When Ed Meier moved into the historic Victorian at 144 South Jamesport Avenue nearly 40 years ago, he didn’t yet know the discoveries that awaited behind its hallowed walls.
The nineteenth century home has a history as rich and old as the hamlet itself. South Jamesport was founded in 1835 as a would-be whaling community akin to Greenport and Sag Harbor. Alas, its waters weren’t quite deep enough to harbor the ships and the vision of its founder never came to be.
South Jamesport found its niche in other ways. Its former stop on the railroad line made it desirable to locals and visitors alike. Captain William H. Corwin was drawn to the area and moved into the now home of the Meiers in 1850. Captain Corwin was a prominent figure — he was a highly regarded ship builder and the son of Matthias Corwin, an original settler of Southold Town.
Meier’s house was once passed down from Corwin to his daughter and through the family line for more than a century. Even when Meier’s in-laws acquired the property it remained in the family tree, albeit through marriage.
That’s now likely to change.
Ed and his wife Nancy, who moved into the 2,800-square-foot home 39 years ago, listed the storied property for $1.149 million a little more than a month ago. They aren’t going too far. Ed said he built his wife’s dream home — where they live now — directly across the street.
“It is bittersweet for me to sell it,” Ed said. “I feel a connection to the house. I feel a connection to the families that lived here and I raised my own kids here.”
The Meiers did extensive restoration work to the home throughout their years there. The original hardwood floors were carefully excavated, refinished and reinstalled. The staircase and its intricate architectural details were fully restored. And the pieces that couldn’t be saved — such as the hundred-year-old plaster molding — was replicated to preserve the historic charm.
For Ed, it wasn’t just what he gave to the house, but what the house gave to him. Early on in process, he discovered old letters lost to time in the attic. William H. Corwin’s captain’s log detailing his shipments to and from Greenport, diaries from his daughters and notes describing life on the North Fork before the turn of the century, all came with the property.
“They were a truly remarkable family,” Ed said. “Once I started to find those artifacts, I kept researching their history. It is incredible that they lived here. You can feel the history in the home.”
The Meiers didn’t keep everything about the home in the past. A brand new kitchen and bathrooms were installed to inject modern comforts in the old estate. The roof, electrical system, laundry room and siding were also fully updated during the renovation of the five-bedroom, three-bathroom house. The double-sided fireplace that occupies the large dinning room and living room was also modernized — it’s gas-powered now.
The home sits on a .75-acre lot that remains largely unchanged since the house was built. A large oak tree provides shade to the front porch where lazy afternoons are spent on the porch swing. The property also has a detached garage. And it’s in walking distance to the beach down the street and a marina, for you boaters out there.
See the full listing here and more photos below.