Goose Hill Road Historic District
The Goose Hill Road 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.  Adaptation copyright © 2010, The Gombach Group.
The Goose Hill Road Historic District is a small agrarian enclave situated along both sides of this narrow, winding road in the northeast quadrant of the unincorporated village of Cold Spring Harbor. Located several miles west of the unincorporated village of Huntington, Cold Spring Harbor lies on the steep eastern shores of that harbor. The Goose Hill Road Historic District contains twelve contributing buildings. The dwellings in the Goose Hill Road Historic District date from the late eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries and recall an aspect of Cold Spring Harbor's early agricultural development. The Goose Hill Road Historic District also contains a mid-nineteenth century residence which reflects the village's prosperity as a major whaling port. There are no intrusions.
Located approximately one mile west of Cold Spring Harbor's business district, Goose Hill Road branches from Route 25A to the north past the eastern boundary of the village's Main Street Historic District. The district's scattered frame dwellings are set back from the road on large, multi-acre wooded plots with outbuildings generally located to the rear of the residences. Goose Hill Road remains relatively undeveloped with a few sparsely scattered non-historic and altered historic residences located around the now wooded terrain. The Goose Hill Road Historic District is separated from the denser residential east end of Main Street by several modern and altered historic structures. The northern, eastern and western borders of the Goose Hill Road Historic District are delineated by undeveloped, historically unrelated land.
The majority of the dwellings in the Goose Hill Road Historic District date from the village's initial development in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Representative examples of Long Island's settlement period architecture, the dwellings exhibit the characteristic three-bay side-hall and five-bay center-hall plans, shingle and clapboard exterior sheathing, multi-pane windows, interior and end chimneys, and an overall lack of ornament. Built by farmers, the residences are modest in form, massing, and detail and embellished only with locally interpreted Federal and Greek Revival style architectural features such as broad friezes and molded door and window surrounds. Due to their distance from the commercial and residential center of the village and their position inland from the waterfront, the residences along Goose Hill Road have generally retained their historic settings. Later nineteenth century period alterations, common features elsewhere throughout the village, are limited to a few structures in the district. For the most part, the settlement period properties remain virtually unaltered.
The most distinctive example of settlement period architecture within the Goose Hill Road Historic District is the Kehillath Shalom House. Built c.1830, the dwelling has an unusual four-bay plan with a two-bay side wing. Much more decorative than the surrounding residences, the Shalom House has a denticulated cornice with returns, a triangular gable window, and a main entrance with architrave.
The Captain Joseph T. Bunce, Jr. House is the only dwelling in the Goose Hill Road Historic District which dates from the village's period as a major whaling port. Constructed c.1850, the building is a locally distinctive example of Victorian period domestic architecture. Distinguished by a prominent cross-gable with round-arched window, the dwelling has a broad projecting cornice supported by massive scroll-sawn brackets with drop pendants. Tall windows dominate the first floor and round-arched windows decorate the second floor. A one-story porch with bracketed cornice and square columns shelters the main facade.
The Goose Hill Road Historic District is architecturally and historically significant for its largely intact collection of residences which recall the historic agricultural development of Cold Spring Harbor. Settled from the late eighteenth through mid-nineteenth centuries, the somewhat isolated, inland Goose Hill Road Historic District has remained largely uncompromised by the later phases of development experienced by other areas in the community. The Goose Hill Road Historic District's twelve contributing buildings date from c.1770 to c.1850 and remain architecturally significant as a collection of relatively unaltered, representative examples of Cold Spring Harbor's conservative local building tradition. Finally, with its intact streetscape and densely wooded landscape, the Goose Hill Road Historic District retains its historic agrarian early nineteenth century ambience.
Although Huntington's economic and commercial activity was centered inland around the town green, the town's sheltered harbors were used from its mid-seventeenth century settlement. The unincorporated village of Cold Spring Harbor, located to the west of Huntington on the steep eastern shore of the harbor, played an important role in the town's early development. In 1682, the Cold Spring River, the town's western boundary, was dammed by John Adams to power saw and grist mills. The harbor to the north and the pond that was created to the south formed the physical focus and principal economic base of Cold Spring Harbor's early development. Several families settled here during the seventeenth century but no architectural resources survive from this period. By the close of the Revolutionary War, only a few families have settled on widely scattered farms throughout the area.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, several events occurred which shaped the future of the Cold Spring Harbor community. In 1791, Divine Hewlett and John Jones became partners in a grist mill venture while their families purchased the land bordering the mill pond and harbor. On March 2, 1799, Cold Spring was made a Port of Delivery by an act of Congress, highlighting the important economic role the harbor was beginning to play. By 1810, John Jones had established a network of local industries in partnership with his brothers and the Hewlett family. By 1837, the Hewlett-Jones enterprises included two woolen factories, a barrel factory, brickyards, shipyards, and a general store. Cold Spring Harbor's late eighteenth and early nineteenth century historic core as developed by the locally prominent Jones and Hewlett families is represented in the Harbor Road Historic District. The early nineteenth century development of Shore Road is represented in the Shore Road Historic District.
Due to its distance from the harbor, Goose Hill Road was settled during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries by farmers who established relatively large landholdings. The majority of the buildings in the Goose Hill Road Historic District are representative examples of settlement period architecture and the town's conservative building practices. Built as farmsteads, the residences exhibit a simplicity in form, massing, detail, and craftsmanship. Ornament is characteristically limited to restrained Federal and Greek Revival style architectural details. The dwellings are architecturally significant within the multiple resource area as representative examples of Huntington's conservative local building tradition and as one of the few intact rural, agrarian communities in the town of Huntington. The rural character of the area is evidenced by the district's large number of rare, surviving farm outbuildings including sheds, barns, pump houses, and privies. The densely wooded, sparsely populated setting has remained intact.
From the formation of the Cold Spring Whaling Company in 1838 until 1860, whaling and its related activities were the main livelihoods in Cold Spring Harbor. During this time, Main Street quickly emerged as the community's central residential and commercial core with the construction of a small commercial block and the residences of sea captains, merchants, and businessmen (see Main Street Historic District). The only evidence along Goose Hill Road of this mid-nineteenth century prosperity is the Captain Joseph T. Bunce, Jr. House. Built c.1850, the dwelling is a locally distinctive example of Victorian period architecture.
During the late 1860s, Cold Spring Harbor's whaling industry ended; however, the community's economy was bolstered by another emerging industry — tourism. During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the village became a popular summer retreat with its scenic shore attracting thousands of city visitors. The sudden popularity and newfound source of income had a noticeable impact on the building practices and tastes throughout the village. However, due to Goose Hill Road's relatively isolated inland location and its strong agricultural base, residences along the road remained relatively unaffected by the changing architectural practices. As residences throughout Cold Spring Harbor were remodelled and enlarged during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the dwellings along Goose Hill Road retained their settlement period form and appearance.
By the turn of the twentieth century, as many of the wealthy summer visitors built permanent homes throughout the area, the village had emerged as an affluent residential community. Goose Hill Road continues to retain its historic agrarian appearance despite the village's changing architectural practices and the increased building construction. Today, Goose Hill Road remains as the only undeveloped area in Cold Spring Harbor. Retaining its historic rural setting and relatively uncompromised collection of historic resources, the Goose Hill Road Historic District remains as a largely intact remnant of Cold Spring Harbor's settlement period and agrarian development.