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Barnes Landing Association

Barnes Landing

A History

by Bill Good Jr.

Barnes Landing, also known historically as Barnes Hole, is located on the border of The Springs and Amagansett. On old maps, the part of Springs that includes Barnes Landing is referred to as the East Side because it forms the east side of Springs, which is named for the fresh-water springs at the head of Accabonac Harbor. The hole in Barnes Hole referred to an opening in the shoreline for a landing place or it may have meant the pond or low spot near the road-end.

Barnes Hole is first mentioned in 1716 in the diary of a New London, CT resident who made frequent trips by boat to the east end of Long Island to visit relatives and do business. The Barnes name possibly came from Isaac Barnes, who was born in East Hampton in 1677.  He was one of the four founders of Amagansett, settling there around 1700. Isaac Barnes was a brick maker and died in Amagansett in 1769 at the age of 92.

Brick making was an early local industry. The bricks were made from gray Gardiner's Island and red Amagansett clay. Evidence remains of the clay pits in scoured-out hillsides that were mined along the present day Paumanok Path in the neighboring Bell Estate. A commemorative plaque is on the shoulder of Fresh Pond Road near the intersection with Cross Highway. Remnant masses of molten brick are within view of the plaque.

Cordwood cutting was another local industry. Oak and beech were felled for firing the local brick kilns, used as firewood to heat local homes, and shipped by coastal schooner as far as New England and New York City. Barnes Landing was clear-cut several times over the centuries, since the land was unsuitable for other uses except grazing.

Seaweed was another resource harvested from the shoreline, particularly after an easterly gale. Wagonloads of seaweed, especially eel grass, were hauled from the beach for use as insulation in local homes, animal bedding and fertilizer on farm fields and home gardens.

Another local industry, fishing, is continued today by a small fleet of commercial boats moored at Louse Point in Accabonac Harbor, Creek or in the local vernacular, 'Bonac Crick.  Accabonac derives from the Indian name for "place where·ground-nuts grow", tubers that the Indians boiled and ate, also referred to as the Indian potato. "Bonacker" was originally a derogatory label for the hardscrabble locals who lived around Accabonac Harbor.

The earliest home in Barnes Landing that still exists is the 1¾ story house at 96 Barnes Hole Road known as the Hezekiah Edwards house.  It was reportedly built in the early 1800's.  At the fork in the road where Barnes Hole Road meets Old Stone Highway is a 1½ story house from 1835; known as the Washington Bennett house, which has been altered over the years.

Some of the earliest summer homes in Springs were built close together in Barnes Landing, in what was known as the Ross Family compound.  Two of the homes were built in 1910, and the third in 1920. They were built by Howard Ross and his brother Charles, both of whom were Methodist ministers. They originally had a clear view of Gardiner's Bay before trees grew back in. Today they are, not visible from a public road but are accessed by private drives from Barnes Hole Road and Shoridge that predate the Barnes Landing development.

Another early structure is St. Peter's Chapel on Old Stone Highway near Chapel Lane. Originally known as the East Side Free Chapel, it was constructed in 1881 and was non-denominational. The chapel became affiliated with Saint Luke's Church of East Hampton in the early 1900's, when it was given its present name. On summer Saturday evenings you can still hear the original bell chime in the open belfry announcing the start of services.

In 1907 a pioneer Suffolk County real estate developer from Northport, L.I., William Bates Codling, assembled parcels of land that eventually became the Barnes Landing subdivision. Codling was born in 1855 in Wilton, CT where he received a broad education at home and later at a private school. He began his career teaching school in Connecticut, eventually moving to Long Island to pursue his dream of being a lawyer specializing in real estate. ·

By the early 1900's Codling had become one of the· largest landowners in both Suffolk County and the Town of East Hampton. He died in 1924 in Huntington after being struck by an automobile. He left his wife and two children,Willian1 and Helen.  Helen Codling Halsted eventually developed Barnes Landing from 1952 through the 1960's just prior to the advent of Town zoning. In honor of her father a horse and buggy were adopted as the emblem of the Barnes Landing Association. since it was the mode of transportation Codling used to acquire and view his properties.

Mrs. Halsted developed Barnes Landing in sections. The early sections were the low elevations between Barnes Hole Road and Old Stone Highway.  Eventually she put roads through the higher elevations to complete the development. She took an active interest in her development, driving around in an open Jeep. Helen Codling Halsted died in 1968.

In 1952 the single room building built at the northeast corner of Waters Edge and Barnes Hole Road served as the real estate office when she began selling wooded lots to prospective homeowners. This building and the land that the building is situated on between Waters Edge and the beach was eventually deeded to the Barnes Landing Association along with 400 feet of beach. The building is used by the Association for social and administrative functions. Today Barnes Landing is a community of approximately 250 property owners on 220 acres.

The Barnes Landing Association was formed in 1958 by early homeowners to protect property owners' interests and enhance the community. It was one of the first property owners associations in the Town.  The early legal work to establish the corporation was performed by Charles (Cy) Rembar, a summer resident and eminent attorney who practiced before the U.S. Supreme Court. The dues paying association operates by a constitution and by-laws.

Mrs. Halsted also deeded to the Association a private parking lot on Beachway, a scenic overlook at the confluence of Waters Edge and Captains Walk, and a 1.6 acre wetland parcel on Accabonac Harbor that was originally intended as a marina for future residents.  Today it is managed by The Nature Conservancy as a seasonal home to a pair of osprey, whose nest can be seen on a pole-top platform from Louse Point Road opposite Lookout Lane.

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