Soon after we bought out the interests of Richard’s two uncles in the field, we started collecting buildings for the property. The first to arrive, the one-room District #10 schoolhouse, originally stood on Sound Avenue near the corner of Northville Turnpike. When it was built in 1872, the proud citizens of Northville considered it a “modern” school, far superior to the low-ceilinged, dark, undistinguished building it replaced. The school was remodeled and enlarged in 1888 and used as a school until 1911 when it was closed as part of a state effort to consolidate one-room schools into larger districts.
Subsequently the building served as housing for hired help on a family farm and still latter as hay storage. By the time we acquired it in 1992, it was badly deteriorated. Nevertheless, we were able to restore the exterior to look very much as it did in 1888, except that the bell tower added that year is long gone. Almost all the original interior detail also survives. Today it's the perfect venue for Boxing Day parties and is an excellent, if rather large, gadren ornament
The Wilbur-Fanning house originally stood on the Main Road in Laurel, just to the west of the post office. The oldest part, the small north wing, probably dates to the last decade of the 18th century. It was a small Cape style house with a single room across the front, two small rooms in the back and an unfinished garret above. Most likely a member of the Fanning family, which had owned the property since 1762, were also the builders of this structure. The main part of the house was added in 1836 by Robert N. Wilbur, a sea captain who at times served as master of the Washington, a whaling ship that sailed out of Jamesport in the 1830s during the height of the whaling industry on Eastern Long Island. Wilbur, like many Long Island whaling captains, went to California in the gold rush. After he died there in 1850, his widow sold the house back to the Fanning family who occupied it until the 1990s.
The main wing is a two-and-a-half story side-hall vernacular design common on eastern Long Island since at least the late 18th century. However, the main rooms and front doorway are fitted out in the latest Greek Revival style popular in the 1830s. Virtually all the interior and exterior detail survive from that period. We moved the house to Winds Way in 1995, when it was threatened with demolition, and have restored it as closely as possible to its appearance in the 1830s, both inside and out. We added the rear wing and garage in 1998, incorporating many eighteenth and nineteenth century elements saved from the Corwin-Hallock farmhouse that once graced the corner of Pier and Sound Avenues, but was demolished that year.
The small structure that now serves as a potting shed next to the garage stood behind the house on its original site. From its construction details, it may be as old or older than the house itself. It is entirely framed with oversize hand-hewn timbers, some larger than anything used in the house itself.
Potting shed and garage from Woodland Corner
Our barn also came from Northville, where it stood on the Corwin-Hallock farm at the corner of Sound and Pier Avenues. The main part of this small structure may have been built by Jonathan Corwin who settled there about 1762. Or, it may have been built by the Hallock family in the 1830s after Zachariah Hallock, Jr., who lived in the Hallock homestead that is now the centerpiece of Hallockville Museum Farm, acquired a second farm further west on which he settled his oldest son Herman. The initials “ZH” can be seen carved twice on the underside of a floorboard in the left mow. We moved this building to Winds Way in 1997. Although much altered over the years, the three-bay structure still has almost all its original hand-hewn oak timbers.
District 10 Outhouse
The six-seater outhouse originally served the District 10 Schoolhouse.There are two doors, one for girls (with no window) and one for boys (with a small window).A wall separated the two sections. When the school closed in 1911, one of Richard’s great-grandparents acquired the property and moved the outhouse across the street for their own use and removed the internal wall. Not in use!
Downs Bungalow (a.k.a. Winds Way Yacht Club)
Sound Avenue farmer Leland Downs, Richard’s maternal grandfather, purchased this 50-foot wide strip of bay front land in 1922 for $1,000, much to his wife's consternation.They built a simple summer bungalow on locust posts that the family visited for picnics and occasional overnights.The walls were single thickness and there were no ceilings.Changes over the years have been relatively minor.The original outhouse is in the garage sized for two Model T's.The bungalow definitely retains its 1920's feel and is a wonderful retreat for summer guests.
District 10 Schoolhouse on arrival in 1992
Wilbur-Fanning House parked in our field in 1995 ready to move onto foundation