The LVIS House, continued
Because the family had another house on Main Street, the house was called the “Brown House” to distinguish between the two. It was considered a magnificent country estate. Cattle were kept on the grounds and ducks and geese grazed in the area that is now the Sunken Garden.
During the American Revolution, the British occupied East Hampton and chose the house as their headquarters. The house had some unique features, including a secret room reached by an almost invisible trap door in the attic floor. The space was large enough to hide eight men.
In the 1920’s Winthrop Gardiner had the house moved from the street to its present location. At the time the house had no bath and only one spigot with barely running water. The house was modernized and structural changes were made.
In 1979 a deadly fire ravaged the house and it fell into disrepair, becoming so covered with weeds and trees that no one could reach the front door or see the house from the street.
In 1982, a proposal was made to raze the historic house and build a parking lot. Much controversy ensued. In 1987, The Ladies’ Village Improvement Society purchased the house from East Hampton Village for $365,000, to be used as its headquarters and home to its shops. A fundraising effort followed. After a renovation, a grand opening was held in April 1989.
The LVIS Fair was held at 95 Main Street for the first time in 1990.
In 2017 the house needed extensive repairs, including major changes required by building codes. Through the generosity and expertise of Ben Krupinski, renovation began in January of 2018. A grand reopening was held on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 to accolades from both members and customers.