The last family-owned house lot of the original settlers of East Hampton in 1648 has come on the market. The Gardiner Home Lot, 3.7 acres right in the center of the village, with two historic houses, is offered by Mr. Olney Mairs (Bill) Gardiner for $12.95 million.
Wait, so what is a "home lot," anyway? The founders of East Hampton purchased the land for the village from the Montauketts (who were paid twenty coats; twenty-four of each of the following: hatchets, hoes, knives, and mirrors; and one hundred small metal drills, which they could use to drill wampum). Each founding family received a home lot of several acres of land right in the village. There were also common fields farther away: pasturing, arable land, and woodlots for fuel. This house lot was owned by Lion Gardiner, who also claimed Gardiner's Island as a manor. And it has been owned by Gardiners ever since.
There are two houses on the site, as well as the Gardiner Windmill, which belongs to the village. The main house, with five bedrooms and three baths, dates back to the mid-1750s, but has been greatly expanded and renovated since then. The other house, originally garaging and servants' quarters, could be enlarged; it overlooks four acres of field.
Is the price reasonable? Hard to say. Another Gardiner family property, at 127 Main Street across Town Pond, has been languishing unsold at $25M. That includes a much larger house and 5.5 acres of land. In any case, it's going to cost a lot more than 24 hatchets and knives.
· East Hampton Pedigree [Elliman via HREO]