Ever stroll through town and wonder what it looked like 100 years ago? Unlike much of the surrounding farmland, many of the main streets in the Hamptons are structurally unchanged. Tenants have moved in and out, but the buildings remain. So what shops used to fill these spaces? Let's take a trip into the heart of Sag Harbor, to an unassuming peaked-roof structure at 34 Main Street, and trace its tenants through time.
During the latter part of the 19th century, the northern end of Main Street sustained multiple major fires, largely due to its proximity to industry at the wharf, so many of the buildings were frequently rebuilt, changing hands along the way.
The location at 34 Main Street was no exception to this pattern, but around 1900 a building was built in this spot as a livery stable and garage, with the upstairs reportedly serving as a sail loft, and this building still stands today.
Amadeo and Mary Alippo take up shop at 34 Main. The Alippos had arrived from Genoa, Italy in 1912, were married the same year at St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church in town, and shortly thereafter opened the first fruit market on Main Street. At 34 Main, they operate a garage and gas station, with Amadeo maintaining a storefront office on the north side of the building, servicing cars in the rear, and pumping Sinclair gas from a sidewalk pump. Mary opens a restaurant on the south side of the building, known as The Coffee House.
A resident of Main Street for 60 years, Mary becomes a fixture on the street. She sits in a chair out front with her stockings rolled down, makes meatball subs for customers getting their oil changed, and is known for her spaghetti dinners. Her practice of spitting in her frying pan to check its temperature quickly becomes town legend.
Amadeo also runs a taxi service and makes the news in 1924 when he is blackjacked and robbed in broad daylight by a recent Sing Sing inmate who has hired Amadeo to drive him to confront a former employer at a Bridgehampton farm.
The Alippos' son, Paul F. Alippo, and his wife, Grace, who inherited the building after Mary's death in 1970, sell the building to Celia A. McMaster. The upstairs would soon become apartments.
Provisions Natural Foods moves into south side of building, taking over the space that used to be Mary's restaurant. The business had been started in Port Jefferson in the early 70s, but moved to Sag in 1975 to the corner of Division & Henry before making its way to Main.
Flashbacks opens in the rear north side of the building. Owner Geraldine Brulte Campsey originally stocks vintage items, but then expands to contemporary clothing and accessories, Balinese goods, gifts and penny candies.
Linley Whelen and Kate Plumb buy Provisions from its owner, Tim Schaller. They renovate and expand the offerings to include produce, coffee, groceries, cheeses, and a café.
Dee Moorhead (formerly Eberhart) purchases the building for around $210,000. Her store, D.J. Hart, had occupied the space that is now LT Burger for 4 years, but after rent there triples overnight, she scrambles to find new space, making a low-ball offer on the spot for 34 Main. When her offer is accepted, she moves her store into the small former garage office in the front north corner of the building.
Provisions relocates across the street to its current location and D.J. Hart takes its place in the larger quarters on the south side of the building.
Flashbacks moves across the street to its current location at 69 Main Street.
During the 80s, Dee Moorhead also opens the Sag Harbor Country Store in the building and Bare Necessities Vintage Clothes & Accessories is also a tenant.
1990s – 2000s
Ocean Outfitters takes over the rear north space and is followed by Sag Harbor Nautical and then Island Surf in 2005.
The front north space becomes Dagmar Pottery and then Bagley Home, a Provence-inspired shop owned by Terry Bagley, that had previously been located in the basement of Allan M. Schneider Realty (now Corcoran) at the corner of Main and Madison.
Around 2010, Flying Point Surf expands its Hamptons footprint and takes over the entire north side of the building, with the main store in the back and a sunglasses shop in the front.
Thanks to Linley Pennebaker, Dee Moorhead, Barbara Britton, Ursula Britton, Jean Held & Sag Harbor Historical Society, Ted Conklin, and Susan Mullin & John Jermain Memorial Library.