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 Bridgehampton, to the building at 1 Ocean Road, and trace its tenants through time.
Daniel L. Chester purchases the property at the corner of Main Street and Atlantic Avenue (now Ocean Road) from Gilbert Hallock, whose family had owned it since the 1850s. The property includes a building from which Gilbert’s father, David, had operated a general store and post office; the Hallocks also lived on the premises. The Methodist church had been on the property from 1833-1870, when it was moved to its present location at the corner of Montauk Highway and Halsey Lane.
Chester, who had originally worked for the merchant E.A. Hildreth, had opened his own dry goods store called D.L. Chester in 1882. After his wood-framed store burns down in a fire, he is determined not to lose more inventory and so he sets out to build a new brick store at this corner.
Chester is a well-known and prominent figure in the community. He travels by horse and wagon door-to-door to take orders and make deliveries, covering Southampton, East Hampton, and Shelter Island. Chester is also one of the first directors of the Bridgehampton National Bank.
Chester’s two-story triangular brick structure is complete. Chester keeps his horse and wagon behind the store; upstairs are apartments. His name and the year are imprinted in the sidewalk, where they are still visible today.
Chester and Elmer J. Thompson, a friend and banker at the Bridgehampton Bank, are on their way to Riverhead in Thompson’s Jewett sedan when they are struck and killed by a LIRR train at a crossing near East Quogue. Chester leaves an estate valued at $80,331 and his son Kenneth inherits the dry goods business.
William and Edward Muller take over the retail space at 1 Ocean Road for their meat and grocery business. Muller’s Market had been at a location across the street for the previous nine years.
Ed and Bill Muller announce plans to close Muller’s, but wind up selling the business to Richard Sandford, who formerly was in charge of the meat department at the Bohack’s market in East Hampton, and George Szczepankowski, another former Bohack’s employee.
After close to 30 years in business, Muller’s Market closes on December 31.
Restaurant J.G. Melon opens at the corner, in addition to an original location on Third Avenue in Manhattan. It is owned by Jack O'Neil and George Mourges (the "J" and the "G").
J.G. Melon closes and the business is sold to Barry Steckowski and Louis DiCarlo of East Hampton, who rename the restaurant Baridown.
The building sees several restaurant tenants move in and out. After Baridown, One Ocean Road opens in 1991. Five years later, Carmine Parisi and Don Evans, partners in The Water Club in Manhattan, open the Bridgehampton Café. In 1999, it becomes Henry’s, followed by Ocean Grille, which subsequently changes its name to One Ocean and is owned by the Dowlings, who run Giordano’s in Noyack.
Jason Weiner and Eric Lemonides move their restaurant Almond from its location further west on Montauk Highway to the corner at 1 Ocean, where it stands today.
Thanks to Julie Greene and the Bridgehampton Museum.