Touring Houses of Worship in the Hamptons
There are many beautiful, sacred structures here on the East End, all of which have become central to their communities.
Starting in Quogue, you’ll find the Quogue Episcopal Church of the Atonement, designed by the esteemed New York City-based architecture firm McKim, Mead & White. The church is located at 17 Quogue Street and was built in 1884. Its eclectic exterior is modesty clad in shingles, presenting worshipers with an entirely new American church vernacular that only heightens expectations as one passes through the front door. The interior craftsmanship is highlighted by the original Tiffany stained glass windows that make this space incredibly uplifting.
St. Andrew’s Dune Church is located on Gin Lane in Southampton. Built in 1879, this iconic red clapboard church was one of the original life-saving stations, which was subsequently expanded to create what is now St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, commonly known as Dune Church. The highly detailed exterior is a beacon of strength against the backdrop of the ocean. The interior reminds one of the hull of a fine old ship, with its fine exposed beams and crisp woodworking. The church has a number of original Tiffany windows that complement the ship lanterns and plaques memorializing shipwrecks.
While in the Village of Southampton, you should also see the First Presbyterian Church, located on the corner of Meetinghouse Lane and Main Street. The congregation was founded in 1640 and is one of the oldest Presbyterian congregations in America. The current church was built in 1843. The two-story white interior has a magical quality and the acoustics in the building are second to none.
Southampton is also home to two beautiful Catholic churches. Built in 1907, the Basilica Parish of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, located on Hill Street, is an example of Gothic revival architecture. The church was made of rejected marble blocks from the construction of the New York Public Library. The main altar pulpit is over 400 years old and was originally in a French monastery.
On a smaller scale is Our Lady of Poland Roman Catholic Church, located on Maple Street, which opened for services on Christmas Day 1918. The building was originally an old barn structure, and the bell tower was added to form a church to serve the growing Polish community of the area. The church was recently renovated with my firm (John P. Laffey Architects) serving as project architects. It still has the original stained glass windows, woodwork and floors that have served the community for almost 100 years.
The last house of worship I would recommend everyone see is the Jewish Center of the Hamptons in East Hampton. This synagogue was designed by noted local architect Norman Jaffe in 1987 and is located in the village of East Hampton. Known as the “Gates of the Grove” the clearstory lighting and modern interior-detailing make this sacred space a true place of beauty and serenity.