the neighborhood. Entrance to the Bay Crest Historic District is via Beach Avenue where two large granite monoliths marked "Bay Crest" denote the small residential community. The boundaries of the Bay Crest Historic District are clearly delineated as a result of the surrounding modern residential neighborhood and the Bay Crest Historic District uniformity of period design and scale. A pond forms the northern boundary of the Bay Crest Historic District. The twelve large residences that compose the district are located on both sides of the narrow private lanes amongst the gently rolling terrain. All of the dwellings have generous landscaped lots and many retain their original carriage houses/servants' quarters. Most of the houses are sited to take advantage of the view north towards Northport Bay.

The Bay Crest Historic District contains twelve large residences dating from c.1890 to 1905 that exhibit a variety of picturesque, eclectic details from the popular architectural styles of the late nineteenth century. Although no two structures are alike, the dwellings share a combination of the following architectural features: irregular and varied fenestration (including bay and oriel windows, dormers, multi-pane sash, and casement windows), clapboard and shingle sheathing, a variety of roof shapes, encircling porches and verandahs, porte-cocheres, towers, and a profusion of scrollsawn/turned/pierced decorative wooden trim. Many of the dwellings reflect the design characteristics of a specific late nineteenth century architectural style. The John Smithers House (1905) is distinguished by Colonial Revival style features including pedimented dormers, Palladian windows, Palladian-inspired French doors, and a verandah with paired Ionic columns. A majority of the residences exhibit architectural details typical of the Queen Anne and Shingle styles. Notable examples include the Horwitt Residence (c.1900), with its gambrel roof, recessed porches, enclosed tower, and varied fenestration; the Grant Baldwin House (1900), with its wrap-around porch and two-story tower; the W.M. Baylis House (c.1890), with its multiple roof shapes, three-story octagonal tower, and profusion of porches and balconies. The Jadwin House (c.1900) and the Dr. W.S. Pierson House (1899) exhibit design elements characteristic of the Stick style of architecture in their overhanging eaves with exposed rafter ends, porch columns with knee braces, decorative balustrades, ad exposed structural supports.

In addition, nine of the properties have carriage houses/servants' quarters that complement and stylistically resemble the main dwellings. Although many of the outbuildings have been sympathetically altered for use as garages, the majority of the residences have received few, if any, alterations and retain a high degree of architectural integrity.

Significance

The Bay Crest Historic District is architecturally significant as an enclave of distinguished examples of late Victorian period residential architecture dating from c.1890 to 1905 that illustrates the growth and development of Huntington's north shore as an exclusive residential community at the turn of the twentieth century. As a result of its isolated location in relation to the village of Huntington, the Huntington Bay area did not develop until the end of the nineteenth century when it was found desirable by contractors and wealthy individuals for its scenic vistas, undeveloped shoreline, and proximity to New York City. Planned as a summer house enclave by unknown developers between 1887 and 1910, Bay Crest originally consisted of fourteen properties, twelve of which compose the Bay Crest Historic District. Architecturally significant for their generous size, superior craftsmanship and stylish late nineteenth century details, the residences in the Bay Crest Historic District represent a departure from the town's widespread conservative local building tradition. The Bay Crest Historic District is one of the only two surviving examples of the planned residential communities (see Beaux Arts Park Historic District) that characterized the turn-of-the-century residential growth of Huntington Bay. With related outbuildings, estate-like settings, and scenic vistas intact, the Bay Crest Historic District represents one of the last historic phases in the architectural and residential development of the village of Huntington.

The incorporated village of Huntington Bay is situated on Huntington Bay and includes the shoreline of East Neck from the east bank of Huntington Harbor to the west bank of Centerport Harbor. As a result of its isolated location in relation to the village of Huntington, the area did not develop until the end of the nineteenth century when the rest of the town experienced a tremendous population increase as a result of its popularity as a fashionable summer resort. Until the 1870s, the area known as Huntington Bay was composed of several large farms. By the 1880s, however, with such magazines as Scribner's Monthly extolling the virtues of the town, attention started to focus on Huntington's north shore with its scenic vistas, beach front, and undeveloped land within reach of New York City via the railroad. Between 1880 and 1920, the Huntington Bay area was extensively developed by a variety of contractors and wealthy individuals.

The 1887 Beers, Comstock and Cline Map depicts the area between the far western tip of East Neck and Taylor's Halesite community in the middle as named "Bay Crest." Constructed as a summer house enclave between 1887 and 1910 by unknown developers, Bay Crest originally consisted of fourteen properties set back on large plots along several winding lanes covering the area from Bay Avenue on the south to the shoreline on the north. Twelve of the original fourteen dwellings survive. (One of the dwellings was demolished in the mid-twentieth century and another was excluded from the Bay Crest Historic District due to alterations and loss of architectural integrity.) All of the residences retain their scenic view of the bay and their large, well-landscaped plots. Many also retain their carriage houses/servants' quarters which stylistically resemble the main dwellings.

The twelve spacious residences in the Bay Crest Historic District are architecturally significant for their generous size, varied massing, superior craftsmanship and stylish late nineteenth century details. Dating from c.1890 to 1905, the dwellings exhibit a variety of picturesque, eclectic decorative details from a variety of popular Victorian period architectural styles and, thus, represent a departure from the town's widespread conservative local building traditions. The Bay Crest properties exhibit the high degree of craftsmanship and attention to detail which characterize all of the mansions and estates built on Huntington's north shore at the turn-of-the-century (included in the Huntington Multiple Resource Area as individual components and within the Beaux Arts Historic District). The Bay Crest Historic District is distinguished, however, as the largest contiguous collection of sophisticated Victorian period mansions in the Huntington Multiple Resource Area and as one of the only two extant representatives of real estate developments that dramatically altered and shaped the early twentieth century residential growth of Huntington Bay.

  1. New York State Department of Parks & Recreation, Division for Historic Preservation, Bay Crest Historic District, nomination document, 1985, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Bay Crest Historic District Map

Street Names
Forest Drive • Highview Drive • Soundview Drive • Valley Drive

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