The Southampton Colonial Society (now doing business as the Southampton Historical Museum) was organized in 1898 and incorporated in 1910. In its early days, the Society collected and exhibited historical objects and documents relating to the history and development of Southampton, organized pageants, and gave lectures on antiques. By the 1990s the Rogers Mansion property had expanded to include 12 historic structures including a one-room schoolhouse, a colonial era barn, and a 19th century paint shore, among others. The museum is open year-round with changing exhibits on historic topics, a research center, and extensive education programs for schoolchildren and adults.
Thomas Halsey Homestead
This rare “first period” house was built in 1660 when Main Street, in the pioneer hamlet of Southampton, was first laid out. Its owner, Thomas Halsey, was one of the original families who bought property from the Shinnecocks in 1640. Believed to be the oldest English-style house in New York State, the Halsey home is filled with 17th and 18th century furnishings, donated by local families. The kitchen has an early wide fireplace used for cooking and is surrounded by open hearth cooking tools. The collection of William and Mary furniture is of note as is a high chest, circa 1700, by Nathaniel Dominys, a local cabinetmaker. The first restoration was supervised in 1959 by Henry Francis duPont of the Winterthur Museum. In the backyard is a Colonial revival-style garden that replicates an 18th century herb garden, a perennial border and an apple orchard.
This is the only trade shop built in the 1600s in America that has been in continuous use and in its original location. Originally a dry goods store, it was purchased in 1717 by Francis Pelletreau who immigrated to Southampton from New York City to develop his business producing oil and candles from whales that drifted to Southampton beaches. His grandson Elias Pelletreau occupied the building between 1750 and 1810 making jewelry, shoe buckles, tankards, silverware, etc. His son, nephew, and grandson continued the tradition of silver smithing into the 19th century. The shop is now occupied by Master Jeweler Eric Messin who gives tours of the building and conducts workshops in jewelry making.
In 2012 the Rogers Mansion Museum Complex, with 12 historic buildings, was awarded a unique designation on the National Register of Historic Places. William Rogers purchased the property in 1648 which was owned by a Rogers descendent until 1880. In 1899 the dwelling was purchased by Samuel Longstreth Parrish; an attorney from New York City, summer colonist, and founder of the Parrish Art Museum. Later, in 1952 the Southampton Colonial Society leased the house and grounds and began restoration. The house is filled with furnishings donated by members of the Southampton community and date mostly from the Victorian (1837-1901) and Edwardian eras (1901-1910). On the grounds behind the mansion is Old Southampton Village with historic structures collected from different areas of Southampton. They include a 19th century paint store, a blacksmith’s shop, a cobbler’s shop, a one-room schoolhouse, and a colonial era barn that was seized by British soldiers to lodge their horses during the Revolutionary War.