Walking Tour Guidebooks
Learn about maritime architecture, ranging from bay houses and bungalows to boatyards and hotels. See what is in your hometown. Listen to stories of hurricanes and rumrunners. Learn how to document your community’s cultural resources. Add your own story to our memories page. And learn what baymen do for a living. All this and more! Just click on South Shore Portal . And share your thoughts with us and link to us!
The Howell Homestead, originally constructed by Hezekiah Howell about 1727, is the oldest home in the Village of Westhampton Beach. A small timber-framed rear addition to the house may be the first house constructed on this property and is believed to date from slightly earlier. Hezekiah Howell (c.1677-1744), was the grandson of Edward Howell (1584-1655), a founder of Southampton Town who emigrated from England in the 1640s. The modest oak timber-frame Cape Cod-stule house constructed by Mr. Howell is believed to be the first shelter built in Catchaponack (now Westhampton Beach) to house men who looked after the cattle that were grazed on these lands.
The Howell family owned and maintained the Homestead for over 200 years until 1942 when it was purchased by the William Gill family. In 1994 the home was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Robert Berger. In 1998 the home changed hands again and was purchased by Mr and Mrs Jack L. Jones.
In 1997 a major fire broke out during renovation. Subsequent delays in stabilization and repairs resulted in additional damage to the structure. However in 1998, under Mr. Jones’ direction, a major restoration program was initiated to preserve and restore the historic portions of the house following the US Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Preservation. The result is the beautiful and comfortable home that exists today, perfectly in keeping with its historic origins and modern needs.
The Jessup Lane Bridge Net Reel
Fisherman have long depended on strong, long lasting nets for their livelihood. Nets in the 19th century were often made of natural material (flax, cotton, or hemp) that quickly rotted from exposure to water, fish and vegetation. Coating nets with tar and drying them between uses were common methods of slowing decay. Today’s nets, made of synthetic materials resist rot well. But net winders – large wooden reels like the one by the Jessups Lane bridge, once lined the shores near New England and Long Island fishing ports, lifting and spreading large sections of nets to be dried by the sun and wind.