Witch’s Hat renovation project completed in Aquebogue

Witch's Hat restoration project manager Cliff Baldwin (left), Save Main Road 's Larry Simms and Richard Wines, chairman of Riverhead's Landmarks Preservation Commission. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Witch’s Hat restoration project manager Cliff Baldwin (left), Save Main Road ‘s Larry Simms and Richard Wines, chairman of Riverhead’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Near the top of a two-page flier handed out at “The Witch’s Hat” on Main Road in Aquebogue Saturday was a statement attributed to the volunteers who have spent the past year renovating the local landmark.

“It’s such a small structure; how hard could it be?” reads the quote.

While that question was certainly rhetorical, the task turned out to be somewhat more involved than originally imagined. The volunteers were rewarded for their sizable efforts when they celebrated the completion of the renovation project Saturday.

The Witch’s Hat, which gets its name from its curious shape, is a local landmark built in 1927. A Landmarks Preservation Commission document states that the Witch’s Hat was built by Henry Flemming, an English immigrant and machinist who was around 70 years old at the time of construction.

Riverhead Town Landmarks Preservation Commission chairman Richard Wines has speculated the stand was designed to resemble a witch’s hat so that it would attract passing motorists.

The roadside stand was used to sell landscape shrubs. It has been unoccupied since the 1960s and was last restored sometime in the 1970s.

The landmark has been owned for the past 23 years by by Dr. Richard Hanusch, whose veterinary practice, Aquebogue Veterinary Hospital, is located just east of the landmark.

The current restoration project was managed by Wines and Cliff Baldwin, director of the community group Save Main Road. Save Main Road’s Gabrielle Bradford, Angela DeVito, Georgette Keller, Mike Reichel, Larry Simms and Janet Wright also volunteered on the project.

Saturday’s ceremony was an opportunity to honor those volunteers and local contractors and suppliers who donated their services. The group also rededicated the structure during the event.

The following local contractors and suppliers contributed to the project:

Clement Carpentry ……………………………… structural & finish carpentry

Gabrielsen Construction ………………………. assessment & planning

Jared Hallock …………………………………….. structural carpentry

Alan Hubbard Electric …………………………. electrification & lighting

Gary Hubbard ……………………………………. furnish & restore glazing

Kaiser Maintenance ……………………………. tree removal & site prep

Klatt Sheet Metal ………………………………… custom finial, peak windows & misc.

Lampa Projects ………………………………….. lighting design

Mastercraft Painting ……………………………. paint shingles & trim

RCR Backflow ……………………………………. underground electric feeds

Revco Electrical Supply ………………………. fixtures & electric materials

Riverhead Building Supply …………………… lumber, roofing, siding & more

Riverhead Glassworks ………………………… glazing

Van Kamenade Paint ………………………….. paint & materials

Wedel Signs ………………………………………. signage (temporary & permanent)

Randy Clement (left) and Mile Weber Jr. of Clement Carpentry of Jamesport working on the Witch's Hat restoration Thursday morning.

Randy Clement (left) and Mike Weber Jr. of Clement Carpentry of Jamesport working on the Witch’s Hat restoration in September. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Volunteers with the community advocacy group Save Main Road work on restoring the Witch's Hat in Aquebogue Saturday afternoon.

Volunteers with the community advocacy group Save Main Road work on restoring the Witch’s Hat in Aquebogue last October. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Volunteers from Jamesport landscape company Kaiser Maintenance will clear some trees surrounding The Witch's Hat on Main Road in Aquebogue Thursday.

The landmark at the start of the project last fall. (Credit: rachel Young, file)