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Historic Art Village Home ‘Laffalot’ to be Demolished

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Would be a shame to lose it

The Southampton Art Village is a group of buildings erected in in the 1890s as cottages and a studio for the Shinnecock Hills Summer School of Art. Construction on Art Village began in the fall of 1891, and by June 1892, an art studio, eight simple Dutch Colonial Revival cottages, and a thatched windmill for pumping water had been built.

One was owned by artist Zella de Milhau. Her best friend, Katharine C. Budd, who worked as secretary of the art school in 1894 and administrator of the cottages in 1895, thoroughly renovated the cottage located at 11 Ochre Lane. She expanded the small cottage into a larger house, which Zella called Laffalot.

A friend of the irrepressible Zella said, "[She] came to Shinnecock to be with friends and to make life merry for others in her own absurd and lovable way …" Zella was extraordinary to look at, too, liking short hair and wearing plus-fours; she shared Laffalot with Molly Lawton. (Are you thinking what we’re thinking?)

Laffalot was sold in 2013 for $600K. The Southampton Landmarks & Historic District Board has just received a demolition application. This seems like a terrible shame to us, especially since almost all of the original Art Village buildings are intact. The Board cannot deny the demolition application, but sometimes, if enough people protest, owners’ minds can be changed. Interested and concerned citizens can write a letter urging preservation ASAP to Sally Spanburgh, Board Chairperson.