Sag Harbor Residents Fight to Save Artifacts from Eastville Site

Sag Harbor residents want an archeological investigation of this Eastville house before it is razed.
Sag Harbor residents want an archeological investigation of this Eastville house before it is razed. Photo credit: Stacy Dermont

Sag Harbor Village residents are fighting to preserve artifacts from an Eastville home that predates the Revolutionary War—before the village grants permission for it to be torn down.

“The fact that the home is in Eastville makes it a treasure trove of archeological data,” says the Reverend Karen Campbell of Christ Episcopal Church in Sag Harbor. She hopes the village will allow for an archaeological survey to be completed so that any historically significant artifacts may be excavated before the home is razed.

Campbell cites a 1973 Sag Harbor Historic Preservation Commission survey completed by Robert H. Pine to ground the house in the pre-Revolutionary War era. The study noted that there were about 10 homes that predate the Revolution at the time.

“The village has done a good job of not making [Sag Harbor] look like any other place in the country,” Campbell says. “This will give people another base of understanding.” Whatever is found in the archeological study will provide more color and information about the village and the home’s inhabitants, of which basic information is already known.

Campbell notes that Sag Harbor is a microcosm of American history, from the Native Americans up to the Industrial Revolution’s technology and manufacturing. Campbell says, “How great would it be if we could teach kids about the landing at Plymouth, and then take them down to the water and say that Europeans took steps here just a few years after that?”

The history of Eastville is unique, as Native Americans, Irish Americans and African Americans lived in the area in peace, marrying and “forming a community [in such a way] that I don’t know has happened anywhere else in the country,” Campbell says.

The home at 11 Eastville Avenue has been neglected and fallen into disrepair over the past few decades. It was most recently sold in April 2014. Campbell is unaware of the timetable for when the board will make a decision regarding the fate of the historic structure, but “if enough people write a note and say that this is important, it may put some pressure on the board.”

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